We know how it is. You have treats and your dog responds. When you don’t have any your dog ignores you. You feel stressed and feel that your dog is manipulating you.
“Grrr…why can’t my dog just listen to me because I so?” is what you might be thinking. You just want your to dog to listen to you period and not always have to give a treat. We get it and you are not alone!
Well guess what, it is possible. Scott Cornwall with Rigi who is a Salt Lake City dog training client of ours has gotten Rigi to listen without having to reward him all of the time. We trained many commands with Rigi, but the ones that Rigi learned the fastest were sit, down and target. initially, when we trained these commands we rewarded Rigi every time with a treat for performing these commands.
This allowed Rigi to learn what each word meant because honestly, he isn’t born knowing English so he is learning a foreign language.
After Scott practiced these commands multiple times, he was able to get Rigi to perform them because he said. He didn’t have to give Rigi a treat every time. The easier environment for Rigi to do this was inside his Salt Lake City home where distractions were low. The video is cool to watch and shows how Rigi can listened without demanding a treat every time.
Once a dog has learned something we can go to what is called a random reinforcement schedule of reinforcement. This means that the dog gets a treat at random times for performing the “right” behavior.
Remember to get to this point you have to be consistent and persistent with your dog training. Salt Lake City is an area where there are a lot of distractions so expect that your dog will “get it” the fastest in your home first.
You many also notice that we use a clicker in the video. A clicker is a great way to mark a behavior and tell the dog that they did the right thing and that a treat is coming. Rigi absolutely loves the clicker. However, most owners don’t want to use a clicker forever.
As Rigi progresses to a random schedule of reinforcement Scott can stop using the clicker. The more Scott practices the above commands with Rigi in a distracting environments, the sooner Rigi will be able to perform the above commands on leash walks on a random reinforcement schedule.
Scott is persistent and consistent with his dog training. Salt Lake City has many places where Rigi can be walked on leash. In time Scott will enjoy his walks more and more.
Remember we can help you too and you can create your dog to listen. We have group obedience dog training Salt Lake City courses where you can teach your dog to listen without having to reward him every time. We would love to see you there.
Johanna Teresi, Professional Dog Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Training, Salt Lake City, Utah