How do you tell a dog that he guessed wrong?
By reinforcing him when he guesses right!
~ Andrea Dugan ~
Champion Hawk du Josar
Abundant Life Dog Training empowers dogs to be their best as companions as well as competitive partners. With my training methods, dogs are always emotionally balanced allowing them to learn quickly and perform accurately.
Dogs have been in my life for over 60 years, and in that time, I have been a student, a competitor, and a teacher. My dogs have been my companions, competitive partners, my protectors and my life helpers, but most of all, my teachers. I learn something from each dog I come in contact with and am an advocate for humane training.
No dog should be the subject of verbal or physical corrections.
All Learning Is Based On Science
Thanks to Pavlov we know the science behind Classical Conditioning. Because of Skinner, we know the science behind Operant Conditioning. No matter how you decide to train your dog, you are using one of the following:
Positive Reinforcement (+R) - Good stuff is
added to the dog’s environment. This increases the chance that response will be
offered again. (Treats, toys, enjoyable
interactions with you.)
Playing Canine Russian Roulette
If you use traditional training methods (compulsion-based), every time you give your dog a cue he is playing Russian roulette. If his response is not what you want, BANG! He gets a correction. Now, you have put him into a position where he must play a guessing game. What was that for? What did I do?
Understanding How To Communicate With Your Dog
By learning as much as I could about what is behind the beautiful eyes of dogs, discovering and implementing the laws of learning, and studying the science behind training, I developed a unique dog training program that is extremely effective, and I have been using it with my dogs and teaching it to my student's for almost 40 years. We have all had amazing results. Since there is a language barrier, I create a new and distinct one that we learn together. My dog stays emotionally balanced instead of getting frustrated because he cannot figure out the information I gave him. Skills are taught with hand signals first. This eliminates all social pressure on the dog. Verbal cues are added only when my dog is responding reliably and meets my criteria for the targeted response.
- Effectively teach him the desired response.
- Allow him to rehearse it until it has become habit.
- Proof it so he is confident of what to do under many circumstances.
- Be consistent and reliable when presenting the signal or verbal cue.
If I have not done all of that, how can he respond correctly? He would be punished because of my poor teaching. And if after all of that, he still doesn't offer the desired response, then I go back to the drawing board and figure out a better way to explain it to him.
How my dog responds to my questions provides me with extremely valuable information. If he offers a behavior other than what I am looking for, that behavior often has a stronger positive reinforcement history. Since he is only performing a behavior that he thinks will earn reinforcement, the onus is on me to figure out what I did that caused him to answer my question that way. I need to figure out a better way to ask the question, so he is correct the next time.
Having a dog that does not respond at all is very different than offering the incorrect response. Two of the reasons why a dog does not respond are:
- Something in the environment is affecting their emotional balance. They are in survival mode.
- They are so distracted by something in the environment that the signal/cue was not salient?
- They really do not know what response to offer to that signal/cue.
- They are confused in what we are asking them to do.
- We have mutated the signal/cue so much they no longer see it as a signal/cue.
- They have not been given enough opportunities to rehearse the response until it has become habit.
- The response has not been proofed.
- They are not confident what to offer around distracting circumstances.
And the list goes on and on.
Wildland's Indiana Jones
My dogs and I have competed and earned numerous titles in:
- Agility - AAC, USDAA, NADAC
- Conformation - AKC/CKC
- Herding - AKC/CKC
- Obedience - AKC/CKC/UKC/WKC
- Rally - AKC/CKC/WRCL
- Schutzhund - USA
- Tracking - CKC/AKC
- Trick Dog - AKC/DMWYD
- Introduction To Obstacles
- The Course - Reading And Strategy
- Advanced Handling And Strategy
- Training For A TD And TDX
- Developing A Strong Foundation
- Novice Thru Utility/Rally Novice Thru Excellent
- Turning A Trigger Into A Cue
- Understanding Drives And Sensitivities
- Program Planning
- Understanding The Science Behind Teaching Dogs
- Techniques To Teach And Communicate
- Building A Reliable Cue System
- The Science Of Choosing Cues And Signals
- Teaching Foundation Skills
- Understanding Focal Points
- The 'What If ...' Theory
- Proofing & Problem Solving
- Understanding Emotional Instability
- Teaching Foundation Behaviors
- Using Reinforcement Appropriately
- Developing A Game Plan
- Introduction To Obstacles
- Obedience For Agility
- Handling Skills
- Course Strategy
- Training For A TDX
- Negotiating The Signs
- Handling Skills
- Training Skills
- Proper Interaction With Clients