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Efficient Dog Training

How to train our dogs effectively.

The Rule of Five (not so much a rule but a very good system)

 

How to create efficient progress training with your dog.

When training a behaviour with our dog’s we need a way of knowing when push our dog’s and when to make it easier for them. How can we create effective progress and maintain efficient dog training? Science has proven that learning is most effective when the rate of positive reinforcement is high.

 

What is Positive Reinforcement in dog training?

First of all, before we start, a note on positive reinforcement. A positive reinforcer commonly referred to as a reward. Can be anything the individual learner thinks of as holding value. In dog training, food is a popular choice for the reason that it is easy and quick to deliver and then carry on training. A reinforcer could also be; your attention or playing with a toy. So long as it holds value to your dog, it could be used. Read More on Positive Reinforcement in dog training

 

Success is in the planning for efficiency in dog training!

Setting our dogs up for success is important too. We achieve this by breaking the behaviour down into achievable sections. Also by choosing a suitable environment for each stage of training. If you or your dog are struggling. Then it is time to adjust your training plan! See The Three D's of Training for more on this.

 

How many are too many? Wages are important

Above all, when training our dog’s, it is essential to keep the flow of reinforcer high. Being consistent is also a factor if we want dependable behaviours. The rule of five helps us to judge when to raise the criteria or take the next step in our training goal. Similarly, it also helps us if we need to lower criteria and make things easier for our dogs to succeed.

 

How I keep the efficient flow when training dogs

It was many years ago I first came across this type of system, in a training demonstration by Jean Donaldson. Now we have the basic understanding of training ethos. Let’s get back to the “Rule of Five”. This system is designed to give a clear and consistent way of judging:

  • Is it time to make it harder, or progress our training.
  • Make it easier, or take a step back in our training.
  • When to stay at the stage we are at and build a stable step.

 

It works like this:

We try five repetitions at the stage of the behaviour we are training. If our dog has a five out of five success rate, we move on to the next step. When a dog which has a three or four out of Five success rate, we stay at this stage of training. A dog who has a two or below out of five success rate we reduce the difficulty and take a step backwards in our training plan. It is as simple as that.

 

Let’s have a look at it in practice

So let’s look at that with three examples of adding duration to the sitting behaviour. These show how we create efficiency in our dog training. In the examples below, our dog “Bengy” knows his sit cue and sits everytime he hears it. Our goal is to increase the time this behaviour is held. First of all, he will be moving on, the second sticking and finally, we will be making it easier for him.

 

Example 1: Bengy nails his duration
  • We do five repetitions of asking Bengy to sit and hold the position for six seconds.
  • Bengy holds the sit for six seconds everytime and gets his reinforcer after each repetition.
  • We progress our training and the next five repetitions we will try for Bengy holding the sit position for eight seconds.

 

Example 2: Bengy needs some more practice
  • We do five repetitions of asking Bengy to sit and hold the position for six seconds.
  • Bengy holds the sit for six seconds, four out of the five repetitions. Bengy gets his reinforcer after each of the four completed repetitions.
  • We stick at our training stage and the next five repetitions we will try for Bengy holding the sit position for six seconds again.

 

Example 3: Bengy needs some easier step practice
  • We do five repetitions of asking Bengy to sit and hold the position for six seconds.
  • Bengy holds the sit for six seconds, two out of the five repetitions. Bengy gets his reinforcer after each of the two completed repetitions.
  • We take a step back in our training and the next five repetitions we will try for Bengy holding the sit position for three seconds. Read More: The Three D's

 

Conclusion for efficient dog training

As we train our dogs, focus less on always making things more difficult. It is far more useful and efficient to pair our verbal cues with a high reinforcement rate. Remember, our dogs are individuals and like us have good days and not so good days. Take a flexible approach to your training and keep each session fun for everyone.

If you're having trouble progressing your training why not book and Online, 1-2-1 Training or Behaviour session.

Happy training …

Live Together, Learn Together and have fun together.

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