Having more than 2 dogs that don't want to wait their turn? Let's change that.

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Taking Turns

Taking Turns

Building Value For Standing Still

If you have spent any amount of time training your dog, chances are you have focused on rewarding him for doing things. This could be heeling or maybe shaking or spinning in a circle or rolling over or or or …
We tend to dish out the most amount of treats for actions, never for stillness.
Combined with the fact that dogs are generally rewarded by their own adrenaline for going fast and “doing things”, they develop a strong preference for action vs inaction.
It is time we turn this around and teach them that stillness can be a default behavior, too – and slowly increasing our delay of reinforcement does not always mean they should get up and move.

Comments (10)

  1. Avatar
    Patricia Hoff

    One of my dogs can eat only his canned prescription food. How do I do this with him?

    1. Avatar
      Steffi Trott

      Depending on the consistency, there are different options for training with it. If it is chunky with some gravy, you could for example take the chunks – maybe microwave them or put them in the oven to dry them out a little bit. If it is more smooth, you could put it into something like this:
      https://thebark.com/content/bark-likes-treat-toob

  2. Avatar
    michelle Mathe

    How many times per day should we do this lesson?

    1. Avatar
      Steffi Trott

      Depending on your dog’s motivation, a few times a day (like 2-5). Some dogs don’t enjoy training more than twice for a few minutes … whereas other dogs can train all day long! My BC Kix would train with me from sun up to sun down if I let her 😀
      So, you want to make sure that your dog’s enthusiasm is the same in every lesson and that your dog doesn’t seem to be less happy to train in the afternoon – if you see him/her get tired of training, train a little less.

  3. Avatar
    Suzanne Reynolds

    One of my dogs is very sound sensitive. He is frequently hearing noises (sometimes that we do not hear) that make him retreat to his safe place between the wall and the bed in the den. When trying to train if he hears a scary noise (today it is a gunshot, it is hunting season here and we live in the country) he takes off to hide. Should I follow him and reward his being still in his hideout or just wait until he is more relaxed?

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      Suzanne Reynolds

      There is more to this than I initially thought, I tried this training session when things had quieted down and he was more relaxed, and he still scrambled away to hide. I think he associates being still and getting treats with unpleasantness (nail trim? Ear exam?) We got him when he was an adult and he has alot of anxieties. This training should be very helpful, we will keep working on it.

      1. Avatar
        Steffi Trott

        If you feel like he is anxious, you can try to do this in a place that is usually very relaxing for him. For many dogs this is their dog bed, or the bedroom or a sunny spot in the living room … pick a place that your dog would associate with calmness and happiness. Keep the sessions *really short* at first, maybe just 20 seconds. We want the dog to be “a bit bummed” when we stop training because it is so much fun and goes by so fast 🙂

    2. Avatar
      Steffi Trott

      Aww, poor guy! When he gets scared I would stop the training session. We do not want to accidentally have the dog pair the fear with the training itself.
      However – have you tried to countercondition against recording of sounds that make him uneasy? There are “puppy noise CDs” – basically recordings of random noises that you can expose puppies to – but they work just as well with adults! You can order them online or search for sounds on YouTube. Play them at a really low volume while your dog is doing fun things – such as eating dinner or chewing a delicious bone. Over time he will associate the sounds with pleasant experiences, and you can start to increase the volume.

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    Yvonne Grant

    Amazing how the two other dogs stayed on the couch and didn’t jump on your treats! Our two dogs know we will take turns and treat them equally. If I would do this with just one and the other would be on the couch, it would not be for long! Should probably not do it when they are both in same room then?

    1. Avatar
      Steffi Trott

      Yes, when you are first starting out, do this separately. Then, when it works well separately, check out the lesson on the first time taking turns together.

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