This method of training was first developed to train dolphins. The trainers needed to devise a way of rewarding them for doing the desired behavior. If the dolphin jumped through a hoop and then had to swim back to the trainer for his fish reward he wasn’t quite sure what he had done right. The trainers began using a high pitched whistle that the animal could hear even under the water, then they ‘loaded’ the whistle (feeding the dolphin whenever the whistle was blown) thus the dolphin associated the sound with the reward. When he jumped through the hoop he heard the whistle and knew that was the behavior that was wanted and that a fish was coming. This wonderful method has been used to train all types of animals but works particularly well with dogs, the only difference is instead of a whistle they use a clicker. This method is actually a conditioned response or ‘operant conditioning’ which is when an animal intentionally performs an action for the desired outcome, namely a treat. This actually employs the animal to act with purpose instead of just habit. Any behavior can be taught using these steps: get the behavior, mark the behavior, reward the behavior. This method can be used for basic obedience or for more advanced training.
Think about it: if you had to go to work every day and never got paid, most likely you wouldn’t last long, but you get up every morning and work hard because you know that you are getting some form of compensation. So, let’s not forget to pay our dogs for a job well done; come and learn the steps behind getting this method to work for you.
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