Field Force training of dog 'handlers' is based on proven positive reinforcement methods.
Positive Reinforcement is about rewarding the dog for doing the right thing using whatever motivates your dog – food, patting etc.
It is about your dog choosing to perform the desired behaviour because it is rewarding for them to do so.
The more often good behaviours are rewarded the more likely they will be repeated.
Individual training, rather than class training, focusses the issues and provides the ideal basis for ongoing handler practice, and ultimately a
dog which exhibits behaviour that makes it a well adjusted, calm and happy family pet.
The session is tailored to meet individual needs of handler and dog.
FIELD FORCE TRAINING WILL DELIVER:
• Practical handling techniques - cue commands that work
• Understanding how to communicate with your fur-baby
• Warning signs of problem behaviour and what to do
Use positive reward based training techniques to reinforce desired behaviour, never punishing unwanted behaviour.
Instead praise and reward the good behaviour and ignore the bad behaviour.
Food is your most powerful reward-treat but so is patting, a gentle happy voice and a game. Even a walk is enjoyable so mix up the rewards!
Be calm in order to win over the dog’s trust, never be too excited or else the energy may become out of control
resulting in reactive fear or anxious or aggressive behaviour, or just a dog that is so excited that he has ‘lost it’. In an agitated over excited state the dog cannot learn. He needs to be calm to focus.
Playing games with your dog is also important to build the relationship.
This is REV-THEM-UP time, which then is followed by CALM-THEM-DOWN time.
Practice - Practice - Practice exercises in order to imprint the behaviour.
As success is rewarded the dog-handler relationship will grow, creating a balanced and happy, well behaved family pet.
Remember in only 5 or 10 minutes once or twice a day practicing exercises will quickly establish learning the behaviours.
What NOT To Do & instead…
• Don’t reward the unwanted behaviour eg don’t use a treat to stop the barking, growling, jumping, lead-pulling
or you risk reinforcing the unwanted behaviour; instead distract the dog and ask for a wanted behaviour like SIT so that you can reward the dog for sitting
• Don’t delay the reinforcing rewards; instead always reward fast when the dog completes the ‘task’ eg sits
• Don’t try to dominate the dog eg never scare, hit, yell, intimidate; instead be calm, speak with clear distinct cue commands
like SIT, STAND, DOWN/DROP, COME, HEEL, WAIT, STAY
• Don’t try flooding the dog to desensitize a problem behaviour
eg don’t force a reactive (fearful or aggressive) dog into a situation to get him “over it”
- a dog barking at another dog should not be taken closer; instead remove the problem stimulus by removing the reacting dog to a safe distance until the reactive barking stops.
Then reward with a treat or a pat. - it is just like not throwing a child into deep water hoping that he will learn to swim; instead gradually teach the skills and introduce shallow then deeper water.
• LEAD PULLING is common but should not be allowed.
Don’t pull back on a tight lead when the dog is forging ahead as the instinct for the dog is to pull against a resisting force
– think of Huskies pulling a sled; instead stop walking or go the other direction.
The idea is to allow the dog to stop pulling with a tense lead, and only when the dog eases the tension on the lead do you move forward.
This will take a lot of practice but it can be done with persistence.
• LURE THE DOG WITH A TREAT to show the dog what you want eg sit, stand, drop, come, heel (at my side). Remember don’t yank on the lead, as the lead is only to stop the dog moving out of your area or running off, and is not to be used as punishment.
• MEALTIME is a ‘special’ opportunity to build trust.To reinforce the calm respectful obedient behaviour always at meal times ask the dog to sit and WAIT for dinner; just for a few seconds, then release the dog with a cue command like EAT.
Never interfere with its eating; always show the dog respect to eat without interference, because if you challenge the dog while eating then you may trigger aggressive ‘resource guarding’ of the food.
• LET SLEEPING DOGS LIE has more than a grain of truth. The dog needs a permanent place to sleep and feel safe. A reactive dog when awake is likely to be very reactive (agro) when awakened too loudly or abruptly.
Remember that the aim of positive reinforcement techniques is to create a well adjusted, calm and happy family pet !