a blog about Kilt and her kids plus Trouble our JRT mascot.

My photo
Sequim, Washington, United States

Thursday, June 10, 2010


"There's no secret to dog training, but there certainly is a key: consistency.
I often refer to dogs as "pattern matching machines." I'm being facetious – of course, I think of dogs as more than machines – but dogs are very good at recognizing and storing patterns. It makes sense too: predators and scavengers that can quickly recognize where prey or food might or might not be are rewarded by nature.
You've undoubtedly seen your dog pick up on these patterns. The sound of someone approaching your door. The sound of their favorite family member's car. The sound of the refrigerator door opening. Each of these is a chance to store and later recall an association. That is how learning works.
So, when there is no obvious pattern, it is very difficult to learn. When your dog cannot learn, he'll improvise. You probably don't want that.
A consistent environment that is full of consistent signals is what you need to present to your dog. A predictable environment results in predictable behavior. " Eric Goebelbecker

Most of the problems I encounter with my dogs fade away with time, training, and consistency. Now my husband makes for a bit of a problem. He usually is quite good at making "consistency" go out the window. And, you know how hard husbands are to train! They do fairly well with click/treat, but when you try to fade that...they go back to their same old bad habits.

With 5 dogs, going out the door becomes a mad dash because 2 of the 5 dogs are young BCs. I have been extremely consistent with the dogs. I can open ANY door and walk outside while all 5 dogs will wait in the house until they hear their name called. Now, how to get them to walk calmly out the door instead of looking like they have been shot out of a cannon! That's my next dilemma as a trainer.

P.S. I have to add something here. I have it remedied going out the front door, just not the back door. When I call them name by name out the front door either to their kennels or to the truck, they walk out and lie down on the porch and wait for the next set of instructions. But, the back door to the dog yard is a whole different ballgame. They don't do it there because they go in and out all day and I am NOT consistent. And, my husband is NOT consistent. They are patterned to speed. :0)


Emma Rose said...

We have that problem too. If you come up with a solution please share! :)

Erin O said...

Yes, the door issue. I too have the wait until your name is called while door is open down solid. However same issue with speed. So I have been working with my worse offender-Mick age 8.
Before I open the door I call him to me and make him sit and wait as I open the door. I position him just far enough away from the door so I can get it open. Then immediately after his whole body is through the door he has to lie down. after he began to anticipate the stop i fazed it out, i do it every once in while as a reminder, but I always make him sit right in front of the door. The sitting in close proximity doesn't give him a chance to be fast. The other guys are much more civil if the "lead" dog manages to go out the door slowly.
You are totally right consistency is the key!

Karen said...

I think a lot of us can relate to this one! And husbands....yeah:(

Pat Grannan said...

Remember a famous saying from a famous golf instructor Harvey Penick. I will only get it close.

"Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Only perfect practice makes perfect."

gvmama said...

Amen to that MagRam. And, I ain't perfect. :0)