Whole Dog Journal Tips July 5, 2011

(Positive Training Basics #4) - Positive Training Basics: Common Dog Training Mistakes

Dependency on luring is a common dog training mistake. Luring is using a treat to show your dog what you want him to do. To lure a “down,” for example, hold the treat in front of your dog’s nose while he’s sitting, then lower it a tiny bit toward the floor. As his nose follows the tidbit, “mark” the behavior that you want with the click! of a clicker or a verbal marker, such as the word “Yes!”, and feed him the treat.

Continue gradually moving the treat toward the floor, clicking and treating along the way, until he’s lying down. If at any time he stands up, say “Oops!” and have him sit again, then resume luring the down, moving the treat toward the floor in smaller increments this time.

Luring to teach behaviors is just fine. Forgetting to “fade” (gradually remove) the lure is not. If you don’t fade the lure early in the training process, you and your dog can become dependent on the presence of treats to get the behavior to happen. While I almost always have treats in my pockets or close by, I don’t want to have to rely on treats to get my dog to offer behaviors when I ask for them.

For more details and advice on positive training, purchase Whole Dog Journal's ebook, Positive Training Basics.