Treat or Reinforcer?

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Sunday, December 3, 2017 In : Using Food in Dog Training 


Two of the Definitions of Treat as found both in Miriam Webster and Oxford Dictionaries
a: to provide with free food, drink, or entertainment 

b: to provide with enjoyment or gratification.

There are many definitions of the word “treat” including to pay for someone’s meal or to treat a patient, to treat a person badly or well.

When working with dogs, it’s my belief most people have hesitation or objection to using food as it’s immediately thought of as definition b: to provide with en...

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Does Giving My Dog Human Food Cause Begging?

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Saturday, September 23, 2017 In : Dog Training Tips 

"I don't give my dog human food because I don't want him to learn to beg".
I hear this quite a bit. Dogs do not learn to beg just because you give them human food.

Begging, as most people describe it to me is - sitting near the table waiting for food while they are eating. That behaviour is easily changed with management or training. Have your dog in a crate, tethered away from the table or in an ex-pen during meals. Teach your dog to go lie on a mat away from the table. 

Our food smells great...

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Mini Training Tip

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Thursday, September 14, 2017 In : Dog Training Tips 
When in the early stages of teaching a new cue (command) give your dog a chance to respond. It takes time to process the request and put it into action. They are learning a new language and often go through their repertoire before offering what they think is correct.
If he is correct, great! If not, assume he doesn't yet understand vs assume he's ignoring you.
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Feeding Time. Why Work For It?

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Sunday, August 13, 2017 In : Using Food in Dog Training 

Feeding meals, or at least some meals, via food dispensing toys is one of my favourite ways to enrich a dog's daily life. It's easy to do and it's fun for the dog. 
When discussing this with a recent client an analogy popped into my head. (My apologies to the vegetarians and vegans who read this).
It's like eating lobster in the shell vs over a salad.  You need to work at getting the meat out. It takes time and effort. It's most satisfying when you finally get that small little bit out of the c...
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I Didn't Really Train My Dog

Posted by Janis Mikelberg, B.A. CPDT-KA on Friday, May 5, 2017 In : How Dog's Learn 

It can feel overwhelming when you think of the many skills you want your dog to learn and try to find the time to train them all. If I stopped to think of all the skills my children needed to become the well adjusted, successful adults they've become I would have locked myself in a closet and never come out!

It might be easier if you think of it as “giving appropriate feedback most of the time” vs "training skills".

While I don’t want to say raising children is the same as rai...

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