What if I told you that they key to communicating with your pet, to phasing out treats and maintaining behavior, the key to increasing the speed and effectiveness of learning, was held in a single word?
One word, that can help your dog learn faster, and help you communicate with your dog more effectively. But it’s not about what the word is, but what it stands for.
Communication and Learning
Before we ever delve into the actual training process, we need to focus on what training actually is.
Virtually everything we do with our dogs is done with the purpose of helping them understand us more clearly.
So why does training fail, particularly with problem behaviors? Because we simply don’t communicate clearly enough for our dogs to understand.
People tend to approach communication with their pets in two clashing ways. Half of the time they expect their dog to understand concepts they haven’t taught them, and become frustrated when they don’t understand.
The other half of the time they treat their dog as if they don’t understand anything, and are surprised when their dog begins making unintended associations.
Let’s take housetraining as an example. People often fail to supervise their puppy enough, and the dog sneaks off and has accidents in the house, to which the owner becomes quite frustrated. On the same hand, the person shoves the dog’s nose in it, but then wonders later why their dog cowers away from them when people reach towards them.
This is a perfect example of how lack of proper communication, and understanding of that communication, can break down your dog’s training.
One of the best ways to improve your dog’s behavior quickly is to evaluate the way you are communicating with them. Which brings us to our aforementioned communication tool, that one crucial word we mentioned earlier.
Bridging the Gap
“Ok.” A single word, two letters, and a simple meaning. But the word means nothing when you can’t use it properly. In our dog training courses and programs, we teach you exactly how to condition the word “ok” for use as your bridge.
A bridge does just that, it bridges the gap between your dog doing something correctly, and the next time they get reinforcement. In simpler terms, it tells your dog “Yes! That’s exactly what I wanted, do that more!” but with less words.
Essentially, we can use this word to help our dogs understand what we want from them more clearly. We can also use it to confirm with them that they’ve done the right thing, even if we won’t be giving them food right away.
Because when it comes down to it, clear communication with your pet can mean the difference between true obedience and understanding, and a dog that just guesses what you want and listens to you half the time.
You can use it to teach your dog any number of things, from speeding up the course of normal training sessions to helping your dog learn to settle down on their own over a longer course of time.
From the more basic problems or behaviors that we cover in our Dog Savvy Small Dog Training Made Easy Course, to complex behavioral issues that our trainers work with you to solve one-on-one in our Ask The Trainer, all of our methods utilize this crucial building block in the training process.
For more information about using a bridge, the differences when training small breed dogs, and more, please sign up for our free three-part video series The Truth About Small Dogs.
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