Tool #2 helps you to Master
Partnership and Positive Leadership
The 3 Most Important
Principle 1: Be Positively Rewarding.
Principle 2: Apply the 95% Probability Rule.
Principle 3: Make Learning and Competing Fun.
Follow these 3 principles and your dog, your friends and their dogs will see you as the brilliant dog trainer you are!
Apply them to anything and everything you want your dog to learn…life skills…performance dog sports …agility … herding…anything at all.
Principle 1. Be Positively Rewarding!
There is a basic principle that will help you to teach your dog anything:
All living things repeat behaviors that are rewarding.
So, to effectively teach your dog, you need to reward behaviors that you like by rewarding your dog with things they really, really want! Ultimately, what we want is for our dogs to ﬁnd being with us, playing with us and working with us to be the best, most rewarding thing EVER!
What you DON”T want is to have a dog that will only do what you ask if you have a treat in your hand, or if you are bribing them with some kind of promised reward. And, you DON’T want a dog that just ignores you, or stops performing or otherwise disconnects from you and can’t respond appropriately.
We’ll all been there, or have seen THAT type of relationship between a person and their dog, and it’s the WORST, isn’t it? Frustrating, annoying, embarrassing and it can even be dangerous, if a dog is running away.
start by connecting “YOU” to all the things your dog loves.
To get to the place where your dog will happily and eagerly respond to you because she wants to…because he chooses to… you will start by connecting “YOU” to all the things your dog loves. What that means is that you will deliver a non- personal reward (non-personal = anything that is not you) along with genuine, enthusiastic and heartfelt appreciation for the thing your dog just did. You need to FEEL that happy appreciation, and your dog needs to feel it too.
You will repeat that again and again, until it’s your habit…and your dogs will come to LOVE the way you praise them, and the way you really appreciate their attentive responses. In no time at all, your dog will love your appreciation more than anything, and this mutual appreciation ﬂowing between you and your dog is ALWAYS with you…the treat or the toy is a grand bonus, but deﬁnitely not required.
Principle 2. Use the 95% Probability Rule.
Here’s the rule:
If you’re not 95% SURE your dog can can do the thing
…don’t ask for it.
This might be the MOST important principle. It’s deﬁnitely the one most people mess up. Assess the probability of your dog giving you the requested behavior, BEFORE you ask them for it. The idea is to only ask your dog for a behavior if you are at least 95% sure they will give it to you! If your probability percentage is lower than that, change up stuff to make it 95%.
Asking your dog to do something that is not likely to result in success is ‘setting them up for failure’. When you consistently set your dog up for failure, your partnership is damaged, your training fails, you feel like crap. You CAN avoid feeling like a failure…simply use the 95% rule…every single time you interact with your dog.
Oh, an important TIP: Get your dog’s attention before you ask them to do anything. Just like humans, dogs cannot respond appropriately if their mind is occupied elsewhere. Enough said.
Principle 3. Make it Fun!
Learning and Competing should be fun for everyone!
What makes learning fun is…Partnership! Collaboration! Doing it ‘together’ with your doggy buddy. Mistakes are not failures…they are attempts to get it right. That’s learning. Don’t take yourself or the struggle you’re having too seriously.
Focus on the details, but do keep your perspective on the big picture. Remember how far you have come.
Here’s a great principle for those of us who want to get it right, strive for mastery, and are committed to excellence (that’s you, right?)
I love the simple truth of this statement:
“Be serious … but don’t take yourself seriously.”
When we take ourselves too seriously, it’s easy to become frustrated, annoyed, and embarrassed. When that happens, we loose our focus on what’s really important. And when that happens, the fun fades away like the setting sun. Don’t be afraid to have a good laugh at yourself and the situation every once in a while. Your dog will love you for it. Your success will skyrocket. Even more fun will be had…it’s a perfect circle!