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Australian Shepherd Dog Photo of the Day

Tera & Scott Womack

This handsome fellow is Yukon. His mother was a black tri and father a blue merle. He was the only red merle in the bunch.

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Training and Care — Tip Of The Week

Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care
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Excerpt from Our New Ebook
Australian Shepherd Lover's Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Excerpt #15

Using Treats for Training – Jackpots and Random Rewarding Cont'd

Why would you want to make sure training doesn't become predictable? Well, this is a big part of making sure your dog does what you say even when you don't have treats. See, if you use the same treat every time, your dog will become conditioned to respond only when she knows there's something in it for her. You then have a performer, but not a truly obedient dog.

To make sure this doesn't happen, you need to combine two techniques: jackpots and random rewarding.

Jackpot – your dog's favorite treat or game, or an extra big helping of another treat. This should be given when the dog masters a new command or performs a behavior particularly well. This helps avoid boredom and keep your dog's motivation high, because she never knows when she might get a taste of her favorite treat (or game).

Random rewarding – this simply means you don't give your dog a treat every single time she shows you the behavior you ask for. So maybe you say "Sit" ten times and she sits ten times, but you only give her a treat 9 times. You should keep everything else the same – verbal praise, petting, and so on – just don't give a physical treat that one time. Don't follow a pattern with this – the idea is that is should be RANDOM.

When you first start teaching a new command, reward every time. But once your dog starts to get the hang of it and knows what a command means, introduce random rewards and jackpots to keep motivation high.

More on Your Dog's Personality

There's more to understanding your dog as an individual than just figuring out what she likes to eat. For example, some dogs respond better to hand signals than they do to verbal cues (ideally you should be using both in your training). Likewise, some dogs are naturally bold and assertive whereas others are shy. Keeping in mind that you need to be seen as the pack leader to successfully train your dog, can you see why this would be important? A shy dog will follow your lead much more easily than an assertive dog. An assertive dog might be much harder to "convince," which means you'll need to be extra firm in your authority by being extremely consistent in your training, discipline and routines.

Next time: Through Your Dog's Eyes: The Canine Senses

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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care


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Dog Quote of the Week

It is a truism to say that the dog is largely what his master makes of him: he can be savage and dangerous, untrustworthy, cringing and fearful; or he can be faithful and loyal, courageous and the best of companions and allies.

~ Sir Ranulph Fiennes




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