By Matt McKenna
Dog training education –Frustration is not always a bad thing, especially when it comes to dog agility training. Of course, the trainer will often find him or herself becoming impatient with the dog, causing more rigorous training. However, when the dog becomes frustrated or impatient, better results often come of it, as the dog makes personal improvements on its own desire to receive a reward.
So then. how can you get your dog to become frustrated, determined, and motivated to get that treat you’ve been promising them upon the completion of your trick?
Well, there are a lot of different ways. A great method that Canine Training Systems suggests is the “click and fetch” method.
This type of training is pretty low maintenance, and only requires you, your dog, a clicker, a light dumb bell, and a handful of treats.
When starting this exercise, remember that you will need patience on your end. As you progress and your dog makes improvements, your dog will become the frustrated one, as its rewards will come from smaller accumulated actions. Try not to enjoy this too much as some form of revenge through returned frustration!
What you should be enjoying is the ability to have you and your dog push through your set out goals. However, don’t just set the goal at one particular bar. Like we said, your dog will have to go through a series of accumulated successes to reach its ultimate goal. You will have to set up a plan for sub goals.
In doing the “click and fetch” exercise, the whole point of the activity is to get your dog to grab the dumbbell from your hand and hold it in its mouth for one full second. When this is completed, you should click the clicker, and give them a treat. However, because this is a step process, you will want to give them little rewards as they make little progressions. Here are the sub goals you should have in mind when doing this exercise:
- Dog looks at dumbbell.
- Dog moves toward dumbbell.
- Dog sniffs dumbbell.
- Dog touches dumbbell.
- Dog opens mouth over dumbbell.
- Dog takes dumbbell in mouth.
- Dog holds dumbbell in mouth.
As you reach the last step, you can give your dog a larger treat to signal the completed and most desired goal. Have fun with this activity, and as it is one of the easier exercises for your dog to learn, you can try new agility exercises and you and your dog can improve as a team.