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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was filling a form out and had to tick Bodhi's ability to do basic commands and whether they were perfect, usually ok or non existent.I haven't ticked perfect for any of them based on the fact that with some commands he doesn't do it first time, even with sit sometimes he looks at me to say really, you want me to sit, oh alright then.

What do people do for getting a cast iron first time response and making it stick. I am just talking about basic commands (nowhere near putting his toys away!) and we aren't using a clicker. I see brilliant clicker training videos but can the same results be got without a clicker?
 

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Good results can be achieved without a clicker but you notice the difference in speed and obedience when using one. I forgot mine when I went to training one night and Kes didn't sit on the first command more than 50% of the time, the next week I took my clicker and she sat straight away 100% of the time. One thing to think about when your dog does know a command but isn't doing it first time is to only treat when they do it first time. Go back to basics with the sit (guiding by a treat on the nose or whatever) until it's getting quicker, then move on to treating only for an instant response.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Phoolf - it was your post about toy box training that got me started on this!

The first time reward makes sense for some thing like a sit but how about something like stay where you want it to last longer - would you just build up the amount of time spent in position before treating?
 
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What do people do for getting a cast iron first time response and making it stick.
To my way of thinking it boils down to effective training followed by effective proofing. With each dog you train, you learn more of your own mistakes and thus, you get a chance to fix them. I figure at this rate, by the time I’m 80 I might be able to train something right the first time :eek:

By effective training, it doesn’t have to be with a clicker, but I feel you do get stronger behaviors if they are trained using the clicker method - shaping. Dogs just seem to get shaped behaviors locked in much better than even lured behaviors.

I think its Susan Garrett who says “don’t name it ‘till you love it” meaning, when you first start teaching a behavior, you don’t give it a cue. You simply shape the behavior, and when you’re willing to bet $50 that the dog will offer the behavior you’re working on, THEN you add in your cue (like sit, down, stay).
This way, you’re not inadvertently causing the dog to associate the cue with something else or inadvertently teaching the dog that the cue is 3 words instead of one.
For example I see a lot of dogs who think the cue for sit is “sit, sit, SIT.” And you can see them waiting for that last, loud, sit because they really think that’s the cue.

Another thing to bear in mind is that dogs will ALWAYS pick up on physical cues before verbal ones. If you teach a behavior with luring, your luring signal will become the cue no matter what you’re saying verbally in the process. If you want to transfer a physical signal to a verbal one, that’s a separate step. You give the verbal cue, wait, then give the physical signal. Eventually the dog will anticipate you and sit on the verbal signal.

Also because of this, people who are quieter with their bodies, and more physically aware, tend to have more precise behaviors from their dogs because there’s not all that extraneous “noise”.

Proofing is another step that leads to first time every time behaviors. Ian Dunbar has a “sit challenge” that’s fun to see how well you have proofed the sit. Not just under distractions, but on different surfaces, while you’re back is to the dog, that sort of thing. This is a fun video talking about proofing:
Can You Do it In a Box - YouTube
 

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Thanks Phoolf - it was your post about toy box training that got me started on this!

The first time reward makes sense for some thing like a sit but how about something like stay where you want it to last longer - would you just build up the amount of time spent in position before treating?
Yes that's exactly what to do with stay :) Try every 3 seconds, then every 5, then when it's reliable 10 seconds then 20 etc. You can do it as a down stay while you watch TV and treat between the paws every 30 seconds etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This way, you’re not inadvertently causing the dog to associate the cue with something else or inadvertently teaching the dog that the cue is 3 words instead of one.
For example I see a lot of dogs who think the cue for sit is “sit, sit, SIT.” And you can see them waiting for that last, loud, sit because they really think that’s the cue. You've been to my house haven't you!

Another thing to bear in mind is that dogs will ALWAYS pick up on physical cues before verbal ones. If you teach a behavior with luring, your luring signal will become the cue no matter what you’re saying verbally in the process. If you want to transfer a physical signal to a verbal one, that’s a separate step. You give the verbal cue, wait, then give the physical signal. Eventually the dog will anticipate you and sit on the verbal signal. I'd forgotten how true this is, Bodhi can do a reasonable sit/stay on a hand gesture at twenty paces. We've been working on lie down and he's gone from needing the treat on the floor to an effective hand gesture in about 10 mins. Thanks for the reminder
Thanks for the great post ouesi :)
 
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