Australian Cattle Dogs are highly intelligent and independent thinkers who tend to react to aggression with aggression. A Cattle Dog needs to be trained or they will find their own things to do which may not please you. A positive style of training rewarding with food, toys or life rewards is the most effective way of training a cattle dog.
Cattle Dogs independent thought means they respond very well to clicker training where their behaviour is shaped to what you want – cattle dogs just love to work out what behaviour is going to get them that reward.
So how do we train using Positive Training
The basic principles are:
- Reward (Positive reinforcement) to increase the behaviours you want
- Ignore (Negative punishment) to stop behaviours you do not want
Know what behaviours you want from your dog:
- Reinforce by rewarding what you like
- Ignore what you don’t like
- Completely and utterly ignore them – look or turn away and remain completely passive, or calmly walk away, or leave area
- Redirect the dog to a behaviour you can then positively reward after ~ 5 secs
- Manage the situation by getting the dog out of the situation before the bad behaviour starts, walk away to gain distance, crate or put dog in a no trouble area
- Break down each behaviour into tiny pieces (approximations)
You want the dog to go lie on its mat
– show interest in mat
– move towards the mat
– put one foot on the mate
– put two feet on the mat
– put 3 feet on the mate
– put 4 feet on the mat
– get on mat
– lie down on mat
– lie on mat for longer and longer time (increment of seconds)
– send to mat from further and further away (increment of half a step)
– and then go lie on the mat while more and more distracting things are happening
- Raising the criterion once each step is learned
- Remember the 3D principle and raising only one of these criteria at a time:
- When raising one criterion you need to lower the other criteria
- Learned behaviour is one that occurs correctly in at least 8 out of 10 tries out of 10 trials in different locations with varying degree of distraction
- Keep sessions short and successful – ideal 3-5 sessions of 3-5minutes working on a behaviour/ set of behaviours at a time.
- Always stop when the dog wants more
- Proper timing is everything – mark &/ reward in half a second, late or early timing might mark the wrong behaviour
- Dogs need down time at the end of a session to think about what they learnt
- Remember attention good or bad is a reward
- A clicker is a device that makes a short sharp sound, there are a number of different models of clicker on the market.
- The click marks the end of the behaviour Whatever you want the dog to repeat now or again in the future, the click will mark that behaviour – the paying attention, the response to your call, the self control etc
- For every click there will be a reward – within 5 seconds of the click in the beginning.
Some of our favourites.
For all you need to know about clicker training – www.clickertraining.com
Sylvia Trkman’s training – www.lolabuland.com
Bertilsson, Eva & Johnson Vegh, Emelie, 2010. Agility right from the start.
Dennison, Pamela, 2005. The complete idiots guide to: Positive Dog Training.
Donaldson, Jean. 2005 The Cluture Clash.
McDevitt,Leslie. 2007. Control Unleashed. Book & DVD’s
Miller, Pat. 2008. The Power of Positive Dog Training.
Parsons, Emma. 2005. Click to Calm, Healing the agressive Dog.
Pryor, Karen. 1999. Don’t shoot the dog: The new art of Teaching and Training.
A good source for DVD’s is www.cleanrun.com or directly from the person presenting the DVD.
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- Puppy Jumping
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- Great dog great handler – a winning combination
- On course to Excel
- Foundation training for Agility