First week completed and I would like to welcome all the new handlers to Henley Dog Training School.
We are off to a great start with all classes now full. The Intermediate class did their practical lesson which was a review of all the exercises that they had done in beginners, this was to refresh the handler's because I'm sure all the dog's remember!The Beginners had their 'dog free' session, where they were able to meet all the other handlers, we talked about how the lessons will work and we introduced the first exercise that they will go home and teach their dog before coming into class. This is the touch exercise which will help the handlers understand the concept of shaping a behavior and also kick start the dogs into using their brains!So what is the touch exercise?1. Rub your hand with some lovely smelly treat, the liver cake works well.2. Hold that hand (palm) out towards the dog and command 'touch', well of course the dog is going to go straight for your hand with it's nose because it smells so good. As soon as their nose touches your hand give your Reward Cue 'Yes' and feed the treat from your other hand.3. Immediately put you hand out again in the same position and re-command 'touch' now either the dog will touch your hand again with it's nose, in which case give your Reward Cue 'Yes' and feed or the dog will start looking at the hand that has the treat came out of. If this happens say nothing and keep holding that nice smelly hand out, this is where your dog has to start using it's brain 'how am I going to get that reward?' Eventually, maybe after it has tried barking at you, sitting looking at the hand with the treat in or various other things it will realise that that smelly hand has not moved and maybe that has something to do with getting the treat. As soon as the dog touches the smelly hand Reward Cue 'Yes' and loads of praise and treat. It is a great thing to watch your dog experience that 'lightbulb' moment. Once they have repeated the command 5 to 10 times with the hand in the same place, try moving your hand around. The first time of moving the hand the dog might go back a step but just be patient they will work it out.Have fun.