Teach Breakfast in Bed


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Teaching Breakfast in Bed

We want the dog to learn the difference between each delight we are going to reward them with to avoid any confusion or uncertainty.

If they are confused they could make an error and come to collect the food at the wrong moment, or if they are uncertain we can make the training harder to enjoy.

Clarity in rewards is very important part of learning. Important for both us and the dogs.

Practice first without the dog

Many experienced dog trainers will advise you to invest in your practice time, rehearsing without the dog is one of the best investments of your time. Stuff we screw up whilst learning on the dog is extremely difficult to undo.

This time is the opportunity to go through it slowly, be sure you have everything ready and in place. You can repeat, change, adapt, be sure what you are doing and gain confidence.

Once your dog is in the picture they will have plenty to say about what you are doing and offer lots of advice – such as hurry up! Feed me now!

You need:

  • A small bowl of something treat sized to practice with. It can be dried beans, coins, Lego blocks or the dog’s food
  • 1 sticky note
  • A vertical surface (wall, door or cupboard)
  • A table within reaching distance on which to place the bowl of practice food
  • 5 minutes of uninterrupted time without your dog (put him in another room)

Process:

  • Determine your dog’s muzzle height when the head is held comfortably level
  • Attach a sticky note to a flat vertical surface at that height
  • Put your bowl of practice “food” on a table beside you
  • Take a bean from the bowl with one hand, pass it into the other and move the feeding hand to directly in front of the sticky note. Do not touch the sticky note. Hold the bean in a softly cupped relaxed hand
  • Do 10 repetitions with each hand.
  • If you have a small dog, bend your knees!

Repeat until you can find the correct placement consistently and without conscious effort

Love that face!

Include plenty of time to give your dog a chance to see an open hand as an opportunity to sniff, or have a quick brush of their muzzle.

We want to teach the dogs, especially puppies that hands are something to seek information from, approach without anxiety and on many occasions enjoy affection.

Teaching the dog Breakfast in Bed

Zip learning to sitSeveral treats in one hand

Make a good habit of collecting an exact number of treats for each session. For youngsters or early learners I would collect 6, for more experienced 10.

This prompts you to stop when the hand is empty and not continue without a fixed end or break. When you need to refill, consider how that batch, or session, went and make your immediate plan for the next batch. One small change or adjustment is all that is needed. You can then easily assess how that change affected the dog, if you made several changes you will not be aware of which change was having the effect.

The hand holding the reserve can hold a clicker, but not at this stage. This is NOT the delivery hand.

Transfer one piece of food,

Either by collecting or placing into the delivery hand.

The dog engages to you in a general fashion,

It does not have to be eye-to-eye contact, but an orientation to you, a scan of you, your hands, your face looking for a clue as to what may be going to happen. Be certain they will be able to scent the food and notice it is in your hand.

We shall call this “enquiry?” It is going to become your future Cue Seeking behaviour which should be self-initiating after every treat. Cue Seeking from the dog begins all training sessions. If it is not present, then we will not proceed with learning.

Spot the sweet spot

This is the skill of identifying where you will place your hand for the dog to take the treat. Do not underestimate the benefit of doing this in the moment before you move the hand towards the dog. This “spotting” process is the skill that allows for accurate delivery, that ensure the treat is rewarding without the need to stretch or reach. It will also ensure the dog can relax in their position or location and not need to lunge towards that hand, and it will truly be full service, breakfast in bed …. They may not even need to sit up!

You can practise “spotting” without food during all interactions with the dog throughout the day. Essentially, your hand connects with the dog, open palm, and then give some affection to the chin or face. If you are going to feed treats from hand, it is good practice the let the dog experience hands without food as well as food.

Dogs takes food from hand

Be aware that taking the food is the dog’s choice, it should not be force-posted into their mouth and remove that choice. Wanting to take that treat is an indicator that the dog is seeking this as a reward. Be aware of how the “taking” is carried out. If there begins to be changes then you will need to modify the process.

If they begin to grab the food,:

~ Question whether the dog is so utterly hungry or fearful of going hungry that they may need a good collection of floor or bowl collected treats before this process begins. This is often the experience of puppies reared in a free for all environment or dogs that have a history of extreme hunger, or competing for a shortness of resources.

~ If this is a new change then observe that the hand does not slightly withdraw as the dog comes to take the treat. This is often their experience of food-in-fingers posted treats where the person is fearful of being bitten and pulls back as they deliver the food. Success is assured by the dog lunging forwards.

Bad food grabbing habits are always taught BY people TO dogs. Be tidy!

Practice first without the dog

Many experienced dog trainers will advise you to invest in your practice time, rehearsing without the dog is one of the best investments of your time. Stuff we screw up whilst learning on the dog is extremely difficult to undo.

Teaching the dog Breakfast in Bed

Several treats in one hand

Make a good habit of collecting an exact number of treats for each session. For youngsters or early learners I would collect 6, for more experienced 10.

 

What learning happened?

In every training session both you and your dog should be learning – learning something new, changing how you do something or reaching a new understanding.

It is a really good habit to make a note of what both of you have learned from the session. This will clarify your thinking and build your skill at seeing when learning is happening.

From this lesson you should see:

2. Answer to the point

Learning to teach yourself is a skill in itself. If you have ever purchased a “home-build” product, you may experience a sense of excitement or dread as you prepare to tackle the task and unpack the components. At lot will depend on whether the building process is intentionally designed for you to achieve success or makes an assumption on your skills or previous experience. Instructions can be straightforward to follow or leave you completely at a loss.

My experience with IKEA furniture leaves me in awe of their design for home building, and appreciative of the added extras – which can either leave you with a sense of comfort that there are spares or a sense of alarm that you have forgotten to use something. But the future is one of seeking more stuff to build, it gives me a little buzz every time I use it.

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