Friday, May 24, 2013

Wouldn't it be nice if our pets would do this?

A few months ago, I received an email with the previous subject line and opened it to find a video link to Jesse, an energetic Jack Russell who clearly loves to "work!" And he is, truly, an impressive dog.

But notice that Jesse doesn't seem to view it as work, and I'm betting his person doesn't, either. Everything about their relationship seems based on mutual respect and fun.

If you take some time and review older videos of Jesse, you'll see that, after he completes tasks, Jesse looks up to his person for a treat, an indication that he has been trained using positive reinforcement. When he does something desirable, he looks to his human for a "reward." Chances are, that reward is probably a treat. From what I've read, Jesse was clicker trained, which is a great method for those of you who are prepared to train consistently and reward positive behavior immediately.

So, don't despair. Jesse is not better than your dog; he's just had more training. You'll find that your dog can do amazing things, too, when you work with positive rewards. Rather than correcting your dog when she does something wrong, try praising her lavishly when she does something right, instead.

And you'll quickly find that you can teach your old dog new tricks.

Don't forget: Have fun! And happy training!

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