“A word, a sound, my kingdom for a sound.” Or “How to build a bridge so you and your dog can cross it to communicate together.”
As you may have noticed, you don’t speak Doglish and your dog has a hard time with English (or Spanish, Frenchish whatever). This exercise helps you speak the same language – or at least 1 relevant word.
This word that you are about to teach is going to mean: “that was exactly what I was asking for”
This word can also be a sound. It needs to be quick, one syllable and not sound like “No”
- This word must be “charged” to work.
- Take a handful of good treats
- Make your sound and give a treat.
- Repeat about 10 times
- Check for understanding by tossing a treat on the floor away from you (your dog can go get it or not)
- Make your noise
- Your dog should flip its head around and obviously show that it is expecting a treat from you.
You often need to “recharge” your word at the beginning of a training session
Didn’t work? Go back to step one
Got a head flip? Carry on. You now have a “Bridge” to communicate across.
Dog: “Right, butt on floor, am sitting!”
Dog: “Oh good! Quite right! I did it correctly!”
Human pays off with a treat
And so the dog learns (this is a great sentence to fill out if you are trying to figure out if your dog IS learning) that the click means “Correct, treat coming” and that a butt on the floor is worth a bit of liver. (And that jumping up earns nothing so we get “sits” rather than jumps, but that is another handout).