Dog Training- Luring

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Have you ever worried your dog thinks his name is Bad Dog?  Are you having trouble getting your dog's attention for more than 30 seconds?  Do you long for a dog who comes the first time you call, or who doesn't confuse the command come with R-U-N!?

Dog training can be confusing when you first start out.  You know what you’re saying, but your dog ignores you.   Maybe you’ve tried to repeat yourself, or beg, or plead: nothing gets through.  Your dog just stares up at you, clueless, or worse runs off and continues to misbehave.

When frustration sets in you know you’re in trouble.  How could such a cute adorable creature create such emotional tornados? 

It might help to know dogs get confused too.  Your dog is trying to interpret your cues, but she’s watching your posture.  It might help to know that English is not your dog’s first language.  Dogs speak in postures; we have to teach them how to listen.

I’m here to help you with that.  I’ve coached clients near my hometown and all over the world with my phone, Skype, and online sessions.  I can teach you too!

Today you’ll learn an easy-to-master technique called luring, that's great for dog parents on the go.  Not only will your dog learn new words, but he'll also learn to listen.

Stick with me and you’re going to figure this out.  Your dog will soon prioritize your voice over other distractions.  Let’s get started.

Dog training is a lot like teaching a baby new words. Parent's hold out a thing, "bo-ttle, "flow-er" or point to an object "Tr-uck." As the baby learns to listen more words get paired to stuff and to routines, like "go potty" and "time to eat."   Over time, baby understands thousands of words!  Though dogs max out at a few hundreds of words, research shows that a dog's brain will light up to familiar words and sounds!

The Luring Technique: To teach your dog new words, lure him along a chosen pathway or into a position with something he wants.  Completely hands off and leash free, your dog will learn to listen without force or punishment. It's a win-win for everyone!

Step one: Choose something your dog goes bonkers for, such as food, toys, or praise. Pros call this the bait. Dogs cooperate for bait, like kids for candy and technology time.  (If you're using a toy, buy multiples of the same one, so you're never competing with your dog.  If it's food that excites your dog, cut it up into tiny pieces so you can practice lots of routines.)

Step Two: Decide on a quiet room to practice in so your dog won't be too distracted when learning new words.  If there's no rug, use a mat, so the floor isn't too slippery!

Step Three: Pick the words you'd like your dog to know, but teach them one at a time.  Set aside 5-minute lessons 1-2 times a day.  Keep track of your progression! No matter what the word is how many sequences did you complete on Day one; how about Day five?

Step Four: For this first example we'll use "Sit."  Hold a piece of food or a toy above your dog's nose.  Slowly draw an imaginary line over your dog's head and between his ears.  Wait until your dog is sitting to reward him with your bait.  During this first step don't say anything

Step Five: Once your dog gets the game, say sit as he's shifting into position.  To practice your training skill around the house, get a container with a flip lid and put some savory treats in it. Place these treat containers around the house is strategic places (e.g. by the door or crate) and call your dog throughout the day.   Use your new word every opportunity you can, continue to lure and reward your dog for a week or so until he's got the habit down pat.

 For more, tune into my YouTube channel, like me on Facebook & Twitter and (change to or) pick up one of my books!

Luring works great to teach your dog the meaning of everyday routines like Upstairs and To The Car.  Get out whatever you're using as a reward (pros call this the bait) and lure your dog as you move towards and say "To the Car." Reward your dog multiple times along any pathway or wait to reward him once you get there!

Use luring for more challenging training exercises like Come too.   Before we begin, think of the command Come like the sports term “huddle.” You're asking your dog to reconnect with you!

If your dog like his meals takes a handful for practice before placing anything in his dish. You can also you more savory treats, a toy or bone.

Step One: Go into your quiet training room. Place the bait you're using as a lure to his nose as you call his name.  Take a step backward as you keep the bait steady in front of him.  Reward your dog (no words yet).

Step Two: Once your dog gets the game and is paying attention, add "Come" as you reward him.

Step Three: Now add a pat or touch as you release the reward, as you say Come.

Step Four: Are you feeling confident? Practice in different rooms of the house, or in your yard.  Add more steps or a quick run away from your do as you lure him to follow you.

Step Five: You know you're doing it right if your dog gets excited every timeyou say Come.  Practice in gradually more distracted places, packing your rewards (AKA bait) so you can lure your dog away from distractions.  If you're practicing in an open area use a long line to keep your dog feeling free while you keep him safe.

For more fun luring techniques and to learn how a clicker can add clarity and speed to your luring process, stay tuned to my blog!   For updates and tips join my  mailing and like me on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter!

Sarah Hodgson