Walking on a leash is one of the biggest challenges for dog owners, and is far from easy to teach properly. For most people, walking "by foot" means that the dog walks alongside his human without pulling on his leash, without being distracted by his environment and being attentive to the one holding the leash.
Yet many enemies seek to break this much desired harmony:
- Squirrels, birds and leaves twirling.
- Food escaped from the ground
- Passersby a little too exuberant
- Dogs trotting near their master
- Reactive dogs
Make your dog understand that he will have access to what he is interested in, as long as he offers you a behavior that you like.
Premack's law adapted to canine education
Remember your mother who asked you to clean your room before you could play with your friends? She just used your motivation to get what she wanted. This concept, called Premack's Law, adapts very well (and even excessively well) to the education of our dogs.
We can also formulate this principle as follows: any behavior with a high probability of being emitted can itself be used as an enhancer for another behavior.
Instead of trying to make our dog ignore what excites him, it is better to use this source of distraction (which is a great source of motivation for him) to our advantage. Anything that stresses you in the past during the walks can then become, in the short term, good opportunities to educate Your dog, and in the long term, a good way to establish a bond of complicity with your animal: he will understand that he can get what he wants by referring to your directions first! We teach this exercise to all participating dogs in our basic obedience classes.
How to train your dog using the premack principle?
The simplest is to ask our dog to make eye contact before being entitled to a privilege. However, we can also ask any other behavior to your puppy: sit down, come back to us, etc.
The first exercise to perform requires very little:
A flat collar or harness
Favorite Toy or Rewards
"Do not use a choke collar".
The steps to follow:
At home or in a quiet place, attach your dog's leash to his collar
Launch a ground reward far enough for your dog to reach it
No matter how vigorously your dog tries to pull on his leash to achieve what he desires, stay impassive
As soon as he turns to you, let him get what he wants by using a specific marker (OK, go ahead ... Do not use your clicker)
Practice this exercise in different places and situations using different motivators
Some tips to go further in training:
- Do not forget to gradually increase your requirements so that your dog can maintain his concentration on you for longer and longer.
- In the presence of distractions or more difficult situations, lower your level of requirements and gradually increase it again thereafter.
- Never let your dog get what he wants if he offers you a behavior you do not think is appropriate.
For an obedient dog in all situations
Knowing the “principle of Premack” will allow you to add variety in your training and during walks by giving you the opportunity to strengthen your dog for his good behavior in a hundred different ways! Training your dog in positive reinforcement does not imply the use of treats alone: it involves using everything that motivates your furry friend!