Training is a mechanical skill: Practice training procedures without the animal. Practice clicking. Practice giving the food, toy, or praise. Practice moving and training at the same time. Practice, practice, practice. Then, train the animal.
What you click, is what you get
Click for action, feed for position
Think — Plan — Do (three separate behaviors, don’t mix them): First let your imagination soar; consider every training idea without concern for practicality. Next, filter out the wild, impractical schemes and build a detailed doable pathway to the desired behavior. Finally, carry out your plan.
Example of how you could practice the mechanics of training precision heeling without your dog:
- Start by standing still while looking down as though making eye contact with your dog.
- Take one step with your inside leg.
- Click or say YES while maintaining eye contact with your invisible dog.
- Slide a treat down the outer seam of your pant leg, envisioning how you will deliver the treat into your dog’s mouth.
- Repeat, add multiple steps, switch sides, change your speed, until your mechanics feel consistent and smooth.
Two quotes from Norman Vincent Peale:
There is real MAGIC in ENTHUSIASM. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.
If there is no fun in it, something is wrong with all you are doing.