Playing hot and cold. Very simply stated, that is what training animals is all about. How do we get our animal to understand our game of hot and cold as quickly and confidently as possible?
There are times when your animal is unsure if they are about to do the right thing or not. Example: You tell your dog to lay down and they are crouching, looking around, not sure if they should lower themselves completely onto the ground or stay standing. The game of hot and cold begins… Instead of immediately correcting them for not “reacting fast enough”, this is a perfect opportunity to encourage. Not reward, but encourage.
Many trainers don’t teach this, but still do it unconciously. When worked with regularly, it can help you create a confident animal who does what you ask for quickly and happily. Now that I have you sitting on the edge of your seat, may I introduce you to the intermediate bridge? A bridge would be a clicker, or any form of final reward for a completed behaviour. Intermediate is exactly how it sounds — positive feedback before rewarding your animal.
Example: Your animal starts doing something and you say “Gooood, goood, good, good….” and then a “GOOD!!!” for the successful behaviour. The intermediate bridge simply has an encouraging, friendly tone — either very energetic or calm, depending on what you are training. Then, for the final product, the animal receives a very clear reward.
Are you interested in more posts on this subject? Let me know and stay tuned!