Rule of 5 – Dog Training tips
The rule of 5 makes training super efficient.
How do we know when to make things harder, or when to make it easier?
If training is too hard your dog will lose interest, or become frustrated.
If its too easy, then no progress will be made.
We need to make it somewhere in between.
Set up for success
We want our dogs to win! Winning feels amazing. It builds confidence. We want our dogs to win as much as possible.
When the end behaviour is HUGE (think running a whole agility course, or teaching a dog to find a scented article), we can’t train it all in one go.
Even smaller behaviours need to be broken down sometimes. Some tricks, retrieve, heelwork, nail trimming, and even recall can all be broken down into smaller steps.
If a dog never gets the reward until they have run an entire agility course, they’re soon going to get bored, wander away, find something more interesting.
Break it down into small steps.
Plan the end behaviour, then break it down into as many small steps as possible.
We can then decide when its time to up the game and get your dog to work a little bit harder for their reward.
How does it work:
Now you have decided on the steps you will take to get the behaviour, its time to start training. Start at the first level, and do 5 repetitions.
If your dog successfully completes at least 4 out of 5 reps, then move on to level 2.
If your dog does 3 out of 5 correctly, stay at that level for a little more training.
If your dog is only getting 2 or less repetitions correct, then make training much, much easier.
Lets take a look at teaching a ‘stay’ cue.
Example 1. – Rio does five fantastic sit and waits for 5 seconds each and gets a reward each time. We then up the criteria and practice for a duration of 10 seconds.
Example 2. Rio does 5 repetitions of a sit wait with a target of 5 seconds. He moves out of position twice, so we have 3 successful tries. We stay at this training level for a while longer.
Example 3. Rio tries a sit and wait for 5 seconds, but moves out of position before the 5 seconds is up. We have only 1 successful 5 seconds sit wait, in which he received a reward. We make this stage much easier, asking him to sit and wait for 2 seconds before getting a reward, repeating this new, easier stage 5 times before moving on.
Training a dog slowly is far more beneficial than trying to rush through the training to get the end behaviour.
Top notch competitive heelwork behaviour can take months, sometimes years to train to a high standard. The same can be said about scentwork, and agility.
Don’t rush through your training. Enjoy the process.
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