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Discussions > Training > Agility & Tricks > Rewarding a new skill

Rewarding a new skill

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It is important to remember to reward your dog after any attempt to do a new trick or skill and keep building on the skill or trick, with the reward at the end of the attempt. To use the trick to get the dog to do the trick is luring them and they really are not learning the skill or the command they are just following the treat. This would result in the dog needing a treat everytime to do the skill or trick instead of learning how to do it on command. If you ever decide to show your dog in agility sanctioned events toys and treats are not allow in the ring.

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Thank you Emgerber.  This is one area I fail miserably in, and now I see why, lol!  Our dogs don't know much of anything when it comes to tricks.  Our Brussapoo is almost 12, and he knows sit, come, lay down,  leave it, and heel,...but nothing 'special'.  I see now what you mean.  I had 'treat syndrome', so he was following the treat and was confused on what he was supposed to do when the treat wasn't there to 'turn in circles' for, or dance for, etc.  I'll try it your way and see how it goes. ;)
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It is amazing once you have strong ground work or the basics your dog will learn tricks very fast. Our dog only gets the reward for a trick after it has been completed and not every time. When learning a new trick I will give a treat for any attempt and as she starts doing the attempt successful most the time I start pushing for a higher level of skill and then the reward comes. I also do not always use treats sometimes it hugs and pats and the words yes and good girl. I use the word yes now in place of using the clicker. Just recently my hubby saw a great trick done by a dog on TV and he told me about it and asked if we could teach our dog. So I introduced what I wanted used a one word command and in 3 days she had totally mastered the new trick.

Our obedience instructor says not to reward for failures.
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Yes you are correct if a dog does not do as you ask you do nothing. You do not respond in anyway. They only get the reward if they do what you ask. However when you teaching a new trick you use a technique such as shaping. You break the task or new skill down into small parts and teach one part at a time then the reward the step you are teaching. If want your dog to give you eye contact. The first step could be just a glance in your direction when you give the command the dog does the glance then the reward comes. Once the dog does this regularly the first time asked you go to the next step the glance becomes a look for a short moment and keep building until the whole skill has been taught. Once the skills is mastered you fade out the reward so the dog will do the skill when you ask on the first request.

Do agility competitions allow clickers? I am learning about clicker training and I am thinking of using it for my girls and maybe getting them into agility, if they are eligible. They already do most of the things on the course (jumps, tunnels, ramps, etc.), but I have not trained them with weave poles yet and they refuse to jump through hoops/tires.
I'm also hoping to teach them other tricks.
I think the clicker sounds like a good tool. You give them treats along with the click and first and then eventually they will learn the clicker means "yes, good job" and will not need the treats as often anymore. Which is good because that means they will not gain a bunch of weight from learning new tricks and they learn the command.
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Click training is a beginning training support. In agility when you compete you cannot use clickers, toys or food in the ring. Your dog cannot wear a collar nor can you wear any type of timing device. It is the dog and the handler in the ring following a pattern of obstacles as set out by the judge. It is all about skill, speed and having fun.

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