Proofing a learnt Obedience skill


How to proof that a dog is able to apply the learnt Obedience skill?

Proofing a Dog Obedience Skills

Proofing in dog training is the final step in training your dog on any new behaviour. It entails practising behaviours in a variety of situations with different stages of distraction. And to me, it's an On-demand phase; whenever I call out the behaviour, it should be spontaneous and responsive from my dog.

In this blog, I will assume your Dog Obedience Skill has been trained and managed to get 80% and more in term of success-rate. If you are not getting 80% and more, you should train this skill set in order to allow your dog to fully understand the command and the desired behaviours to complete that particular exercise.

I will focus on the Dog Obedience Training Life Cycle to help us all to understand in term of proofing a Dog Obedience skill. Below are the Dog Obedience Training Life Cycle Steps.

Dog Obedience Training Life Cycle

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I am focused on the Stay Skill, however, it can be either a Sit-Stay or Down-Stay Skillset. As you know the stay exercise has two, 2 challenges, the TIME and the DISTANCE. For the sake of this blog, we will focus on the TIME element.

Association/Acquisition This is the first step in dog training. I use Classical Conditioning to get my dog to associate the behaviour with a treat, toy or play. This type associated with the pairing with a Marker to a Treat. C/T - Click and Treat!

Consistency In this stage, I focus on Physical cue and eventually move onto Verbal cue. When my dog has a good understanding of the physical cue, I will progress onto the verbal cue. And at this juncture, I am focusing on consistency, my dog can perform the behaviour with both physical and verbal cues. Here I will try to get both the physical and verbal cue for Stay, the Sit and Down to be so call up to speed.

Repetition Repetition comes in when I want to strengthen the behaviour in whatever situation and at whatever time and venue. This stage I focus on training my dog to be proficient in both physical and verbal cues and eventually moving into simultaneous commands. Having success at home or familiar environment is the first step. Now I gradually move the training location outwards, to the backyard, to the neighbourhood park, to a new estate etc ...

Reinforcement Reinforcement stage is when I work on various schedules of reinforcement. If I want good and constant behaviour, I can increase my rate of reinforcement...

If I want to extend my dog's attention and ability to keep his attention on the job at hand, I will work on a bridge, and it is the time to strengthen and manage the behaviours.

I want to have good success on the Sit, Down and Stay even in a different environment. With fluency, I'm your dog will have a good understanding of the command and what behaviour is required.

Maintenance In this last stage which is where proofing is all about. I work on the different schedules on reinforcement, switching in between my repertoire of reinforcements, be it food, toy, play, pet etc...

This is to ensure all the behaviours I want is always readily on-demand to call upon. This is only possible if you do proofing.

Have fun & stay positive!

Dexter

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