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06 May 2011

Great Teaching Moments Everyday

This is one of many dog ownership tips I'd like to share with you under the name 'Paws for Thought' written by a friend at work, posted here with her permission. Please note that these posts are written by a dog lover learning more every day and happy to share. They are intended to give you options and ideas to think about. They do not replace the help of a professional (such as a vet, behaviourist, trainer or lawyer). Posts can be shared with others as long as you make sure that any references contained within the post remain with the post and please do not take chunks out of context. Preference is definitely for the whole post to be shared rather than pieces.

Everyday we all miss multiple opportunities to get maximum 'bang for our buck' in dog training - the 'teachable moments' where your dog is probably most likely to be receptive to what you have to say.  We have resources (food, beds, toys, access to outside, etc.) that the dog wants and we just need to be on the lookout for the opportunity to share them. Look for (or create) those opportunities where your dog asks you questions such as:.

"Can I go out?"

"Got more of that sandwich?"

"How about letting me on the couch too?"

"I’m going to bark at that stranger, ok?"

Each of these questions gives us the opportunity to share a resource and train our dog.

"Yes you can go out, if you sit and let me put your leash on."

"No sandwich, but if sit on your bed you’ll have a bone to chew."

"You may get on the couch but you have to get off when I ask you to."

"No, you may not bark at that stranger, you can sit and have a treat."

It will take a few repetitions, just in order to fully understand it, but as long as your response remains the same, the dog will learn.

When you are on the alert for teachable moments with your dog you’ll be amazed at how many questions s/he’s asking you and how many small but amazingly powerful training moments are available to you every day.

Source: The Teachable Moment article at

For other views and stories about teachable moments check out: - showing it's not just dogs that you might like to think about in terms of teachable moments.

Some of you may recognise this though in terms of training with life rewards
(see which will probably get a post of its own some time in a bit more detail.


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