BigPicture.Training uses force-free positive reinforcement. The method we use is commonly known as clicker training. Clicker training encourages creative and enthusiastic learners. The animal is rewarded for their own actions making learning easier and faster.
The Benefits of Clicker Training-
Builds trust and confidence
The dog becomes an active participant in their own training
Dogs learn how to learn
Clicker training creates a shared language
Lifetime of successful learning
How can two different species learn to communicate? Humans are a predominantly verbal species and dogs are primarily visual. This can lead to miscommunication. With clicker training, both species learn a new shared language.
This simple binary language helps both participants. The teacher needs to consider one simple behavior to work on. The learner gets reinforced for taking step towards the goal behavior.
When the animal gets rewarded for their own actions, they become an active participant in their own training. The animal learns that trying new things has good outcomes. After the dog has learned a few behaviors through clicker training, they become clicker savvy - learning how to learn. When they see the clicker and treat pouch they know this it is an opportunity. An opportunity to try new things and receive rewards.
Positive reinforcement has the added benefit of building trust and confidence through accomplishing goals based on choice and rewards. Making the right choice the easier choice, gives the learner confidence to try new things without fear or pain. Trust becomes a natural byproduct of working together with positive reinforcement.
Science Based Method
The “clicker” in clicker training is a simple plastic noise maker. When the click is paired with a reward (usually food), it becomes a conditioned reinforcer. The click replaces “good dog” or “great job” with a distinct and precise sound. After a dog has been classically conditioned to the sound of the clicker (think Pavlov’s bell), it’s time to start training.
The clicker is used to mark behaviors you like by clicking the moment they happen. Imagine taking a picture of a behavior you like, and snapping a photo of the moment you want to remember. The click helps the animal quickly identify the precise behavior that receives reinforcement.
The clicker is used to teach new behaviors. Once the behavior is learned, a cue can be added, and the clicker can be faded out.
"Training is easy, not simple"
It sounds easy- click behaviors you like and then give the dog a treat, however miscommunications can happen. I will teach you when to click, the most effective way to reinforce, and how you can apply positive reinforcement to all aspects of your dog's interactions.