Sat 10 Apr 2010
Another important mechanical skill is the ability to deliver the food as quickly as possible after you click. In order to get the most value from the click/treat sequence you need to be able to deliver the treat immediately after the click while the dog is in the same position you clicked. The click tells the dog she did the right thing, the food presented in the correct position is an added reinforcement.
This is especially important if you have a quick dog like Ms. Kara. For example when I cue and click a sit, she can jump up before I get the food to her. When this happens I’ve lost the extra opportunity to reinforce the sit position. And I run the risk of developing a chain – sit, click, jump up, food.
So try this exercise. Get a timer that will beep (so you don’t have to look at the time.) Put on your bait bag with your usual treats and set the timer for 15 seconds. See how many pieces of food you can deliver to a countertop in the 15 seconds. One at a time of course! No fair grabbing a handful.
When you’ve reached the point where the number is consistent and you can’t go any faster, pick a specific spot and deliver just to that spot. A good idea would be to change to something that is at the same height as your dog’s mouth.
When you’re proficient, up the criteria. Try the exercise with your eyes closed. Do it with your other hand.
This exercise will pay off when you can get that treat to appear from your bag to your dog in seconds.