Monday, January 24, 2011

Everything I need to know...

Ever heard the expression "everything I need to know, I learned in Kindergarten" ?? Well today I realized the same is true if you change it around a little bit to say "anything you do is like teaching Kindergarten."

Biscuit had his 2nd dog training class tonight. We're taking the class at Petsmart that is designed for dogs over a year old, but who have had no formal training. The first night, he was the only one who didn't poop on the floor. Success! Tonight's lesson was about sitting, and he didn't do so well. We have a lot of practice ahead of us this week.

But all night long, the instructor was talking about how it's not a bad thing to "bribe" the dogs by using treats. He talked about using positive reinforcement to get them to learn good behaviors. Taking away temptations to avoid bad behaviors. Basically, everything I learned last year in my first year of teaching Kindergarten. I was laughing quietly to myself when finally the instructor asked me why I was laughing. I explained that it seems to me that training a dog is really no different than training a 5 year old.

It takes a lot of work and a lot of patience. It also takes learning what motivates your student (person or dog). Biscuit doesn't really like treats, so I've got to find something else to entice him. Last year I had a student who had horrible behavior and didn't really seem to be motivated by anything other than the computer. So guess what? We used computer time as a reward for positive behavior. And it worked! It's all about finding what works for each kid (or dog!) and putting that to practice.

At the end of the day, my kids are exhausted from working so hard. And so is Biscuit:

Seriously, could he be more precious? My kids do a similar thing at about 2:30 every day.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

He is so precious! We found that playing with a tennis ball is what will get our dog to do anything. He is a sucker for treats, too, but if we get out the tennis ball, his head jerks up and we have his full attention. Good luck! I've always said everyone needs to take a dog to training before they have children... I guess I need to add "or teach" to that, too!