Counting dog
Copyright: innocent / 123RF Stock Photo

You learn something new every day.. and this is one I really didn’t know! Dogs are bean counters – not as in actually counting beans (baked, broad or otherwise), they count how many treats they have received. One good quality treat is never as good as many many teeny tiny little treats apparently. Seems like dogs and children are more alike than we could have ever imagined!

This useful nugget of knowledge comes from Nicky the dog trainer at Doogies. Treats are all about positive reinforcement. If a dog gets one treat he knows he’s done well. If he gets lots and lots of treats he knows he’s done really well.  How we use treats is instrumental in our training, and now I am armed with this knowledge I am using it.

Training Chip the Springer Spaniel to walk nicely (not even to heel… I am not that ambitious) is a challenge. However, this week we have mastered the ‘if i pull my mistress she will turn and walk the other way, therefore I should follow’ routine. One treat as a reward was ok, but he almost instantly went back to pulling. Taking the bean counter approach – giving him many treats as a reward and continuing as we resumed walking has resulted in a much better behaved and less ‘pully’ spaniel!

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