K.I.S.S. Dog Training - Mike & Dogs
K.I.S.S. Dog Training - Mike & Dogs

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Tuesday, Mar. 5th 2013

Dogs and Generalization

Ok let me be clear this article should shed some light on many of the problem behaviors you might be having… Folks dogs are not like us, they do not learn like us, they will never speak English like us and I will guarantee they will never generalize learning from one perspective to another like we can… Ok so what does that mean? Well let me explain with an example:
When I got Lexi my Lab she was just 10 weeks old and it was in the middle of winter! (By the way not the best time to get a dog, Potty Training wise at least) And as a trainer we got busy right off the bat; hand feeding, sit say please, non-negotiable rules, routines you name it! We even learned the game of fetch… But because of the snow and cold weather, I taught her to play this game in the house. She got so good that she was waiting to be released to go get the ball, dropping the ball on command when she brought it back she and I were very impressed with ourselves… Then came that first nice spring day!
Well we went outside, same owner/trainer, same ball and same dog and the first time I threw the ball, Lexi looked at me with a perplexed look like “and just what would you like me to do now”. My first instinct was to get frustrated and angry till I started to think like a dog trainer again and realized dog do not generalize learning… Just because they know a skill in one place will not mean they can translate it to another place! So we again started at the beginning and relearned fetch and in no time she was doing great.
What is the Morale of this story? If you want your dogs to do well in public you had better practice in public! Want your dog to greet people in public don’t just practice in your house! In other words if you want your dog to have a particular skill in a particular scenario, you had better plan on practicing in that scenario! In fact, if you really want a reliable dog you had better practice in lots and lots of areas and environments! Hey as always have fun and remember to keep it Simple Stupid!
Mike
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