Helping Families Raise Happy and Reliable Dogs

Talking Yourself Into Irrelevance

Al's Dog Training Tips

Talking Yourself Into Irrelevance

There’s this thing in dog training I don’t think I’ve ever explained before. It’s called “learned irrelevance.” That means, when you have a particular cue for the dog and it’s on all the time and never leads to anything of importance, the cue becomes irrelevant.  The dog learns to ignore it, and there are both benefits and downfalls to that.  One thing people do is talk excessively to their dogs.  If you’re ever doing anything where your dog needs to pay attention to you and you would like them to listen to your voice, then minimizing the usage of your voice is going to be an important thing.  

I’m a lot like all of you, I’m constantly talking to my dogs.  However, the reason I can get away with this now is because I’ve gone through the work of associating my voice to the things I want Gabby to understand.  Not only is this the behavior I want her to do, but also associating my voice with what’s going to happen with her leash, or her food, etc.  If you’re in the beginning stages of dog training though, you may be talking way too much.  You also may not be very good yet at the non-verbal forms of communication.  Something I always encourage people to do is take the time today and see if you can get them to do any of the skills you’ve been teaching them, but without any words.  If you can successfully get the dog to do that without speaking to them, then you should layer your voice over that.  

The winning formula for getting your voice to be relevant is two parts.  Number one, you should use your voice right as the dog is accomplishing the thing you want them to do.  Then you should follow that with reinforcement.  Another way is to associate your voice directly to a reward. For example, let’s say you’re trying to get your dog better at name recognition.  The easiest way to do that would be to say your dog’s name, then right after that reward your dog with a treat or something they would really enjoy.   These are all ways to combat your dog’s ability to make your voice irrelevant, by tying your voice to things that are important to your dog. 

The more consistent you are at doing this, the better your dog will get at learning that. 

Happy Training!

Share This

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on email
Email

Related Posts

Find True Partnership with your Canine

we'll help you and your best friend achieve your goals

Get the latest Dog Training Advice delivered straight to your inbox

Al's Canine Chronicles

We will coach you and help you achieve your goals.
At Longoriahaus Dog Training, we can help you every step of the way. What are you waiting for? Take the first step today.

© 2021 All Rights Reserved