Micro(wave) Training Sessions

I was pleasantly surprised by Daisy’s “stay” yesterday when I was doing photos in the arena…

That is our only relatively close neighbor’s house in the background.

That is our only relatively close neighbor’s house in the background.

Because I have been busy with the Specialty-bound dogs — and I was waiting for Spring to start on her agility training — Daisy has not been the recipient of any formal training time. But I do this kind of thing every day…

Three Dogs Down.jpg

That photo, not the best as I just grabbed my phone, shows a micro training session as I was making my coffee.

A micro training session is a tiny unit of time, usually under a minute, in which I work one or two behaviors. I have cookies on the microwave and while I am waiting for something, I train. The dogs love this.

These micro sessions are effective. Daisy has learned both “down” and “stay” in small, regular micro sessions. Further, she was able to take the skills she learned and transfer them to the arena, staying perfectly while I went considerable distance from her.

What occurred to me is that we are doing micro training sessions all the time. However, we are likely not training with intention in these little sessions and therefore, we may well be training the wrong things.

Every interaction with a dog is a micro training session, truth be told. And so the dog’s behavior is nothing more than the result of our training, intentional or not.

This is yet another reason it is grossly unfair to a dog — and bad training — to blame the dog for undesired responses/behaviors. The reality is YOU likely trained that exact behavior. Congratulations!

The solution is not to “correct” the dog or even to beat yourself up (ouch!) but rather to take a step back and deconstruct how and what you have trained. Doing this allows us to make a new plan, proceeding with clarity and purpose towards desired results.

One intentional micro session at a time.

Micro(wave) training — the secret to Sparkle’s excellent “hold.”

Micro(wave) training — the secret to Sparkle’s excellent “hold.”