Monday, April 25, 2011

Training Prince

It was in September when we first gathered to start our training sessions. Jazz and Adrian from APAW ( had generously offered to offer some guidance some of our volunteers in the aspect of dog training. Our first step was to train our own dogs and vice versa before we could start training and mangaging our other dogs in Noah's Ark. It was also an opportunity for both the dog and owner to forge a stronger bond and learn more about each other.

We were taught the clicker training method which is one of the positive types of training. Every week, we brought yummy food to reward our dogs accordingly. The more rewarding a dog finds a particular reinforcer (in our case, food), the easier the dog was to train. The exercises were mentally challenging for both the dogs ourselves. Moreover, we were constantly reminded by Jazz and Adrian that we needed to reinforce the techniques taught to the dog. Whatever we learnt in class together was to be practiced at home in order to ensure the idea stuck (with both the dogs and the owners).

Initially in the first few weeks, Prince seemed to be more interested in his surroundings than me, his owner. There were times I felt extremely perplexed and frustrated, trying fervently in order to get Prince's attention as he was very easily distracted. Adrian and Jazz constantly reminded me to be patient, as positive reinforcers usually took a longer time to garner results.

After a month and a half, there was a breakthrough where Prince and I completed the required exercises in one clean sweep! At that moment, I was so proud of Prince and myself having come so far. This was however, only the beginning. In the future when the time comes, our skills will be put to the test when we need to train our rescued/fostered dogs, in order to help enforce some basic rules so that they will have a better chance at finding a home.

Personally speaking, both Prince and I benefitted from the training. He's defintely more obedient and less domineering, and I've become more patient in dealing with him. It shows that training does work! Still, I believe there's still alot to be worked out between us as our pairing isn't as solid as Jazz and Shadow's yet! Till we reach that stage, we both need to keep practicing so that our training will not go to waste.

Our Graduation Picture!

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