On The Ball - Dog Behaviour and Training
What is THE Most Powerful Tool in Dog Training?

What is THE Most Powerful Tool in Dog Training?

One small change to your dog’s day to day life can be WAY more powerful than hours and hours of dog training.

It’s not using higher value food.

And it’s not by using more exciting toys.

So what is it?


Rehearsal is so SO powerful and it’s something that I go on about A LOT to my students in dog training classes.

Dogs that rehearse unwanted behaviour make those neural pathways to carry out that behaviour so strong, that really, they can’t see ANY other choice in a situation.

However we can use rehearsal to our advantage and get our dogs to rehearse GOOD choices by limiting the choices they make, whilst re-enforcing the good ones.

What is Rehearsal in Dog Training?

Let’s put the science behind it into a format we can really get our heads around.

So, imagine that your dog’s brain is made up of lots and lot of tunnels. All of those tunnels are the different decisions that your dog can make at any one time. The decision to run to the door when the doorbell goes. The decision to stay in their bed when you walk past. The decision to dig up the garden every time they go outside (so annoying!) Eat the plants, steal shoes, wee in the house…

Imagine – there are literally thousands of decisions your dog can make every day.

As soon as they start making a decision more than once, that decision tunnel becomes a bit brighter.

They think “okay, this feels good!” or “this works””.  So they do it a few more times – that tunnel starts to become a PARTY tunnel!

Before you know it that tunnel is on fire! Your dog LOVES that tunnel – it’s the ONLY one they know, it feels AMAZING and they are going to choose it EVERY SINGLE TIME – regardless of how much chicken and cheese you have in your pocket!

THAT is the power of rehearsal. Scary right?

Using Rehearsal to your Advantage

However, we can work this to our advantage. By removing the ability to choose some of those tunnels, over time, they get a little bit darker – if your dog isn’t using them then they DO start to dwindle.

Now if you start making their choices a bit smaller, so they are limited to making good choices only, then those GOOD CHOICE tunnels start lighting up!

When you notice your dog making the good choices you HAVE to reward them. It makes that tunnel brighter and stronger and in turn, your dog is more likely to choose it next time.

It’s really lightbulb stuff when you think about it right?!

And this is all scientific – it’s just how brains work!

So it makes total sense when we apply it to how dogs learn and make decisions. This is powerful stuff in dog training and not something you will hear a lot about!

If you can always think about your dog’s environment in terms of

‘how can I set my dog up to win and make good choices here’

so that they only rehearse the good stuff, then you are halfway there and you WILL start to see the changes.

NOW imagine that you combine setting your dog up to win, alongside revolutionary concept dog training –  we are talking mega results!

If you want to learn more about the power of concept training, book a one to one or join our very popular LIVE ONLINE training classes, then drop us an email at nikki@ontheball.dog

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