Capturing a Behavior: Teaching Your Dog to Lick her Chops on Cue
Capturing a Behavior and Putting it on Cue
Any behavior that your dog does naturally, can be captured and put on cue.
Choose a behavior that your dog does often and in predictable situations.
Set up that situation so there is a pretty good chance your dog will do the behavior in a short period of time.
I know that when I give Jessie smelly treats, she tends to lick her lips, so I chose this behavior to capture.
Wait for the behavior and click at exactly the moment your dog does it.
Wait some more.
In the very early stages it is important that your clicker timing is exact.
The click is the information your dog uses to figure out the behavior you want to repeat.
Once your dog is ‘in the game’ and trying to figure outwhat you are clicking,
you may see her experiment with other similar behaviors.
When we trained in a new location, Jessie offered a slight head dip,
opened her mouth slightly, a swallow, then the tip of her tongue, then more of her tongue.
When the dog is consistently offering the correct behavior rapidly many times in a row,
she is ready for the next step.
Add a Physical Cue
I stick my tongue out just as she is going to lick.
After some practice, Jessie is in the testing stage again. Does my tongue mean she is supposed to do the behavior?
Yes! There’s the click!
Now that she knows the physical cue, she offers the lick more quickly and confidently knwoing the click and reward is coming.
Here is missed the lick, but she offers me another anyway.
This tells me that she is likely connecting the physical cue with the behavior.
I try to get her to do it when she is doing something else to see if she really understands what it means.
This took 4 seconds.
She really had to think about what I was asking.
Less than half a second!
Add the Verbal Cue before the Physical Cue
Note she is starting to use the verbal cue as she licks at the same time a the physical cue.
Drop the Physical Cue
Try Your New Physical Cue in with other Known Cues.
It then becomes another behavior that your dog responds to on cue.
After some practice, I replace the clicker with a verbal marker.
Try the Verbal Cue with Other Known Cues
I putt he physical cue back in as I was using them for the other behaviors as well.
You can use this process to train physcial and verbal cues for any behavior after they have been trained.