Boris - top dog at Wags Galore

Hi, I’m Boris, nearly 7, ex-pound-and-forever-grateful dog.

I’m top dog here at Wags Galore and live in Pymble, on Sydney’s Northshore with my packleaders Rika and Greg.  Life is pawsome!

Mum made me the chief editor of this blog,  so stay tuned for lots of dawgy related articles. Will try and do my best to make this a truly pawsitive experience for all.

If you are local and want to find out what services Wags Galore can offer, just look under Pet Care Services above – hope to meat errh  meet you sometime!

Love, Boris.

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Luring Workshop held at the Hills Kennel and Training Club in Castle Hill, Sdyney.

Speaker: Vicky Austin from Petresorts Australia

Vicky Austin teaching dog training lecturers

Vicky Austin teaching 'luring' techniques

Hi, it’s Boris here.
Mum came home last Sunday after having been away ALL DAY(!) to a workshop at the Castle Hill dog training club. She said it was a really pawsome lecture held by Vicky Austin from Petresorts Australia. It was all about luring.

Vicky kept 50 or so instructors listening for a whole day on one topic, so she MUST know a thing or two! Some dogs were allowed into the lecture room for demonstration. I am too well trained apparently, although I would have loved to check out her lure! Mom took some notes and asked me to share it with you here:

Luring is only used to teach the dog what the cue means. Cue is the signal to prompt the behaviour that the handler can then reinforce.
Basically, the puppy follows the food in the hand and accidentally falls into a sit. It gets rewarded and eventually realizes the food is released from the hand when it sits and then associates the behaviour with the food. Bingo. Learned.

Vizla puppy participatin in Vicky Austin's luring workshop

Vizla puppy waiting for her turnto demonstrate the luring technique

Example: to food lure the dog into a drop – don’t say the command, let the dog do the action first. If the dog breaks the position make the food hand disappear behind your back and have a 10 sec disassociation time. This time-out is important for the dog to recognize that something was different.

So, let’s stay with the drop as an example. Vicky uses the ‘capital letter L-manouevre’. Take the food treat in the right hand to the dog’s nose and then move it straight down towards the dog’s toes. Slowly move the food slightly out in front, away from the dog forming the base of the letter L. This technique is suitable for luring the dog into a drop position from either a standing or sitting position.

puppy Skiddles being trained

puppy Skiddles being trained

It is also beneficial to use a ‘bridge’ which could either be a clicker or a marker word like ‘yes’ or ‘good’.  The clicker may be a bit awkward for new handlers. The word ‘yes’or ‘good’ is quick and easy. Say it right at the very moment the correct behaviour occurs. You mark the wanted behaviour and make an attempt to reward immediately afterwards. As in Pavlovian conditioning the dog will associate the marker word with the reward and aim to repeat the behaviour to get another reward.

Vicky demonstrating the "Stand" command using the luring technique

Vicky demonstrating the "Stand" command using the luring technique

Learning a behaviour based on food luring may only take a week. Once the dog is capable to repeating the behaviour ten times we can move onto the Training Phase.

In the Training phase we no longer lure with the food treat in hand. Now the food becomes a reward that is offered after the correct response.

(mum asks me to sit and watch, I sit and watch and hey, the food comes!)

Vicky went on to say that commands are NOT optional and that handlers are not meant to repeat the command since dogs usually don’t have hearing problems… hm… I can be pretty deaf at times ; ) especially when I smell or see rabbits!

The puppy must be successful at least 80% of the time – otherwise the dog may lose interest or motivation. Just let go for a while if it is not ready and wait until it wants to pay attention.

gorgeous German Shepherd puppy Skiddles paying good attention

gorgeous German Shepherd puppy Skiddles paying good attention

Plan for success, have the time, patience and good frame of mind.

What if the dog doesn’t like the food lure?

Don’t push it. A reward is not a reward if the dog doesn’t want it.

What kind of lure – food or toy?

Food is easier to handle – most dogs are food motivated.

What food lure does Vicky recommend?

Frankfurts from Aldi (mum uses devon from Woollies, I like that a lot too)

Luring is used during the teaching phase – the dog doesn’t know yet what is expected of him.

In the Training Phase the lure becomes the reward .

In the Proofing Phase the reward becomes variable/intermittent.

Photos: Graham and Pat Robards


Speaker: Vicky Austin from

Thanks for reading,

Love, Boris

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