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Stimulating method

What is the "stimulating method"?

In order to speak about this method we have to travel a little back in time. Where did everything begin? How did it begin? How did he discovered and took as his own this kind of training method. These questions lead to the beginning of Catalin Cornea's career as a dog trainer (see section About me, where you will find all the answers you need). Alma, a young 7 month old female Rottweiler, was the first pedigree dog that I worked with, applied and developed techniques in order to establish a good communication path; I started using first the mechanical method, only leash and collar signals. But using only this method was not enough; more was needed in order to get the dogs attention and why not, its attachment and cooperation. As a result, I started using food as a way to get the dogs interest. I observed that its behavior changed when its feeding instinct was at its peak, the dog became more alert, happy, joyful, attached and opened to learning new tricks just to get food, their reward.

How does it work?

I must say that stimulating the dog is not done only with food, but also with any ways that get you the dogs' attention and interest towards the exercise. This means using a toy, a little satchel, a ball. Any object that get your dogs attention when put in action works. If we have a piece of food in our hand and the dog gets its smell, when we will raise that piece of food above its head the dog will try reaching it. If we throw a ball, we can observe the raising interest of the dog towards that ball.

Method description

I would start by dividing the stimulation method in 5 steps.

First step

Stimulation. Using food or different objects, we awake the interest of the dog, we develop this interest towards what we want to offer him. We teach it that having that interest and showing it provides the dog with what it wants, which is the reward. With this step we also build the trust that the dog has in its handler, or owner. As long as the dog shows full trust we can count on it to cooperate 100%. After the dogs trust in us is built, we can make the next step.

Second step

This step is all about establishing routines with the help of the stimulation factor. By this I mean getting the dog take the position we want using our hand which holds the reward. Might as well call it "luring". Luring the dog with food to make it change position or walk in a certain way. For example: lowering the hand with food toward the ground makes the dog follow it and get in the position "down" or moving the hand with food that makes the dog move toward it. We don't use vocal commands during this step because it might distract the dog. Also, speaking with the dog could get it excited, which is not of help to us.

Third step

At this point we attach verbal suggestions to the commands we give. After the dog gets used to the positions while following food, we establish specific commands for every position already learned. For example: while I raise my hand that has food above the dogs' head which is understood as a sign for "sit", I also use the word "SIT". After the dog takes the required position, I give it the reward.

Fourth step

Introducing leash signals and simulation transfer. In this step they are used simultaneously for a stronger association between them: food, verbal commands and leash signals. In order to induce the reflexes we want the dog to have, we have to continue stimulating it, but gradually and finally totally give up any reward like food or toys. Using both leash signals and hand movements, in time the dog will "see" the leash signals as food "guiding"/"signaling". Therefore the leash is seen as a positive object.

Fifth step

We now use all the ways of stimulating the dog, but one at a time. Not like the first step, when we used them simultaneously, to create a strong positive association, now we use them separated. The verbal command first, then the leash signal and in the end if the dog did what is signaled and told to do, reward it. The purpose of this step is to test the dogs' reaction to every command and to strengthen its reflexes. For example: the leash signal sustains the verbal command, rewards being the positive association to all. The main goal is that the dog should be able to perform only with verbal commands a complete set of exercises and of course, in the end, rewarding its performance.


This method of training must not lack:

  • stimulation (food, toys, etc.)
  • enthusiasm during sessions
  • following through step by step.
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