Catja B. Pedersen
Catja B. Pedersen

Curiosity of cues

Dive deep into the 5 steps of adding a cue

course has started
1 March 2023


Previous editions

January 2023

August 2022

And 5 more

Next editions

June 2023

More TBA

The art of making a cue reliable is not the easiest task we have.  


Often, adding the cue is something we do in a rush, as we just want to get the response as fast as we can. Adding the cue, and making sure we have good stimulus control, is absolutely not the sexy side of dog training, and it does not make good videos to show our fellow trainers. Basically, if we do it right, it is kind of a long process and nothing super exiting happens while we do it.  


Unless.. We actually manage to see it for what it is – an investing in that behavior we have used so much time to teach. An investment, that we can get the interest from, as soon as we have taught he cue really well.  


So let´s bring the excitement back to the boring part, that adding a cue often can look like.   Often the dog will take the cue from the reinforcement history, rather than paying attention to what we say, and that ends up with us saying 1 verbal cue, and the dog doing a completely different behavior.   That is absolute normal and it makes perfect sense, as the behavior that has most recently been reinforced, is the the behavior that is most likely to happen again.  


Try cueing spin, spin, spin, sit, spin. It is very likely that the dog will just spin again when you say sit, if you haven’t proofed your cue in every way possible.  


Many learners respond well to certain cues, in certain context, while they then look completely clueless in others.  


A very reliable “sit” cue can be tested to its breaking point, if we suddenly decide to say the cue in another context than usual. Although the response to “sit” is very reliable in front of handler and on the left side, the dog can seem completely confused, if we cue “sit” when it is on our right side, or 10 meters in front of us. Or even worse, behind us!   In this course, we will go through all the steps. From having the behavior offered off cue, to having a perfectly reliable cue, in all the situations we need it. We will work on proofing the cue, so that the dog will know the cue in every context.  


We will dive deep into the 5 steps of adding a cue and making sure, that the cue, and only that specific cue, is what prompts the behavior.   The goal is to make every cue have the effect off green light. We want our learner to respond, the same way we do, when we get to a green light.  


We will discuss:

  • latency,
  • how to structure a cue,
  • how to chose a good cue
  • and most important, when to add the cue!


This course is for you, if you want perfectly reliable cues, and are willing to put in the effort to get it.

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