Capturing is waiting for our dogs to do something we like and then reinforcing it. When you are with your dog, pay attention to what she is doing. Whenever she does something you like, capture it by clicking as soon as she does it and immediately give a reward. It’s as simple as that! CAPTURING is easy, fun and effective, and uses the basic rule of dog training – reward something you like, and it will happen more often.
Using your clicker or a marker word like “yes” will make it easy for your dog to understand what behavior is being rewarded. Remember the rules to proper clicker use. Whenever you CLICK you must always give a REWARD (the reward may be a treat, a quick game of tug, a walk, or attention – whatever your dog likes!). Also, try to click while your dog is still doing the behavior, not after she has finished.
At first, your dog will be surprised by this new game, but it won’t take her long to figure out that she can get you to click and treat by doing certain things you like. You don’t have to ask your dog to do anything, capturing is all about catching your dog doing something you like. This may include sitting, being quiet, or raising a paw. Capturing is often used to start new tricks. If your dog likes to paw then you can capture that behavior and turn it into a shake or high five.
Here are some behaviors that we try to capture during the Doggy Business LLC play groups:
• Lying down
• Playing politely
• Being calm and quiet
• Paying attention to us (giving us eye contact or turning towards us).
It’s easy to make a list of other behaviors that you’d like to capture at home and then follow up with some quick counts. How often did you capture the behaviors? Are you seeing more of this good behavior? As you and your dog get more comfortable with the technique, it can turn into a fun game that is engaging for you and your dog and also results in better behaviors. Have fun and keep up the good work!