A different training tactic: using a place board. It may not be for everyone but it may just be the thing that can really help with your dog's training.
How has your dogs training been progressing? Has it gone very well but there is a couple of things you'd like to improve? or maybe there is one element that you think there is something you could do a bit differently?It could be time to introduce the Placeboard.
The what? How's that going to help? I don't know what I am doing. Hold your horses... keep reading...
What is a Placeboard.
Placeboards’ are a stable raised platform with a non-slip textured top that can be used indoors or outdoors in a range of dog training exercises. It can be used in different aspects of training from everyday to agility and gundog training. They are often used for target training. Target training is common technique used in training animals.
We think it's the best kept secret that needs shouting about. The placeboard that Saffron Pawtique stocks is an eco-friendly edition of the placeboard made by Anglian Dog Works.
The design of the place board helps owners communicate expectations through a few key features:
- The place boards elevated height and contrasting surface make if feel a very different place to be for the dog than the surrounding area during training.
- Being raised off the ground helps dogs spot and target their board from a distance.
- The boards can teach the dog where they need to be in relation to the handler. For example: To teach a dog that recall means come right back to the handler, and avoid a dog that returns but dances just out of reach.
- The texture of the mat on top provides a tactile contrast to the surrounding surface so there will be a noticable difference to the dog in having all four paws in the right place versus the wrong position.
What are the materials?
The tops are made of sturdy OSB board, a more sustainable product especially when compared to plywood. OSB Boards are made from younger, fast-growing trees.
The board is covered in a non-slip mat made from 100% Jute, plant fibre.
The platforms are constructed with treated timber.
How will using a placeboard help?
Through using the placeboard in your training you can teach your dog to target their place board, offer a sit and remain seated until released, no matter the distraction. You can then use place boards in your training as a way to clearly communicate to your dog the desired behaviour in increasingly complex exercises.
It also helps for consistency of rewarding at the right time. Often dogs, especially when using a flat area, will be rewarding for sitting in roughly the correct spot. Using a placeboard creates a visual for seeing if your dog is actually on the right spot - if one leg is off you'll know it's not 100% correct. This helps finesse training.
But I don't know what I'm doing.
That's ok, we all start somewhere. There are some trainers who use placeboards in their training, especially if they have worked with working dogs or gundogs before. You can scout out trainers who may be able to help - everyone has their own knowledge and it's useful to find the best combination that suits you and your dog.
This blog by Jane Ardern BSc (Hons) Dip. CABT, CAP2
Kennel Club Accredited Instructor Scheme Dog Trainer of the Year 2015
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