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Attrition

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Training Tip #3
Attrition
From Total Retriever Marking with Mike Lardy


Attrition is a training technique whereby you get your dog to comply to your  command by wearing him down. That is, you repeat the command until the dog gets it right, and you prevent the dog from doing the wrong behavior. You don't punish him for the wrong behavior -- you simply prevent him from doing it. For example, suppose your dog goes straight "back" when you give him an "over" command. Using attrition, you would stop him immediately and give the "over" command again. If he went "back" again, you would stop him again.

You might even call him back to his original position and cast him "over" again. You would keep this up until he took your cast. Attrition is the method of choice when you are uncertain if the dog understands your command or if you have a sensitive dog that can only tolerate so much correction. If attrition doesn't get you the desired response, you may have to consider that your dog simply doesn't understand the command ( and you therefore need to back up in our training program) or that you dog is willfully disobeying you (and you may need to use a correction).

What a mistake it would be to give a correction when the dog didn't understand you!!

The art of dog training is to read your dog, analyze the situation, and make the right call. A smart trainer will usually use lots of attrition and simplify the task rather than resort to pressure.