Priming your BRIDGE word
What is a bridge word?
What is a bridge word? A bridge word or marker word is a tool used in training that sends a message to the animal letting them know the behavior they just did is exactly what you want. Following the bridge word a reward is given, either a food reinforcer or a tactile one. This is a method that is used in positive reinforcement.
Always keep in mind that timing is everything while using a bridge word. You have about 3 seconds to get the message to the animal. Make sure as soon as the desired behavior is done you bridge. If you use the word too late you may be rewarding for a scratch, turning way, etc not the sit or down you wanted. This will confuse the animal and be frustrating to yourself because the animal may take longer to learn the desired behavior. It may see like a lot at first but don't worry it takes practice when starting to bridge so you and your animal will be learning together which is always fun.
Is your dog well trained
Tools of the trade
- Buckle Collar/harness
- 6ft Leash
- Treat pouch (they may look funny but they are a great way to carry treats you are working with
- Your student!
Follow these steps
How to start:
1) First pick a work. Example: good, yes, ok etc(even introducing the clicker you can follow these easy steps). This will be your bridge for now on.
2) Have the animal in front of you, holding the leash properly.
3) In the leash hand hold at least 5 pea size treats and one in the free hand. This is how you would start all training sessions. It may feel like juggling at first but you will become very fluid once you get the hang of it.
4) Not asking them to do anything for you, say the bridge word and treat.
5) "Good" then treat, "good" then treat... Repeat this 5-10 times a few times a day. They will associate the word you use with the treats very quickly. You will notice them reacting to you when they hear the bridge. Then you know your ready to move on to the next behavior. See? Easy!
Just a note
If the animal is not food motivated:
- I would try to make sure that a session is done before a meal so that they will be hungry and willing to work with treats.
- Make sure the treat is something extra special. Normally the smellier the better, or
- Find something else that will motivate the animal. I have a Yorkie that enjoyed being petted and didn't care for too many treats. So I reserved the scratching at the front of his neck for a reward and it worked great.
- Also if working with small dogs a little peanut butter on a wooden spoon will give you a better reach and all they need is a little lick.
Training a "bridge" word can be used on many different animals. So keep that in mind while you are training. Lots of the same techniques are used for dogs, dolphins, seals, and so on!
Don't forget to keep the sessions short and sweet and always end on a positive note.
Good luck and look for more training tips here on my Hub.
Please see: Training training training: Don't we all need a little focus. It is a great next step during training.
Recap: These are the tip lines again...
1) First pick a work. Example: good, yes, ok etc(even introducing the clicker you can follow these easy steps)
2) Have the animal in front of you
3) Not asking them to do anything for you, say the bridge word and treat
"Good" then treat, "good" then treat... Repeat this 5-10 times a few times a day. They will associate the word you use with treats very quickly. You will notice them reacting when they hear the bridge. Then you know your ready :)
Other great behaviors to work on!
- Walk on loose leash
- Leave it
- Drop it
- Sit pretty
- Ringing bell to go out to potty
Come check back for more!
There are so many things you can do with your K9 or other animal friends!
© 2014 Evelia Veronica Rivera