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How To Add A Cue To A Known Behavior in Positive Reinforcement Dog Training?

Today I have another video by Donna Hill. This is the 4th video by Donna that I have featured in this site.

Here are the 3 previous ones:

Donna specializes in clicker training for dogs. Her video teaches the beginning steps all the way to higher levels of dog training in a fun and positive way for you and your kids.

I would also be publishing more of her informative videos in later posts so stay tuned.

And don’t forget to follow Donna on

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In this video Donna shows us the steps to adding one cue. She also shows when and how to add a second, different cue.

The sequence in adding a second cue is – new cue, old cue and behavior. Then fade the old cue. Both cues will now work to get the behavior. Typical cues used are hand or body signals and verbal cues.

Summary of the video:

In positive reinforcement training the cue is added after the behavior is completely developed, unlike in traditional training.

When you are willing to bet a good chunk of money that your dog will do the behavior if you should start a training session, you are probably ready to add the cue to the behavior.

  • Review the behavior a few times to get the dog warmed up.

First decide what your cue is. Are you going to use a verbal cue such as ‘sit’ or are you going to use a hand cue ( drawing your hand towards your shoulder : watch the video for the hand cue..)

Once you decided that, then you just simply wait for your dog to start offering the behavior and you pair one of those cues just before or just as the dog starts doing the behavior.

Practice that in several different locations and then try it cold. If your dog appears to be able to do the behavior he probably is starting to understand what that cue means.

  • The number of repetitions a dog needs for a cue to become a stimulus to trigger the behavior varies.
  • Some dogs will need many whereas some dogs will catch on more quickly.
  • Start with hand signal first and verbal signals later because dogs tend to be more visually oriented than verbally oriented.

Teaching the 2nd cue for the same behavior:

If your dog is now successful using one of the cues then what you can do is insert the 2nd cue just before the 1st cue and then the dog will do the behavior.

Practice the new cue cold to see if the dog understands.

  • Practice the two cues alternating then unpredictably.

Here’s the video:

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