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|Labels & Language|
|How Dogs Learn|
|The Name Game|
|Sit & Sit Stay|
|For Dog Owners|
Why Fade? Lures and prompts are excellent tools for helping dogs to understand what we are attempting to teach them. Luring a dog with food helps them interpret what we are asking them to do. However, the longer you continue to use lures and prompts, after your dog has already learned the new behavior, the more dependent upon them your dog becomes and the more difficult it will be for them to respond to a verbal cue alone. In the case of food lures, you wind up bribing, rather than training your dog.
There are different reasons for the necessity of fading food lures and hand signals, but the most practical reasons for doing so are: you won’t always have food with you and your hands won’t always be free to gesture. Teaching your dog to listen to a verbal cue alone provides more security in a variety of situations.
If possible, food lures should be removed in the first training session of a new command. If the behavior is more complicated or if the dog is young, try removing the food lures by the second or third training session.
When fading the hand signal, if the dog doesn’t do the behavior, help him out by repeating the hand gesture a few more times.
You can also fade the gesture gradually by modifying the amount of movement in your hand signal. For example, if you typically move your whole arm up when signaling your dog to sit, you would gradually decrease the gesture until you are only moving your hand upwards. Once they are reliably providing the behavior, try fading that modified hand signal all together.