Push / Drop / Stick

No one wants to spend a month training one simple behaviour, and it’s never ideal to rush through a training plan and miss out on steps, so how can we be more efficient and effective in our training? We need a set of criteria and a plan for each step. 

Jean Donaldson has created the Push Drop Stick Rules which make training a breeze. All you have to do is practice the behaviour in sets of five and base your next move on the success or failure of that five. 

For example, if you are teaching a “sit from stand on verbal cue” you would practice it five times in a row and assess your data. How many times did your dog do it correctly? 

If your dog performed the behaviour correctly 4 or 5 times out of a set of 5, you can PUSH on to the next step in the training plan, making it more challenging for them.

If your dog performed the behaviour correctly 1 or 2 times out of a set of 5, you should DROP back to the last successful step for another set of 5 and reassess the data.

If your dog performed the behaviour correctly 3 times out of a set of 5, you should STICK to this level for another set of 5 and reassess the data. 

This will make your training more effective and efficient. Get into the habit of doing this so that you can avoid spending an eternity on one step or blowing past the important steps and setting your dog up to fail.