(Or, Are You Training What You Want?)
Your dog only understands praise or correction with the very last act that he/she did prior to the praise or correction.
Let me give you and example:
Your cute, sweet, furry four footed friend for life has discovered the joys of chewing. An added bonus is the fact that your shoes smell like the one he loves the very most! (You!) He runs around the house, shoe in mouth, alternately chewing and running and running more when he senses you are in pursuit. What a fun game! When you finally get him to come to you or he allows you to capture him, guess what the last act that he did was? Stopping or coming to you! What should you do? Scolding him at this point would be connected to that last act. With a smile on your face, tell him good boy and practice training him to “leave it” at another time (and keep your shoes picked- up!).
If you want your dog to repeat what he or she has just done (sit, down, come, drop etc.) make sure you are praising with words, treats and touch. If, on the other hand you’ve had to ask several times for the act, STOP. Do you really want to praise a reluctant and sloppy response? Is that what you want in the future?
Always end things on a good note. If the downs are just not happening quickly and on the first command – switch to something he knows and does well before ending things. Praise him and call it quits for a while.
Remember the golden rule – if something is not working, if the behavior does not improve – STOP – evaluate your method, timing and praise/correction timing.
Karen Schumacher – www.afamilydog.com (208)946 3883