Some Basic Dog Training Guidelines

Some Basic Guidelines for Training Your Dog…
I) Start training your new dog or puppy as soon as possible. It’s important to remember that teaching first is easier than fixing later. When it comes to raising and training a dog, an ounce of problem prevention is certainly worth a pound of cure!

2) Train your dog gently and humanely, and whenever possible, teach him using positive, motivational methods. Respect and trust are a wonderful foundation for a lifetime of companionship. Keep training sessions short and upbeat so that the training process is enjoyable for all parties involved. Consider your everyday actions an opportunity for a brief, real-life training. Waits at doors – out of the kitchen – sit quietly while I sit beside you with an open book or magazine.

3)How well your dog responds to you at home affects his behavior outdoors as well. If your dog doesn’t respond reliably to requests at home (where distractions are relatively minimal), he most likely will not respond to you properly outdoors where he’s distracted by noises, other dogs, other animals, humans, yummy smells, etc.
Proofing your training by practicing in a variety of settings once you are sure your dog understands what is being requested will help you increase responsiveness from your dog.
4) Avoid requesting behavior that you know you cannot follow up on. Every time you make a request that is ignored or not enforced your dog learns that compliance is optional.

5) One request should equal one response, so give your dog only one request at a time – then gently enforce it. Repeating requests several times tunes your dog out (as does nagging) and teaches your dog that the first several requests are a “bluff ‘. For instance, asking your dog to “Sit, sit, sit, sit!; is neither an efficient nor effective way to have compliance. Does your dog know how to sit on request? Then simply give your dog a single “Sit” request and then wait(this is the hard part!)wait…silently and then praise/reward. If your dog ignores you, say no and walk away.

6) Avoid giving your dog combined requests for behavior that are incompatible. Combined requests such as “sit-down” can confuse your dog. Using this example, say either “sit” or “down”. The behavior “sit-down” simply doesn’t exist.

7) When asking for a behavior, avoid using a loud voice. Even if your dog is especially independent/unresponsive, your tone of voice when asking for a behavior such as “sit”,”down” or “”stay”, should be calm and authoritative, rather than harsh or loud.

NOTE: Many owners complain that their dogs are “stubborn”, and that they “refuse to listen” when given a command. Before blaming the dog when he doesn’t respond to a command, first determine whether or not:
a) the dog knows what the owner wants
b) the dog knows how to complete the request
c) the dog is not simply being unresponsive due to fear, stress or confusion.

8 ) Whenever possible, use your dog’s name positively, rather than using it in conjunction to reprimands, warnings or punishment. Your dog should trust that when it hears its name or is called to you, good things happen. His name should always be a word he responds to with enthusiasm, never hesitancy or fear.

9) Prevent the (mis)behavior, don’t punish the dog. Teaching and communication is what it’s all about, not getting even with your dog. If you’re taking an “it’s-you-against-your dog, whip ’em into shape” approach, you’ll undermine your relationship, while missing out on all the fun that a motivational training approach can offer. Additionally, after-the-fact discipline does NOT work.

10) When training your dog, good timing is essential. Take the following example: You’ve prepared a platter of hors d’oeuvres for a small dinner party, which you’ve left on your kitchen counter. Your dog walks into the room and smells the hors d’oeuvres. He air-sniffs, then eyes the food, and is poised to jump up. This is the best, easiest and most effective time to correct your dog: before he’s misbehaved, while he’s thinking about jumping up to get the food.
Waiting until after an unwanted episode of counter surfing may convince him that you are really upset – but really – the food was a reward for the behavior!

11) Often, dog owners inadvertently reinforce their dogs’ misbehavior, by giving their dogs lots of attention (albeit negative attention) when they misbehave. Needless to say, if your dog receives lots of attention and handling when he jumps up on you, that behavior is being reinforced, and is, therefore, likely to be repeated.

12) Keep a lid on your anger. Never train your dog when you’re feeling grouchy or impatient. Earning your dog’s respect is never accomplished by yelling, hitting, or handling your dog in a harsh manner. Moreover, studies have shown that fear and stress inhibit the learning process.
This information provided by A Family Dog – Karen Schumacher

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