Person-to-person communication is key with trainers, but words matter only so far as they can be translated into action. “Any kind of woo-woo language, about ‘energy,’ ‘packs,’ ‘leadership;’ anything that sounds very non-concrete, where you come away thinking, ‘O.K., but what’s actually going to physically happen with my dog here?’; any attempt to obfuscate — that is a huge red flag,” Ms. Donaldson said.
At first you are going to let the puppy see the food in your hand so that you will have her attention and can use it to guide her into position. As your puppy begins to comply more readily, you can start to hide the food in your hand, but give the command and repeat the motion or signal that she has learned to follow. Soon the puppy will come to expect the treat each time she performs the task. Then, signal and give the command, but when she performs the task, reward only with praise and give the puppy an affectionate pat. Next, you can begin to vary the frequency, giving praise with “good dog” and perhaps patting each time, but giving the food randomly, perhaps every 3 or 4 times. In time, the puppy should respond to either the hand signal or the command.
Taking part in a training class is also a smart way to socialize your dog. Meeting other dogs is as fun for your pet as spending time with other owners is for you. It also gives your dog the opportunity to learn how to interact with other animals in a positive way. Moreover, a weekly class is a smart way to establish a training schedule. If you know you will attend a class each Wednesday evening, for instance, you may be more likely to make time for those daily practice sessions that the trainer assigns as homework.
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Training also makes dogs happy. Studies on the brain show that animals like to have their brains challenged. The mental exercise can be just as rewarding (and exhausting) to your dog as physical exercise. As long as you use positive methods to teach your dog, he will LOVE learning. Training also helps your dog understand that they are supposed to take direction from you.
In the 1950s Blanche Saunders was a staunch advocate of pet-dog training, travelling throughout the U.S. to promote obedience classes. In The Complete Book of Dog Obedience, she said, "Dogs learn by associating their act with a pleasing or displeasing result. They must be disciplined when they do wrong, but they must also be rewarded when they do right." Negative reinforcement procedures played a key part in Saunders' method, primarily the jerking of the choke chain. The mantra taught to students was "Command! Jerk! Praise!" She felt that food should not be an ongoing reward, but that it was acceptable to use "a tidbit now and then to overcome a problem." Saunders perhaps began the shift away from military and police training methods, stressing repeatedly the importance of reinforcement for good behaviour in training—a move toward the positive training methods used today.
” You never know what a dog might try to eat while out on a walk- it might just be a harmless hamburger wrapper, but it also might be rat poison. Show your dog that you have a treat, then enclose it in your fist. Let the dog sniff, lick, and paw at your hand to try to get the treat, but do not open your fist. Finally, when the dog starts to lose interest, say “Leave it!” and give the dog a different treat with your other hand. Repeat, saying “Leave it!” earlier and earlier and giving a treat with the other hand as soon as the dog backs away. Soon you will be able to drop a treat on the floor and say “Leave it!” and the dog will look expectantly at you for a different treat.
Teaching your dog the difference between what is his and what is yours takes a long time to accomplish, but hang in there, he’ll eventually come to know what he can have and what he can’t. It’s important to supply your pet with plenty of toys and chew bones that are his. Giving him his own bed is also a good idea. If he has these things, he’ll be easier to train. Play with him and reinforce the fact that the toys are his by asking him, “is this yours?” Then tell him, this is yours or this is Fido’s (using his name). Having his own toys and chew bones will lessen the odds of him becoming bored and going after your possessions to chew and slobber on.
Get the dog into a sitting position and then draw the treat forward and down, so that as the dog follows the treat with its nose it naturally moves into a lying down position. Follow the same strategy as above by saying “Lie down!” as the dog starts getting into the correct position, giving the treat within five seconds, and praising the dog in a happy voice. If the dog doesn’t understand at first and walks forward towards the treat, cheerfully say “Nope!” and turn your back for a few seconds. Then try again. Keep repeating until the dog is lying down on command like a champ. Repetition is the key.
Providing your dog with at least some training is the best and most loving thing you can do for him. Training your dog ensures that he’s safe and welcome everywhere he goes and that he’s easy to live with. When beginning obedience training, you need to keep in mind a few do’s and don’ts, and you should start with a few basic exercises, including sitting and laying down on command. Training him to respond to the Come and Sit-Stay commands also is extremely helpful.
Every dog needs to learn to walk on a leash. Besides the fact that most areas have leash laws, there will be times when keeping your dog on a leash is for his own safety. Learn how to introduce your dog or puppy to the leash, then teach him how to walk properly on the leash. A loose leash walk teaches your dog not to pull or lunge when on the leash, making the experience more enjoyable for both you and your dog.