Expect your dog to break the rules frequently in the beginning. He is not being stubborn or difficult. Dogs have a hard time generalizing, which means that something he learns in the living room will have to be learned all over again in the kitchen and again in the bedroom. It's easy to get frustrated when you feel like he should understand already, but he still doesn't. It helps to have a sense of humor. It can take 30-50 or more perfect repetitions before a dog truly "gets" a command.
Motivational training has its roots in captive animal training, where compulsion and corrections are both difficult and dangerous, and ignoring bad behavior is not problematic as the animal lives under controlled conditions. As a dog training strategy, purely positive training is feasible, but difficult, as it requires time and patience to control the rewards the dog receives for behavior. Some activities such as jumping up or chasing squirrels are intrinsically rewarding, the activity is its own reward, and with some activities the environment may provide reinforcement such as when the response from dog next door encourages barking.[58]
Stay is the second command to teach your dog. When he is in a sitting position, tell him “stay,” then walk a short distance. If he gets up, make him sit again and repeat the process, offering him a reward every time he obeys the command. Move further and further away each time until he stays when you are out of his sight. Be persistent and consistent until he understands the command and is willing to obey. The best hand gesture to use with this command is a flat hand turned upwards with fingers pointed up, held outwards towards the dog.
With Professor Donaldson by your side providing invaluable insights, these step-by-step, field tested training plans will teach you how to become a competent trainer, able to teach any dog—young or old, of any breed or variety—basic obedience, troubleshoot training problems, solve common behavior problems, and more accurately interpret behavior. Once you and your dog have finished this course, you’ll each have a better understanding of and a stronger relationship with your best friend.
The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, APDT, is a professional organization of individual trainers who are committed to becoming better trainers through education. The APDT offers individual pet dog trainers a respected and concerted voice in the dog world. We continue to promote professional trainers in the veterinary profession and to increase public awareness of dog-friendly training techniques.
Laying a solid training foundation will make life with your dog easier and more fun. If you’re not sure where to start, sign up for an in-person obedience class; there’s no better way to train your dog than to practice with an expert IRL. You can also follow any of the helpful links above, and check out our blog archives for additional tips and tricks.
Start with the basics. For most trainers, the “basics” are sit, lie down, stay, and come. Although many owners start with the sit command, consider beginning your training by teaching your pet to come to you. This is perhaps the most useful command when it comes to keeping your dog out of harm’s way, and it’s one of the easiest commands for a dog to master. Simply catch your dog in the act of coming toward you and say the word “come” as you offer him praise. You can also practice this command with a long lead in your backyard or other outdoor space.
I’ve taken several classes with Andrea Arden Dog Training. The instructors are very informed, patient, and experienced. It takes the frustration out of dog training, and with patience, positive reinforcement and fun, the relationship between dog and owner grows. They make it easy. In fact, I doubt I would have a second dog if it wasn’t for Andrea Arden Dog Training. We began in the winter of 2007 and are still going back for more, including the small dog socialization groups. Can’t say enough~ except thank you!
Lindsay says of this study, "Schilder and Van der Borg (2004) have published a report of disturbing findings regarding the short-term and long- term effects of shock used in the context of working dogs that is destined to become a source of significant controversy ... The absence of reduced drive or behavioral suppression with respect to critical activities associated with shock (e.g., bite work) makes one skeptical about the lasting adverse effects the authors claim to document. Although they offer no substantive evidence of trauma or harm to dogs, they provide loads of speculation, anecdotes, insinuations of gender and educational inadequacies, and derogatory comments regarding the motivation and competence of IPO trainers in its place." [64]
Just like children, dogs need to be taught good behavior. Whether you're bringing home a puppy or an adult, you can expect that he will do some things that you don't approve of and maybe have some bad habits. Your dog will need to be taught how you want him to behave. The easiest and most fun way to teach your dog is to take him to "school" (training classes). You both get to meet other people and dogs. You get the benefit of expert knowledge and immediate feedback. Your dog gets socialization. Both of you may even make a new friend there.
Positive reinforcement lets your dog know that you are pleased with him, and he will repeat that behavior the next time. Rewards can consist of food, toys, or petting depending on what your dog responds to best. Once he gets it, reward him with food, toys, or petting only some of the time (but verbally praise him every time). This way he’ll work hard to please you, hoping that he’ll receive a reward.
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