Dog Training 101
By Michael Albee
OK, you've spent hours researching the right breed for your family.
You've spent many hours on petfinder.com and visiting shelters and
rescue groups. The result of your efforts is that you have found the
perfect dog. You've had him for a few weeks and you have spent lots
of time bonding with your new best friend. You now have an
amazing bond with him. Now What?
... lets start teaching your dog some basic behaviors and maybe even
a few tricks! But first you need to know a few things.
No matter what the
age, you need to realize that training MUST be fun for you and your
dog. If it's not fun, your dog will shut down and will want nothing
to do with it.
So how do you make it
fun? How do you get your dog interested and keep his interest in
training? EASY, You make training into a game!
Every time he does
something you like, praise him in a happy voice and reward him with
one of his favorite toys or a treat. If he sees that you are happy
he'll go out of his way to make you stay that way.
Here are some other
great tips you can use to keep your dog training fun and keep you
dog interested in it.
Keep your training
sessions short. Young dogs have a very short attention span.
Even adult dogs get bored quickly. Training sessions should be
kept to around 5 minutes.
Multiple sessions daily will help to keep the training fresh in
your dog's mind.
Keep it Friendly.
Use a light happy voice when issuing commands and offering
Use simple and
easily distinguishable words as your commands. One or two word
commands are always best. (Sit, Stay, Lay down, Come, Leave
Work on only one
new command at a time. Trying to teach more than one at a time
could confuse your dog.
Set your dog up to
succeed. If your dog is struggling with a new command, slow
down. Switch away to one that he already knows so that he
doesn't become frustrated. Then go back to the new one after the
success of the known command.
Set a goal for
each training session. Once you have reached that goal, end the
session. Even if it means that the session is only one minute
training session with a 5 -10 minute play time with it's
favorite toy or activity. If your dog knows that training always
ends with playtime, he will look forward to it and be more
likely to do the training correctly so he can get to the
training new behaviors in a quiet setting with no distractions.
This makes it easier for your dog to concentrate.
Use noisy places and distractions
to proof training after they are proficient with the behavior.
Only reward a behavior
when it is done 100% correctly. There is no such thing as
"Close Enough" in dog training. It's either Right, or
Use a High Value
reward or treat. Your dog is more likely to work for a chance to
play with it's favorite toy, a piece of fresh cooked chicken or
meaty smelling treat than it will it's regular dry dog food.
This is another reason you must go thru the "bonding
process" before training begins. You must know what his
likes and dislikes are.
Never show frustration, anger or disappointment when your dog
doesn't get the behavior right away. Instead, try to figure out
a better way to communicate what you want your dog to do.
End every training
session on a positive note. This means that the dog does a trick
or behavior correctly and gets rewarded for it. If you are
training a new trick or behavior, end the session with one he
already knows. This will help build your dog's confidence and
Training is a great
way to continue the bonding process between you and your dog. It
keeps the lines of communication open, and keeps dog and owner
working toward a common goal.