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7 Simple Tips to Training Your Dog

Are you thinking your dog could use some training, but now sure where to begin?

Here are 7 tips to training your dog.

It's really not as complicated as you might think. If you keep these points in mind, you are off to a great beginning with your dog.

1. Start training as soon as you get your dog.

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of having a new dog, especially if it is a puppy! But it's important to create some basic rules of the house, and overall manners right from the beginning.

You might think it's cute have the new dog jump on you, race through the house, or bark at people, but as time goes by, you will not think it's so cute.

2. Be persistent

Simply put, if you put your dog in a sit stay, and it breaks position 9 times, you must return him to the position each time. Don't give in. He'll learn that there is no point in testing you, as you will always return him to the original spot.

Being persistent can be a challenge for some of us as we tend to cave to the persistence of the dog.

3. Be consistent

It's difficult for a dog to create good habits if you are inconsistent. If jumping on people was not okay yesterday, but today you don't seem to care, she has the important question to ask herself.... "Do I feel lucky today?"

She will then try the behavior every day to see if today is a jumping day. Best to be consistent and make every day a non-jumping day.

4. Know what you want

Often times, clients contact me regarding an unwanted behavior from their dog. Lunging at other dogs while on a walk is common, so I'll use that as an example.

The person is confident that they want their dog to stop lunging at other dogs, but they are unable to tell me what behavior they "do" want their dog to exhibit.

This is important to know before you ask your dog to do something different. Think of exchanging one behavior for another. If you could speak to your dog in conversion, it might sound something like this...

"Instead of barking and lunging at dogs we see on our walk, I would like you to sit, or stand, quietly by my side, on a loose leash." 

Since we cannot train a dog using sentences like we can with humans, we must move on to the next steps. 

5. Ignore/correct behavior you don't like

Dogs are so wonderfully simply. They will repeat behavior they get rewarded for. You may think of a reward as some delicious treat that you give them, but remember, dogs are very good at self rewarding too. 

If a dog that jumps on you as you walk in the door, and you begin to give you dog attention by grabbing it's collar and pushing him back onto the ground, your attention may very well be interpreted as positive attention, or, a reward. Therefore, the jumping behavior will certainly be repeated!

However, if you instead walk past the jumping dog, and continue to ignore the dog until he is sitting politely before giving attention and praise, the sitting politely behavior will soon become the habit, because good things come to those who do so.

6. Reward behavior you like

This step is often forgotten. We are pretty good about trying to stop a behavior in our dog that we don't like, but we often overlook opportunity to reward behavior we DO like.

If you are having coffee at an outdoor table at your local coffee shop, and your dog is lying quietly by your side. Don't miss that opportunity to quietly reward your dog. The reward could be as simple as some calmly spoken praise, or a delicious morsel of food given in a calm manner. 

Always look for little windows of opportunity to praise your dog. Most people miss them. For a new dog, there are easily 50 opportunities per day, so keep an eye out for them.

7. Tools can be helpful

There are lots of tools on the market to help train your dog. It is hard to say what might be best for you and your dog, but simple tools that do not harm your dogs, are always my best choice.

This is certainly not a "How to train your dog" post, but I hope you find these tips helpful as you work with your dog each day. 

Comment below the tip you found to be the most helpful.

Cathy

 

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