By Karen A. Soukiasian
Well-mannered dogs don’t just happen, but with work you can achieve dog training success.
And remember, training your dog correctly is a labor of love and lots of fun.
Needless to say, the sooner you start, the easier it is. Once a puppy or dog develops inappropriate behaviors, then it becomes hard work!
There are as many methods of dog training, as there are dog trainers. Positive reinforcement, punishment-free training is probably the least stressful and most rewarding for the majority of owners and dogs. It is quite simple. You reward your dog with positive feedback, every time their behavior is appropriate.
Dogs learn by association. They learn appropriate behavior pleases the boss; hence life is good when the boss is happy. It’s win-win! They get what they want…and you get the reward of dog training success: a well-behaved dog.
The 10 essential rules for dog training success are:
1. Set your dog up to succeed. Begin with reasonable, undemanding expectations. This shared experience should be fun, not stressful, for you and your dog.
2. Keep it simple. Use one word commands whenever possible. It is easier for your dog to comprehend one word, than an entire paragraph!
3. Be fair. Don’t expect your dog to read your mind. Make sure they understand what you are expecting of them. Correct them, then demonstrate in another way, what you want them to do.
4. Be firm. Always make your dog follow through on the command you have given, before you release them.
5. Be consistent. Do not bamboozle your pet by varying your commands, especially during the initial training.
6. Be patient. Expect to be repetitive, until they grasp what you are conveying. Dogs learn by repetition and demonstration.
7. Be visual. Demonstrate exactly what you are expecting. Show them in a way they can follow.
8. Be generous with praise. Praise goes a long way. Even dogs love to know they have done a good job! The sooner your dog responds to your command, the more praise they should receive.
9. Keep your expectations in check. Raise the bar slowly. It takes some dogs longer than others to learn particular commands. Be patient. Sooner or later, if you follow the rules, your pet will catch on.
10. Always end every training session on a positive note and with lots of praise and/or reward. Rewards do not always have to be food treats. A short car ride is like Christmas to many dogs. A new or favorite toy is a great reward. A quick game of fetch will be all the reward some dogs will need.
Bottom line: Keep training sessions short and fun! Before you know it, you will achieve dog training success and be the proud owner of a good dog.
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