By Karen A. Soukiasian
Puppies and dogs learn by association. The ABC Rule of dog training makes the learning of what are appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, easier for your dog to make the expected association, thereby displaying the appropriate behavior.
We all want happy, well-mannered dogs. The best way to achieve that is to keep things simple.
The Always Be Consistent (ABC) Rule applies to each family member living and working with your pet, as well as everyone who comes in contact with them. That is why we believe before you undertake the repetitive task of training your puppy or dog; everyone must understand you practice The ABC Rule. Explain to them, you are doing this in order to make training easier and therefore a more successful way for your puppy or dog to comprehend.
It isn’t hard for you to understand why inconsistency leads to disappointment and frustration. But, put yourself in your dog’s place! If everyone in the house is not consistent with the rules, your puppy or dog’s failure to comprehend is not their fault! By being sent mixed messages, your pet will never be able to make the appropriate expected association. Their misbehavior is due to confusion, not their failure to comprehend or comply.
The Four Most Common Inconsistencies
The four most common examples of our inconsistencies that confuse our puppy or dog are:
Walking – Teaching your puppy or dog to properly walk on leash, yet allowing them to walk in front of you or to pull you when on leash is sending a mixed message. Be consistent; keep them at your side. Reward them with calm praise, when their behavior is appropriate.
Furniture – The second most common example is the decree of being allowed or not allowed on the furniture. If the agreed rule is, the dog is not allowed on the furniture, and one person “allows” it… how is your puppy or dog to know what is the appropriate behavior? They can’t justify their inappropriate behavior by saying “Why not? ____ lets me do it.”
Jumping – No jumping on people is another behavior frequently not grasped because of our inconsistency. If you don’t want your puppy or dog to jump on you or your guests, you must be consistent! Jumping a natural way to demand attention and demonstrate how happy they are to see you. Everyone must be consistent and not allow it, so your puppy or dog learns it is an inappropriate behavior. Ignore them until they calm down or train them to sit for attention, acknowledgement and affection. That is the only way they will make the association to be acknowledged, as well as receive human attention and affection, means they must be calm, and with all four feet on the floor!
Begging – All it takes is one person to feed your pet from the table! Your dog associates when people are at the table, all I have to do is look pathetic or be persistent and I’ll get a freebie! If you don’t want begging, be consistent and never consent to anyone feeding from the table!
Bottom line: The ABC Rule makes training easier for yourself and your pet. By being fair, firm and consistent, your puppy or dog will quickly and with less confusion, learn the appropriate behaviors you expect. Sit down with your family, and decide on the rules. Make it clear for the dog’s sake; it is everyone’s responsibility to be consistent. Let’s face it; we all want our dog to be the happiest and most well-mannered darn dog on the planet!
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