By Karen A. Soukiasian
Even as smart as they may be, your dog cannot read your rule book. Your dog depends on you to make learning the rules as simple and clear as possible. They can’t correct dog misbehavior if they don’t know they are doing something wrong.
Rule No. 1 is for you. As the “boss” or “parent,” you make the rules; as well as fairly and calmly enforce them.
One of the most important elements of training your dog is to make all corrections clear and simple. Correct dog misbehavior quickly and effectively so your dog will immediately understand what you expect. They want to please you and they succeed when you effectively train them.
You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you end up repeating a command over and over and over to correct dog misbehavior. When that happens, your dog sees your lips moving, but all they hear is “yak, yak, yak.”
There are three elements to a successful, effective positive reinforcement, punishment-free correction. They are interruption, direction and praise.
All corrections and praise should be done immediately. That is the only way your dog can make the association they have pleased you.
Remember, dogs live in the moment.
Simple three step process
The following is an example of successfully correcting dog misbehavior, if they are chewing an inappropriate object:
- INTERRUPTION: Interrupt the inappropriate behavior. Firmly and calmly say, “NO! GIVE!”
- DIRECTION: Immediately, replace the object with an appropriate chew item. As you are directing your dog to the appropriate item, tell them, “Here is your ____.” Immediately follow that with
- PRAISE: Praise gets your dog’s attention. Be generous with it. You always have it with you, and it doesn’t cost a cent. Through praise, your dog will make the association they have pleased you, and are now chewing the appropriate item. Tell them in an enthused, loving tone of voice, ‘Good girl. Good dog!”
It never hurts to throw in a good under the chin scratch or belly rub! It reinforces how pleased you are with their up-to-the-minute behavior.
Bottom line: Interrupt dog misbehavior immediately and firmly. Give your dog simple and clear directions so he understands what you want him to do. And make your praise loving and sincere. Try it, it really works!
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