Posted by: | July 29, 2011

Dog Training… Baby Steps

Dogs aren’t born with the understanding of proper behavior.  Much like children, they have to be taught how to behave properly.  Behavioral issues are the most common reason why some dog owners decide to “give up” on their dogs, and often surrender them to the pound.  With proper training, dogs and humans can live together happily ever after.

Don’t worry, I’m not writing an entire book on how to properly train your dog (Maybe in the future), I just want to give a few tips to help make it easier for you.

When training your dog, the most valuable thing you will need is Patience.  Your dog might take a while to catch on.  They are learning, and sometimes learning can take time.  It’s important that you never become frustrated, angry, short-tempered, etc.  Your negative mood/energy can affect your dog and will most certainly hinder it’s progress.  A very large part of dog training is owner training.  Once the owner is trained, the dog is free to learn.

Along with Patience, the second most important tool you will need is Consistency.  It doesn’t matter if you are potty training your dog, or teaching basic commands.  You MUST be consistent with each exercise in order for your dog to understand what exactly you want them to do.  Keep the commands short in order to avoid confusion.  The commands have to be recognizable to them, so make sure you say them the same way each and every time.  Dogs will be able to learn the word while also associating it with your tone.  Make sure to use the commands Consistently.  It’s best to use 1 or 2 syllables for your commands.  This will help avoid confusion for your dog.  For example, when teaching the command “Come” always use the word “Come.”  Sometimes I hear people say phrases like “get over here.”  That is a perfect example of what you DO NOT want to do.  Remember, CONSISTENCY is key.

Dog Treats as a Reward

Most dogs are motivated by food.  Dog treats work wonderfully when dog training.  I won’t get into the nutrition information (That is for another blog post).  Be aware of the fact that during training, your dog will be consuming many of these small treats.  It’s best to limit their calorie consumption by choosing very small, healthy treats.  For example, my dog LOVES carrots.  They are cheap, nutritious and highly effective.  I simply clean and peel a few carrots at a time, slice them up like potato chips, and use them as her rewards.  I use them daily even though she is fully trained.  Because they make her happy, and that makes me happy.

It doesn’t matter the color, flavor or shape of the treats.  Dogs will love them because they are a reward, a nice job-well-done.  So choose something small, and something that you can give them a decent amount of.

Important Tip:

When you are rewarding your dog with a treat, the timing is extremely important.  Make sure you reward them while they are completing the task in order for them to understand what they are being rewarded for.

Thanks for caring!

Tim Heise
– Certified Pet Care Specialist
Absolute Pet Care, LLC
Scottsdale, AZ


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