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Dog Training Tips

Before we actually start puppy training or even thinking about it, it's important that we get ourselves in the right frame of mind. If we do this and know where we are going, we will be much less likely to violate certain training rules that may hinder or prevent us from attaining our goals. Additionally, we want to prevent ourselves from doing anything that may adversely affect the relationship we hope to develop with our puppy. So Rule #1 is

Dog Training Tips

We have had so many people asking us to start a new Dog Training Obedience Class and we will but in the meantime I want to give YOU some Training Tips to be using on your dog.

RULE #1.

Rule #1. Always Be Consistent

The First Rule of general training is Always Be Consistent. There should NO exceptions here if you want the training to go as rapidly and as easily as possible. This relates to your actions and words. From the very start you need to decide exactly what you are trying to teach or control and how you will do it. If you are going to use a certain word or phrase as part of a command or in conjunction with a certain point you are trying to make, ALWAYS say the EXACT same THING in the EXACT same TONE of voice. This is IMPORTANT for ALL members of the HOUSEHOLD or anyone else working with the puppy. EVERYONE that is INVOLVED in the training SHOULD know and USE the SAME EXPRESSIONS. EXAMPLE the Come Command It obviously will not make things go faster if you use the word " COME, " your spouse uses the word " HERE, " and one of the children uses " Yo, Boy." ALL of this simply confuses the dog. Remember, we are trying to train him in our language, we can not expect the puppy to be multilingual at any age. Every time you give a command or are working on a training point, consistently carry it through to completion. If you VERY GENTLY tug or pull on the leash for them to come to you and then become distracted and forget what you are doing. If you start pulling or tugging the puppy/dog but then stop halfway to you, he/she becomes confused. The puppy/dog is suppose to come to you, ALL the way to you. If you do not insure that happens, they may think that it is ok, when given the " COME " command, to only come in part way to you or completely ignore the command. Try to expect the same reaction from the puppy/dog each time. If you use any form of praise or reward for a job well done, be consistent on how well the task in question is completed before the praise or reward is forthcoming. If the puppy/dog has been given the Command to sit, DO NOT praise him if he only bends his rear legs a little bit. People love to praise their dogs and sometimes they are so anxious to do this that he/she is hearing a string of "Good Boys"/ "Good Girls" but he/she has NOT yet completed what they were suppose to. Over time this tells the puppy/dog that they do not have to sit all the way down but rather a slight crouch will do. The puppy/dog will believe that close is good enough. AND IT IS NOT. When you start training your puppy/dog on a particular day, think of the next few minutes as CLASSROOM time. When kids are in school they have classroom time for learning, and recess for playing. The same should occur with your dog/ puppy. When you start a training session, maintain a consistent training attitude for you and your puppy/dog. Think TRAINING and NOT play. Work ONLY on training issues and do them OVER and OVER. Stay in control so it does not become playtime for the puppy/dog. When you are not in a training session, be careful of what you say and do. In the early stages of training, NEVER give a command unless you can control the puppy/dogs actions. This is a part of consistency that many owners overlook. EXAMPLE: you are currently in the process of teaching your puppy/dog the "COME" Command. He/she does not respond every time yet, but is learning what the word means. You in the backyard playing with puppy/dog and children. It is recess, not classroom time. The puppy/dog is off the lead and suddenly takes off after a wild rabbit. DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT even think about saying "COME"! You know the puppy/dog is not going to respond because their mind is on the rabbit and only the rabbit. If you do scream "COME" the dog will be so distracted that they will not hear you. Because if he/she does recognize the command but continues after the rabbit, the puppy/dog had just learned that when you are not in control, they can get away with ignoring what you say. During the training phase, when the pup is doing something, and you are in a position that you are unable to control or restrain them do not say anything. Rather move to the animal and stop or prevent them from what it is they are doing. In my above example you have three correct choices. You can either let them continue the chase or run away from them making a lot of noise like you are just having the best time ever hooting and hollering. GO GET THEM. DO NOT scream " COME ". Along the way you make modifications in your training method but from that point on be consistent. You may find that certain styles of training work better for your dog/puppy. That's okay but do not start switching back and forth. Just because one command is going slow, you should NOT change from method to method, hoping you find the magic formula that speeds up the process. This rarely happens and in the interim, the puppy/dog may become hopelessly confused. I have found that any individual pup/dog regardless of the method used, may have trouble with a certain command but not the others. This probably relates back to some experience in their past.

RULE #2.

Rule #2 Keep Training Sessions Short.

Dogs and especially puppies DO NOT posses long attention spans. Young pups will not spend more then a few minutes chasing an exciting, moving stimulus like a butterfly or bird. They simply lose interest and go on to the next thing. The same is true with training, they burn out quickly and become bored. After that nothing further will be learned. Most trainers including my self suggest you leave training sessions at 10-15 minutes regardless of the age of the animal. This seems to be a good duration for most dogs to tolerate and enjoy. If this window of time is exceeded, the learning process actually starts to go backwards. It's important that the puppy/dog enjoy these sessions. If not they may resent the entire session. If forced to continue training after they have lost interest, their same behavior may spill over into future sessions. Keep their minds occupied and keep it fun. Set up a schedule and stick to it. It's much BETTER to train for 10 minutes a day everyday than 60 minutes once a week. Plan to have your training time revolve around the pups/dog schedule. Don't expect the puppy/dog to be a ball of energy and willing to learn if you try to work on the commands when it would normally be time to nap or eat. PLAN Training sessions when distractions would be at a minimum. If you have young children, it might go better if you trained while they are at school or in some way occupied. There's ways to get in additional training time other than the brief scheduled periods and these extra ones CAN BE VERY IMPORTANT. If your animal is doing something that you are trying to train him to do, use obvious opportunities to reinforce the command. Best case scenario would be when you getting ready to feed the puppy/dog. You've learned that as soon as the animal hears you filling the bowl they automatically come running. As soon as he/she comes running toward you, bend down with the bowl and say " COME. " It is a free, cannot fail training session. EXAMPLE when you trying to train the puppy not to do something. Lets say you trying to keep him from JUMPING ON PEOPLE. You learn that every time you first come home, the puppy/dog rockets through the house and jumps up on your leg. BE PREPARED when he JUMPS UP DO NOT LOOK AT, TOUCH, OR TALK TO HIM/HER and IMMEDIATELY TURN YOUR BACK. Keep your back turned to them even if you have to rotate around to do so. UNTIL they calm completely down. Then in a NORMAL TONE Praise and treat if you can. Some people say to put light pressure on their toes. Then immediately bend down and greet them like you normally do. I suggest the first, and teach the first. Whenever you can control the animal or know what they are going to do, it's a good idea to use these situations as a continuation of your training.



The Third Rule in general training is to stay calm and in control. This is where most people fail in training. By staying calm and in control I am talking about you, not the dog. In training situations you can never lose control or get excited because when you do you may become mad, lose your temper, and do something exceptionally stupid. Training should be enjoyable for you and the dog. If the puppy/dog is not having a good time they will not learn anything. Likewise, if you are out of control or are not enjoying yourself you are not teaching anything. During the training there should be NO distractions for the puppy/dog to contend with. You should guide them through the command so that she does it and is then praised for the successful completion of the task. If you are excited or angry your puppy will pick up on this and NOT be thinking about the task in question. You have to be focused in order for the puppy/dog to concentrate on the training. You will learn that your demeanor during training is directly proportional to the amount the puppy/dog will learn. If you're up for this and enjoy it, the potential is there for the puppy/dog to make good solid headway during the lesson. But if you are down then the pups potential for anything good coming from the session is also way down. Carried to the extreme, if you get mad and lash out or treat the dog/puppy harshly, you have destroyed any good that might have come out of this individual training session. You have also set back the animals understanding of the particular command or act in question and put a black cloud over the relationship between the two of you. When you do something to another person that you should be sorry for, you can sincerely express your regret and apologize if they are a forgiving nature, the act or unkind words are forgotten. Unfortunately, you cannot sit down with your puppy/dog and reason through the stupidity of your act. Whats done is done, you must work long hours to regain the animal's trust. You'll need to take time that should and would have been used for training just becoming their friend again. Some people do better in training if they use a system in which they do not talk to the dog during training. You teach the command without using or putting a verbal command to it. We will go over this method later but if you tend to raise your voice when you sense that you are not in control ( or in the process of losing control), this may be a useful technique to try. Most people talk way to much while training their puppy/dog and for some this becomes a stepping stone to shouting and anger.


Rule #4 Do Not Over Praise In dog training.

Praise for doing something correctly can take a variety of forms. Some prefer to give a treat, others may use the expression "Good- dog," and a third group may only give a single, gentle petting action across the dogs shoulders. They ALL work because they show to the dog that you are pleased or approve of his actions. You said "COME," and the puppy came. You indicated to the dog to sit, and he sat down. The animal did what he was suppose to. Praise is important, but the animal needs only to recognize this as a thank you for a job well done. You communicate to the dog that he did something correctly and you are happy he did. If your form of praise is Always consistent in method and amount. the puppy/dog will understand perfectly. Where many owners err is that they bury their animal in praise. Rather than say a single "Good Dog," they get down on their knee and let out a string of forty "Good Dogs." Instead of a single stroke over the shoulder, they give a full body massage. Instead of a single small piece of a biscuit or treat, the dog is given half a box. ALL of these overdoses do the same thing. They distract the dog from what it has just learned. Too much of a good thing and the animal forgets what the two of you are doing. The command and his response are no longer reinforcing correct behavior. The entire incident may be lost in the past.


Rule # 5. Always End On A Positive Note Every training session should end with praise.

The last thing you ask or command your puppy/dog to do should be completed with the dog-puppy doing it correctly. Someday, when things are not going as well as you would prefer, for the last command, choose something that is easy and cannot fail. When the puppy/dog does it correctly, praise him/her and move someplace else for some recess time or relaxation. Ending a session on a bad note may continue into the next training period. You want the pup to finish one lesson and because of the praise, to look forward to the next session. Always remember to the dog, praise helps fulfill their desire to please you.


Rule # 6. Forget Discipline ( PUNISHMENT )

The most common reason people discipline their dogs is for something the animal did. NOTICE I didn't say "something the animal was doing" I used the past tense. People punish their dogs for something they did in the past. EXAMPLE :: You leave for work come home and find paper torn up in a quad zillion pieces ALL over the house. You did not catch the animal doing it, you only discovered it when you came in. You pick them up scold them and put them in the crate. ANOTHER Your dog gets out runs ALL over the neighborhood and just will not come to you, then they go out of site you continue looking for another hour, finally you find them they are laying behind a bush. so to make them see the err of their ways you punish them. Maybe you used a rolled up news paper and spanked them. Neither of these animals had any idea what the spanking was for. They did not sit there thinking. "Gosh, I wonder what I did lately that deserved punishment?" DOGS DO NOT REASON. Just because they got punished, they do not assume they did something wrong. All they know is that their owners were mad and HIT them. Often punishment that occurs as part of training is brought about because the owner is impatient with the improvement of the dog. Some learn quicker than others. The owner is trying to push the dog/puppy through training too fast. Assuming the puppy/dog should already know the command or action. Be patient remember that with most training you are altering the natural instinctive behavior of the dog/puppy. The BEST punishment for an incorrect reaction in training is a lack of a reward. If they do it right they are praised, if they make a mistake there is NO praise. If praise from you is important, then a lack of it will send a message. PRAISE IS POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT, PUNISHMENT IS A DISTRACTION. There is a GOOD way to communicate with them when they are CURRENTLY misbehaving, and it's NOT going to HURT anybody. In some cases a stern 'NO" is ALL that's required you CATCH them urinating in the house, you say "NO," PICK them UP and CARRY them outside RIGHT THEN. Dogs understand a change in the TONE of your Voice much better than they do most punishment. This day in time when children act up or do something wrong, they must live through a period of "TIME OUT. "It's a new way of saying "GO TO YOUR ROOM" or "STAND IN THE CORNER." The same method CAN BE USED FOR DOGS. If they out of control, barking excessively, or jumping on the furniture, They are given some "TIME OUT." By being placed in a CRATE. A stern "NO" may also be part of the treatment. BUT MAKE SURE YOU CATCH THEM IN THE ACT OF WHATEVER THEY ARE DOING. DO THE CORRECTION RIGHT THEM ;;;;; DO NOT WAIT;; AND GET A SEPARATE CRATE FROM THE ONE THAT IS THEIR SAFE HAVEN THAT THEY SLEEP IN (((((( 2 DIFFERENT CRATES ))))))) Lastly, in place of punishment you can simply choose to ignore them. Dog might bark to get a treat or go outside, if you want them to have neither, consistently ignoring them will probably BREAK the behavior problem. If the barking don't work, and they don't get what they want the barking will probably stop. Most things we want to punish our dogs for indicate a lack of training. Rather than punish them for something you don't want. Train them to do what you would prefer. But before that can be accomplished, a firm "NO," being placed in a crate ( different one, ) or ignored will bring an end to most unacceptable behavior

Now we would ask you to be honest with yourself, and ask can I train my Dog? Do you have 10 Minutes a day? Can you practice over and over until you get it right? Do you have the patience to do these things? IF NOT YOU COULD CRIPPLE THE DOGS PERSONALITY AND SELF CONFIDENCE.


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