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5 Tips To Successful Dog Training

by erin. (follow)
Blogger/Writer/Aspiring Millionaire Love of interior design, animals and arts and crafts
1. Leadership



Being your dog's leader is everything.
When you try training in a bad mood, or distracted you can pretty much garauntee that your dog won't respond properly.

Make sure you train in a good mood, have upright leadership type body language and give clear commands and cues.

A little tip I like to use with clients is to take a deep breath before they start and relax their shoulders. It always has a tremendous effect in the way their dog responds to them.

Your dog needs to trust you, if you aren't being a leader, why would it?

2. Routine



Dogs learn in patterns. That's how they know that when you put your make up on, or put on your shoes, you are planning to leave the house. They always pick up on subtle cues.

Having a routine such as getting up at a particular time, a morning walk, breakfast etc for the dog can help them understand what happens throughout the day and what is expected of them.

Walking them in the morning also helps release those happy hormones and sets them up for a more relaxed day while you are not home.

A dog that never knows when you are coming or going, can end up a stressed or anxious dog. Keeping as much routine as possible is very beneficial and can prevent destructive behaviour if the dog knows it only has to wait so long to have its needs met.




3. Motivation



Just because your last dog was motivated by food doesn't mean that your next one will be. Not all dogs are motivated by the same thing and so its important to establish their motivators very early on.

They might be motivated by toys , praise or cuddles.

Some dogs may not always even be motivated by positive reinforcement, some dogs may be motivated on things such as doing the work because they don't want to miss out.

I have a dog that while food is one motivator, her biggest motivator is when I work with my other dog and she feels like she is missing out.

If she isn't working to a acceptable standard, I simply put her in the kitchen to watch me work my other dog through the glass door and when she comes back out she rocks training!

Observe your dog's highest values and work with them.

4. Consistency



The way your dog responds will absolutely depend on the dog and all the other variables such as age, breeds, general personality etc but the rule of thumb for training is to always be consistent.

If you want your dog to walk nicely on a lead you have to walk them daily. While some have no need to pull on a lead and its just part of their personality then lucky you, but majority of dogs need daily reminders of this.

The other part of consistency is that you are giving the dog adequate mental and physical stimulation so that their needs are met, lessons are retained and undesirable behaviours are prevented.

This includes everything from daily routines, socialisation ( think people who go to puppy school and then never bother to go to lengths to socialise their dogs again. ) and quality leadership.

5. Proofing



One of the most common grievances I hear from clients, is that their dogs behave perfectly at home and then as soon as they are anywhere else on or off lead their well trained pooch does their own thing.

The key to preventing this is proofing their desirable behaviours. This means that when you are teaching them something e.g. a sit, you need to train it at home in a familiar environment first, then work on the duration ( making them hold the sit for longer periods of time) and then adding distractions such as other people, dogs, food nearby, toys.

Once the dog can perform the command under distraction in a familiar environment, you then take them somewhere they haven't been and go back to the beginning. Rewarding the sit with you close by, increasing duration and the distance between you and them.

This can take months of training depending on the dog and its important to remember dogs will always learn at the own pace. Remember to reward BEFORE they break so if you know your dog breaks their command at about 10 seconds, reward them at 9 seconds and over time increase . This prevents you rewarding them for the wrong behaviour.
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