Dog Training



Tuesday, October 31, 2006

3 Easy to Use Positive Dog Training Tips that Get Results

By Jason Mann

The following three tips are based on positive reinforcement methods that are proven and time tested to get results.

Let's get started...

Tip #1: Consistency is Critical

Dogs learn through repetition and consistency. If you consistently reinforce a behavior with praise, food or another reward the dog will start to offer the behavior more often as a result.

This also applies to inappropriate behavior like jumping or chewing on your favorite pair of shoes.

Jumping is an attention getting behavior. 99.9% of the time dogs jump to get attention. What happens when your dog jumps on you? You push them off or you pet them or you say, "No!" in a stern voice. In every case you are giving them attention. Either positive (petting) or negative (pushing them off and saying NO!). What kind of attention does not matter to your dog. They are getting attention either way and they are being rewarded.

If you push your dog off of you every time they jump you are consistently rewarding the behavior. As a result your dog will jump more often because they are receiving a reward.

On the flip side of this coin if you praise your dog every time they greet you by sitting your dog will start to greet you by sitting more often. This applies to any behavior you want to teach from lying down to coming when called. If you are consistent they will offer the behavior more often and they will learn what does and does not earn a reward.

Tip #2: Keep Your Emotions Out of the Process

If you have ever seen a dog trainer work you probably have seen what I refer to as the "he won't listen" game. The game is common amongst my dog training clients and it goes like this...

My dog won't listen! I have tried and tried to teach him how to come to me when I call him but he simply won't listen!

At this point I step in and without saying a word I get the dog to come to me eagerly. This is the first time I have ever seen or met this dog and he comes to me like we are old mates. Why?

Because I do not allow any emotion to hinder me. I am not happy, I am not angry, I am not sad, I am not nervous, or afraid. I am neutral and along with a little body language the dog comes to me because he wants to.

If you are mad, sad, overly excited, frustrated or nervous your dog feels this. She reads you like a book and your attitude conveys the message, "stay away" to the dog. She reads this language and avoids you. As a result you become even more frustrated and you start to try even harder to get her to comply making the situation a lose-lose-lose for all involved.

When you start training your dog to do something approach it with a care-free attitude. Patience is the key when teaching your dog to do something. Remain patient and relaxed. Work in small bites and keep the lessons short and to the point. End on a happy successful note and your dog will become more reliable as a result.

Tip #3: Mark successful behaviors with a sound (clicker) or word like "Yes"

In order for your dog to understand they did something right you must mark the successful behavior immediately with a distinct sound or a word. I use a clicker or the word, "yes" to indicate a success.

For example, if you ask your dog to "sit" and he does you want to mark it the moment he does it successfully with a clicker or by saying yes. Then follow that up with a treat, praise, a good scratch behind the ear or whatever your dog finds rewarding.

What you are doing is telling the dog, "Yes, that is exactly what I want. Great job!" but not in so many words.

When you mark a behavior successfully your dog will understand what they did right making the training process much smoother.

By using positive dog training methods you decrease the odds you will make a mistake and hurt the training process and you increase the chances your dog will actually learn something.

For more information about positive dog training try visiting TopDogTrainingSolutions.com for valuable insights into training methods and solving problem behaviors.

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