The Basics of Training Your Dog

Canine training is the same as for all animals, you communicate to your dog what you want him to do; when the dog has performed as desired, you reward him. You immediately repeat the exercise a few times and review it frequently until the dog’s response to the command is practically automatic. But of course it isn’t quite as simple as it sounds.

In the first place, communications with your dog are limited. Sometimes you can demonstrate the action you want him to perform. Sometimes you have to force or work with him. In certain cases, SIT or COME for example, you can give your dog the appropriate command every time you see that he is about to perform these actions anyway, then praise him. Eventually, he will connect the cause and the effect.

When giving commands, be calm, distinct, brief, patient, and perfectly clear in repeating your commands. Above all, be consistent. If your dog just sits there cocking his ears with a lost look, it is obvious you are not getting your message across and that you need to improve your communications system. Start over again trying to clarify your command, while increasing the will power behind it.

One-word commands are best at first. Later on you can use the key word in a sentence, pronouncing it gradually and not as focused. When your dog has grasped your meaning and performed correctly, and has been rewarded, repeat the performance at once in order to fix it in his memory. Three or four times are sufficient for the first lesson because you don’t want to bore him with it.

You should repeat the lessons again the next day, and thereafter at the beginning of each training session until he has mastered it. You will see that your dog really enjoys showing off what he learned to do. Certain conditions are necessary for successful training. Try to schedule the lessons at the same time and in the same place, one that is a secluded as possible and free from distractions such as passing cars, playing children, and other animals.

The learning process from the dog’s point of view, involves listening attentively and watching you as you give a command, realizing that each sound and gesture signifies something he is being asked to do. Once this sequence has been established in his mind, there is no limit to what he can learn.

Please do not attempt to school a tired dog, or an ailing one, or one that has just eaten. The dog will only become frustrated, irritable, and his only memory of your time together will always be an unpleasant one. You’ll achieve the same results if you are nervous, irritable, or in a bad mood. Give him your time, attention, patience, and love.

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