Published at Wednesday, 22 May 2019. Dog Training. By Denys Hebert.
You'll lay the foundation for a very happy home. I think it would be safe to say that obedience training benefits everyone. Dog, dog owner, dog owner's family, neighbors, visitors to the home, strangers and other dogs met on walks and family outings, the dog's vet and her staff, the folks at the boarding facility and the groomers, the mailman. You get the idea. There's just no downside to having a well trained dog. Done properly, the process will be enjoyable and the results will be well worth time and effort expended. A well-behaved, obedient dog is a pleasure to have around. No worries about damage to the home. No need to disrupt daily family living with constant disciplining the dog for behaviors that may be natural to the dog, but very upsetting to the family. No worries about children playing with the dog. No concerns when a visitor stops by the home. Walks are leisurely and a pleasure. No need to take detours should you see another dog approaching. No fretting about a well-meaning child reaching down to pet your dog. Car rides with your dog are uneventful.
Promote cooperation. When you give your dog a verbal cue, your voice, like your body language, should be relaxed and even. Speak in a normal tone. As you give your cue, picture your dog performing the exercise nicely — this confidence will come through in your voice. Avoid tones that are whiny, questioning, or pleading. Trying to train your dog in these ”lost puppy” tones will be an exercise in frustration. They will not gain you acknowledgment, much less respect! Remember, you are a teacher, a coach, a mentor – not a servant. At the other extreme, you don't need to assume a loud, tough-sounding ”command voice”. This is for two reasons. First, aggressive, intimidating tones tend to introduce resistance in more confident dogs, and unthinking subservience in less confident ones. Neither is conducive to learning, cooperation, or teamwork. Second, your dog is perfectly capable of listening and responding when you speak in a normal, pleasant, everyday tone of voice. Assuming you plan to utilize what you've taught your dog in your everyday life, you will be instructing your dogs here and there all day long. So, why in the world teach your dog that you have to play ”drill sergeant” in order to have him do as you ask? It introduces unnecessary stress into training, is not particularly productive, and certainly doesn't reflect a relationship of willing partnership. The fact is, your dog is much more likely to respond calmly, willingly, and thoughtfully if your voice and demeanor are relaxed and conversational. The bottom line: to promote cooperation, teach your dog his cues in a voice that is reasonable, comfortable, and normal for you.
In addition to being effective, reward training provides a much more positive training atmosphere than some other training techniques. Because it's a reward-based method, you reward your dog whenever he does as you ask. Scolding, striking, punishing or correcting your dog for not following your command is never used in reward training. You simply reward and reinforce the actions you do want your dog to perform. This positive reinforcement makes reward training a much more pleasant experience for owners and dogs than punishing him. You do need to be careful to only give your dog treats at the right time during training sessions, however. If the timing of the rewards is unrelated to your dog doing as you ask, he'll get confused about what you want, and he might even start thinking he'll get treats no matter what. So, make sure you only reward your dog for doing something right.
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