Published at Saturday, May 11th 2019. by Stefania Dujardin in Dog Training.
Communication Begins with Attention. Possibly the most fundamental form of communication is your attention. This is true whether you are teaching some new skill, practicing an old one, or refining an advanced behavior. When you give your attention to something your dog does – through touch, voice, eye contact, smiling, or laughter – you draw attention to the behavior. This tells your dog that you find the behavior worthy of interest. Dogs, being sociable creatures, find most interaction and attention reinforcing. They value it, and will work to get it – and this is not even considering whether or not the dog finds the behavior reinforcing in and of itself. So when training, keep in mind that you don't have to actively reward a behavior to reinforce it.
Take housetraining, for example. The two methods approach the task in significantly different ways. There are a multitude of places a dog could relieve himself inside the house, and they're all unacceptable. If you used aversive training techniques, you'd need to wait for your dog to eliminate somewhere in the house and then correct him when he does. Think about this for a minute. Isn't it unfair to punish your dog before he's had a chance to learn your rules? And, you need to realize that using this method for housetraining can require numerous corrections and a lot of time. Isn't it quicker, easier and more effective to simply show your dog the right place to relieve himself and then reward him when he uses it?
The intermediate training generally lasts up to 10 weeks, and is intended for dogs that are 5 months or older. Some professionals feel it is essential for participating dogs to have completed the basic training course to get the most out of this training, should your dog not be used to the basic training or commands not only will it hold his training back, but it could put him off further training. So it is important that your dog has become accustomed to the basic commands and understands what is expected of him.
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.
When considering training a dog, most owners only give thought to basic dog obedience classes. However in doing so, they ultimately end up limiting what a dog is capable of accomplishing. In addition, basic obedience is the extent of the training offered by many dog trainers. The fact is though, some dog training facilities offer a large variety of dog training classes that teach much more than just dog obedience training. They are looking to provide you as the owner and your dog a much bigger selection. By doing so, knowledge gained from any of these specialty classes will help to bring out the best in your dog and maximize his potential.
Dog training may someday save your dog's life. Am I being a bit melodramatic here? Not so. Envision this scene. A young lady, we'll call Sarah is walking Buster her dog on a nice suburban neighborhood sidewalk. Trees line both sides of the street, cars are parallel parked on both sides as well, and the old twin brick homes all have white porches. Its early morning, not much foot traffic or autos on the road, so Sarah is pretty relaxed and her mind is wandering. Well, where there are trees there are squirrels. And one pops out in front of Sarah and her pooch. Startled, the squirrel makes a bee line for a tree across the street. The dog, also a bit startled by the sudden appearance of the squirrel right in front of him, takes off in hot pursuit. Being relaxed as Sarah is, her grip on the leash is also relaxed. Buster's sudden thrust easily pulls the leash from Sarah's hand and now both squirrel and dog are heading between the parked cars towards the other side of the street.
Toys. Toys can be effective dog training aids and used to redirect a number of behavior issues, such as teething, boredom and anxiety. When choosing toys for your dog, be sure they are safe in size and design. Buy toys at a pet store, as they are specifically made for dogs. Your kids' old stuffed animals and dolls are not great alternatives, as they may contain small buttons, pieces of plastic, or even glass parts you made not be aware of that can pose great danger to your dog. There are a number of dog training aids and methods available. Aside from the obvious benefits of teaching good behavior, dog training aids can make teaching tricks much easier and faster too.
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