Published at Tuesday, 21 May 2019. Dog Training. By Garlan Lecoq.
The Body Language of Effective Dog Training. Training your dog is the ultimate expression of leadership: you are taking the initiative to teach, guide, and direct your dog. Your body language, therefore, should reflect your role as teacher and leader, communicating a calm self-confidence and composure. Let's look at the components of non-verbal communication as they affect your dog: Invite learning with your facial expression and demeanor. Your body language begins at the top, with your face. Training should be a positive, pleasant experience for you and your dog. Before you begin, and periodically throughout, consciously relax your facial muscles. Smile gently. Soften your eyes. Take a deep, relaxing breath, and keep breathing! When you are relaxed and happy, you present a safe haven for your dog's attention. (And there is nothing to be tense about, right? This is dog training, not world peace!) A soft eye will invite your dog to seek out your face, whereas a hard stare may intimidate your dog into breaking off eye contact, reducing your ability to communicate clearly.
The first command you should teach is SIT. With a few slight differences, most advice about dog training agree. The easiest way to teach this command is to cause the desired outcome to occur without much effort. For very young puppies, hold their food bowl above and behind their head. Your puppy looks up, loses his balance, and sits. You reinforce by saying the command, SIT, then praise puppy and reward with a treat. Repeat this process during each meal time and with treats until he will SIT on command without a food stimulus. Older dogs have better balance so an extra step may need to be used. Some dog training techniques suggest using a leash with no slack to keep your dog still, then just using a treat held above and behind his head, command SIT. If your dog resists, use your forefinger and thumb to apply pressure just in front of his hip bone or slide your hand over rump and apply pressure as you tuck legs and tail under to cause him to SIT. As always, praise and treat for desired result Every other fundamental command will build on the success of the SIT Command.
Reward training (which is sometimes also called lure training) is a very effective training technique for teaching dogs a number of desired behaviors. And, in addition to being highly effective, reward training is an easy, fun method to use. This particular training technique provides much quicker, more dependable results than methods that rely heavily on scolding, corrections or punishment, and it does it in a way that's much more positive for both you and your dog.
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