Published at Wednesday, 22 May 2019. Dog Training. By Yvonna Beaulieu.
Bring yourself into a training session committed to focusing on your dog to the same extent that you are asking him to focus on you. Avoid training when you are distracted or pre-occupied. This is basic respect and consideration, no more than you would give any good friend! To be attentive to your dog, you don't need to stare at him, but you should be aware of him. An effective trainer is aware, present, and ”in the moment” while training, ready and able to note and reward any and all good responses, as they happen. And if your dog gives a response you weren't hoping for? Instead of drawing attention to it, verbally or otherwise, ignore it and move on! Drawing attention to poor responses often simply cements them in the dog's brain, and makes it more likely that he will offer it again. Focus your energy and attention on behaviors you want to see again. As you practice this approach to working with your dog, you will soon find that your dog will be working to gain your attention by doing those things you like. As your dog's behavior steadily improves, voluntary cooperation increases, your relationship with your dog gets stronger, and you both have more fun training. Kind of hard to find a down-side to that, don't you think?
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.
Any dog that exhibits a bad personality doesn't need the situation compounded with your bad attitude. You need to remain calm and show patience and a positive reinforcement when your dog obeys your command. If you don't allow your impatience, anger or frustration to affect your training approach, you will strengthen his desire to respond to the training in a positive manner. He will be more inclined to listen than to resist your commands.
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