Training your dog can and should start from the minute you bring him home, whether he be a puppy or older, but before you start training consider the following:
1. He does not speak English or indeed any human language and therefore cannot understand you until he has learnt properly what you want.
2. He thinks differently to you – he thinks literally. So if you tell him to ‘get down’ each time he jumps up on you he may well learn that ‘get down’ means to jump up. Dog’s learn by association.
3. He values ‘reward’ differently to you. Some dogs may take punishment as a reward as, to them, any attention is better than no attention at all.
The first lesson your dog needs to learn is his name and to associate it with something nice. Use his name as you are gently handling him, when you have his food bowl in your hand ready to feed him, giving a treat etc. Once this is achieved then training can begin.
One method of training is to use the dog’s name to get his attention, a tasty treat in your hand and to lure him into the required position. The treats should small enough to be easily eaten (not crunchy like biscuits) and of a high value. I find the Leader and Go Native treats pawfect for the occasion and my puppies love them. For example, when you lure him into the sit position tell him ‘sit good boy’ when he sits and give him the treat. This is called ACTIVE TRAINING.
Another method is to label what your dog is doing, if it is a behaviour you want to encourage, at the exact time he is doing it and praise him. This is called PASSIVE TRAINING.
Whether Active training or Passive training be in the habit of action or behaviour first then give the command, until the command results in action or behaviour.
Keep all training sessions short, successful and happy – dogs will normally repeat an action that gets a reaction from you.
In the above article the reference to ‘he’ covers both male and female.
© copyright Julie Holmes Ch.M.I.A.C.E
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Once I understand the challenge you and your dog are facing, I can help you overcome it in a way that suits you and your dog. Every situation and every dog-human partnership is unique.