By Linda Cole
The best teachers are those who first figure out what motivates a child, and then help them learn by communicating clearly. Training your dog is basically the same. If you know your dog and understand his point of view, it’s easier to teach him when you’re both on the same page. The following positive dog training tips can help you be more successful.
Reward positive behavior and ignore non-aggressive negative behavior. Dogs are quick to learn what works and what doesn’t, and when it comes to getting attention, even negative feedback is acceptable, from a dog’s point of view. Yelling at your barking dog might stop him for the moment, but it doesn’t change his behavior. If you don’t want him jumping up on you, don’t reward him with attention – ignore him. Teach him what’s acceptable with positive attention, and reinforce his behavior with CANIDAE TidNips™ treats and lots of praise. Dogs learn what you teach them, good and bad.
Remember the high school teacher who gave you positive reinforcement and helped you work through problem areas until you understood? Staying calm, patient and consistent is the respectful way to teach kids and dogs. Yelling and losing your temper isn’t cool and tells your dog you need to work on leadership skills. No one, including dogs, likes to be yelled at.
You have less than 2 seconds for your dog to learn to associate an action with a behavior. When training, treat/praise your dog as soon as he completes a command so he learns to connect his action with your command. With a “sit” command, treat/praise the second his butt hits the floor. Dogs live in the now and you can’t punish him for what he did hours or even minutes ago. If you catch him in the act, however, you have a chance to change his behavior with positive reinforcement.
By Linda Cole
Most dog owners understand why it’s important to make sure their dog knows basic commands like come, sit and stay. Recently, a company in England wanted to find out what dog owners thought about dog training, so they asked 1,000 dog owners in the UK and the U.S. some questions about training their dogs. The company came up with some interesting facts and figures about dog training. Record your own answers and then find out how you stack up with respondents who took the survey.
1. How well trained is your dog compared to someone else’s dog?
c. More than 50%
d. You mean you can train a dog?
2. If you have three or more dogs, how old was your dog before he/she was socialized?
a. My dog is a work in progress.
b. While he/she was still a puppy. I learned from my mistakes with my first puppy.
c. A year or older.
d. Socialize? I’m still trying to get him to stop eating my socks!
3. Which basic command is the most important one for a dog to know?
d. Roll Over
By Linda Cole
Dogs are social beings that patiently sit and watch us and other pets, observing what we do. I never had a problem with my dogs digging up their pen until one of them dug a hole one summer to lie in the cool dirt. When I found the hole, I filled it in to keep the dogs from hurting themselves if they stepped in it while playing. The next day, the hole was back, so I filled it in again. This went on for about a week and then more holes started to appear. My other dogs had learned from the first dog that digging a hole in the shady areas of the pen would give them a cooler place to lie down in.
A door separates my living room from the dining room, and we built an escape window in it so the cats can move between the two rooms and get away from the dogs if needed. One day my dog Keikei was watching the cats jump through the window and I almost fell over laughing when I saw her fly through the opening behind them. I have to admit, I was amazed with her grace and the athletic ability it took for her to actually jump through a small window in a door. Now, I wouldn’t call that bad behavior, but it certainly wasn’t something I wanted or expected her to learn just by watching the cats.
Dogs learn by watching, and if one dog gets away with bad behavior, other dogs in the family may follow their example. To them, it’s not bad if their behavior isn’t corrected. If a dog’s behavior changes, that’s cause for concern because it could be due to a medical issue or behavioral problems like separation anxiety and food aggression. However, a dog that is copying bad behavior is a completely different situation. It’s important to be able to tell the difference between bad behavior and an actual behavioral change.
By Linda Cole
The APDT is an organization made up of professional trainers who are dedicated to educating dog trainers on how they can be better trainers. Most of us who own dogs understand the importance of training them. For those of us who take on the job of teaching our dogs basic commands, a good supply of CANIDAE TidNips™ treats, positive reinforcement and plenty of love can help our dogs learn what we want them to know. Sometimes, however, a dog owner may not have the time or knowhow to teach a dog, and that’s where the Association of Pet Dog Trainers can be of service. If you are looking for a qualified dog trainer, the APDT is a good organization to start your search with.
The Association of Pet Dog Trainers is the brainchild of Ian Dunbar, a well known veterinarian, animal behaviorist, dog trainer and writer. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers was founded in 1993 with a goal of helping dog trainers learn how to do their job better with continual education. If you are a dog trainer, APDT can help you build contacts and improve your dog training business by associating with other professional dog trainers you can network with. They also conduct seminars and conferences where trainers can share ideas and learn from each other. Membership in the organization is worldwide, and their mission statement is: “To represent and advance the dog training profession through education and advocacy.”
By Linda Cole
Clicker training has been rising in popularity over the last several years as a useful tool for dog training. Many professional dog trainers never leave home without their clicker and use it in conjunction with treats and positive reinforcement. It works well for training both dogs and cats, but there is a trick to using a clicker the right way to reinforce the behavior you want to teach. It’s not hard, but it is all in the timing and knowing when to click.
Dog training doesn’t require a lot of time, but it does require commitment. A puppy’s training should begin the minute you bring him home. This way he grows up knowing what you expect from him, and he’s not as likely to develop behavioral problems down the road. An older dog whose training was neglected when they were young and now has behavioral problems can still be taught appropriate behavior using positive reinforcement. A clicker enhances the reinforcement with a quicker response from the person doing the training.
By Linda Cole
Dogs can be as difficult to figure out as humans are, but if we followed the same rule with our dogs as we do with people, we would treat them like we want to be treated. Dogs respond much better to positive reinforcement than they do to force. Training a dog with trust, respect and positive feelings is also much easier for the average dog owner. We should do no harm while interacting with our dogs. We often create unintended behavior by either not training our dogs or by not treating them with respect and understanding. Trust and respect goes two ways, and positive reinforcement will earn both. Gaining a dog’s trust should be as important to us as that of another person.
Most dogs respond to us in the same manner we treat them. Affection, attention, understanding and patience are just as necessary when interacting with dogs as it is with children. We don’t automatically get a child’s or dog’s trust or respect just because we’re bigger than they are. Both have to be earned, and positive reinforcement is the path to that goal.