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Taking charge of dog training - Be the master!

One of the biggest mistakes that dog owners make in training their dog or puppy is to get lazy with expectations and in working with the dog. Often it is easier to just let the behavior slide rather than addressing the problems as they occur. Ultimately this inconsistency will result in teaching the dog that they only need to do what you say when they feel like it, rather than every time you give a command.

Being consistent doesn’t mean that you have to punish your dog, nor does it mean that you have to use punishment methods that are harsh. Generally dogs that are well bonded to their owners only require a gentle correction or a simple “No” and the dog will cease the problematic behavior. Dogs that are punished either by spanking or by being yelled at are far less likely to be well-behaved dogs as they have less of a bond with their owner. Dogs that are treated with kindness, consistency, firmness and love are far more likely to be obedient and compliant pets.

If your training has started to slide or if you are noting that your dog is not consistently following commands try the following suggestions:

· Set reasonable goals for your dog, breaking all commands down into their basic steps and then progressing to more challenging commands. In order for the dog to be able to roll over, for example, he or she must first have mastered the commands of come, sit, down and stay.

· Watch for signs of boredom in your dog or puppy. Not all dogs and puppies enjoy repeating exercises over and over again whereas other dogs thrive on this type of training. Do some research on the breed to find out if it is a repetitive learner or if he or she does best when commands are given a minimum number of times. Generally if the puppy or dog does it correctly the first couple of times in the training but then becomes inattentive or non-compliant they are likely bored with the activity. Try changing the order of the commands, completing the training in a different environment or even teaching new commands.

· Make time for training every day, even with mature dogs. Dogs that don’t have any behavior expectations become less likely to perform when needed, so working a few basic commands every day is important. Try including basic commands in everyday interactions with the dog. For example, when the come to greet you have them sit, shake a paw, or even lie down. Do the same when you are out walking.

· Set a training time. While this may seem a bit artificial if you don’t schedule training time it will often be forgotten. By setting aside five to ten minutes everyday to work specifically with your dog you will notice immediate improvements.

· Provide lots of verbal praise, pets and recognition for appropriate behavior. Give treats randomly and less frequently as the dog begins to respond to praise.

· Last but not least, never give into the dog. It is better to skip a training session than to let the dog get away with poor behavior during the session.

Most trainers agree that one person working with a puppy or dog at a time, at least until they have the commands mastered, avoids confusion for the dog. Once the puppy or dog has learned the commands the trainer can then work with others in the house to help them learn how to work with the dog.

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Sunday, 03 December 2023

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