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Certified Trainer's Tips: Teach Manners Early

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

     During the past fourteen years I've made a living training dogs.  I have a full six certifications in Canine Care and am often called a Behavior Specialist.  I've worked in kennels, taught group classes and now teach dogs and owners privately.  Clients over the years allowed me the opportunity to see many problems that dog owners experience.  Surprisingly I found that many owners were experiencing the same difficulties.  Often these problems resulted from mistakes that the owners make with the dogs at an early age.  Without realizing it, we complicate the training process.  If my advise is followed, correct behavior is rewarded and encouraged. 

     Positive reinforcement, repetition  and timing are the three most crucial elements needed to train dogs properly.  I will give a quick review on how they come together to create success and then give some specific tips in teaching manners.  Positive reinforcement is the using of a reward to compel a dog to complete a behavior asked of him.  The reward might be a toy, such as the one you use when you play fetch.  Each time you throw the ball the dog retrieves it.  Why?  It retrieves the ball because it is a reward to him.  The ball is something he wants and by bringing it back to you, it gets thrown again.  Another reinforcement is food.  During a walk a well-trained dog should sit at your left hand side if you stop walking. Why?  During training the dog was conditioned  by giving him  treats and  luring him to sit  at your left side. We practise these behaviors over and over again.  It slowly becomes second nature to the dog as long as the people practise using the same commands and knowing when to give a treat and when not to.  Understanding when to treat or when not to is timing.  Timing is something you learn with time.  It takes experience to get it right, but there are some basic factors.   Once the dog understands what we want and is doing it reliably we need to decrease the amount of treats we give so the dog doesn't know when he  gets a  treat.  This keeps the dog trying to please us and gives him reason to be precise .  If he thinks he will always get a treat he will become lazy and quit trying.  It is quite amazing to see.  Our dogs are a lot smarter than most of us realize.  We only need to understand how they learn and then they are easy to teach.

                                        TIPS TO TEACH FOR GOOD MANNERS

    Many dogs like to escape.  We've all heard of dogs that bolt out of the house at the first opportunity.  This is a fail safe way to make sure your dog never picks up this habit.  It is something to teach a Puppy for the  best results, but it can also be taught to an adult dog and be effective.

                                                          Make your dog sit at all doors.

                                                          Go through doors ahead of the dog

      Two simple rules that will help keep your dog out of trouble.  It's simple, easier than finding out in a year or two that your pet has developed the habit of running out the door as soon as you open it.  It is an added safety net, one that I strongly suggest.

     Many dogs love to jump on people.  Another problem that is easily solved by teaching a behavior early.

                                                         Do not let anyone pet your dog unless it is sitting.

                                                        As soon as it sits, give him a treat to encourage and reinforce the

        If he still tries to jump, step on the leash close to where it attaches to the dog, making it impossible for the dog to jump.  Do not say anything.  In some cases even being reprimanded is a form of reward.  We don't want to give them any attention at all for bad behavior.

    If these tips help you continue to watch for future articles.  I hope to help many people  and many dogs.  We all benefit by having well trained dogs, then they truely are man's best friend.










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