Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Three good dog training tips

A well trained and well behaved dog is nothing short of impressive. If you've been in a situation where your own dog pretends to be deaf and looks like the worst trained pooch on the block while the neighbors' dogs sit calmly next to their owners, watching the spectacle, you know what I mean.

What do these dog owners know that others don't?

Training is the basis of how your dog will behave both at home in your own yard and amongst other people and distractions. Here are three things easy to overlook that can make a real difference when training.

1. Practice in different environments

Dogs don't generalize well. If you learn something you know that the same thing is true no matter where you go. A dog might not make the same connection, and if you teach your dog a certain command in your living room she might not necessarily understand it in the kitchen.

If you want your dog to react the same way to the same commands everywhere, you have to practice in different locations. Practice in your house, in your yard, at Pet Smart, at the park, on your walk, and everywhere else you go.

2. It's okay to back up a few steps

Work on one part of a skill at a time. For instance, if you want your dog to sit pretty with the front paws up in the air she first needs to know how to sit. If you want your dog to sit and stay you first have to train sitting, then sitting until you say it's okay to move, sitting while you move away, and finally sitting while you move away and there are distractions around her.

If you're practicing something new and feel that you're not making progress, you might need to back up a bit. Or, if you and your dog hasn't done a certain thing for some time, you might need to go back and practice. Refresh your dog's memory by going back to a step you know he or she can perform and do that for a little bit. This will help keep your training sessions fun and positive too.

3. Use good rewards

If you're training at home in your kitchen, dry kibble might be enough to keep your dog's attention. In the park with other people and dogs around, you might need something more interesting. Dogs like smelly, stinky things, and gooey treats, cheese, or a piece of chicken might do the trick.

Is your dog good at listening to you? What is your best training tip?

~ Maria Sadowski ~

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