Some tips for training your dog

training dog

Some tips for training your dog | Dogalize

A trained dog is a happy dog and a family with a trained dog is a happy family.

I’ve taken all my dogs to classes with Ally Thomas at Southern Tails with great results. Below are some beginning dog training tips from Dr. Ian Dunbar:

Teach Dogs WHAT We Want Them To Do — by using food lures to entice the dog to watch the owner’s hand movements (signals) and then phasing out food lures during the very first training session.

The foodless hand signal is then used as a lure. Since the verbal request predicts the hand signal, the dog eventually responds after the verbal request but before the hand signal; i.e., the dog has learned the meaning of the verbal request. Using food lures makes training lightning fast by accelerating the process of teaching hand signals and verbal cues.

The sequence becomes:

1. Request.

2. Response.

3. Reward.

Teach Dogs To WANT To Do What We Want Them To Do — by phasing out food rewards and replacing them with more powerful, life rewards, interactive games and cued behavior “problems.”

Moreover, as an added bonus, Lure/Reward Training does not require consistency, good timing or super-human computing power. In fact, teaching random length stay-delays when randomizing body position changes is an effective training technique in itself.

Even so, although classical conditioning food rewards should never be phased out, food rewards for teaching manners is only intended as a temporary training tool. And, of course, using the more effective “life rewards” is the real fun part of training. Once the dog is sufficiently motivated, external rewards are no longer necessary because the dog is self-motivated and internally reinforced and the sequence becomes:

1. Request

2. Response.

Insist on Compliance with Instructive Reprimands — once the dog understands the task at hand and has been motivated to want to comply in most circumstances.

The instructive nature of aversive punishment depends almost entirely on split-second timing and consistency. Ill-timed or inconsistent aversive feedback makes it difficult for dogs (and horses, students, employees, spouses and children) to learn anything but a dislike for “training” and the “trainer.”

Even when aversive punishment does work, the result is woefully insufficient. When dogs are non-compliant, or otherwise misbehave, in addition to 1. Inhibiting undesirable behavior, we also want to 2. Get the dog on track as quickly as possible and 3. Inform the dog of the potential danger of non-compliance.

A single spoken word — an instructive reprimand — conveys all three pieces of information, producing high levels of compliance. When dogs err, the key is clear instruction and calm insistence. Thus, the Request now becomes a Warning that signals to the dog that you will follow up and gently insist on compliance:

1. Request/Warning

2. Response

3. Insistence. No shouting, no fear and no pain. It’s all really so very simple.


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