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by GoneToTheDogs

Tips on Dog Training

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After spending the last few years training my dog in confirmation, agility and generally good behavior these are the most important things I’ve learned for successful dog training.

Use a language that your dog understands.
Use a language that your dog understands.
Start with a competent trainer rather than going at it alone.  It is much easier to start from scratch than it is to start over, so get a pro involved.  Books and TV shows offer some good ideas, but you’ll get best results by attending a class that is offered by a qualified dog trainer.  The trainer will be able to offer suggestions for your dog in particular along with providing general training advice. If classes won’t work for you, you can schedule private training sessions. 

Reward right away.  You will have a much better success rate with your dog training if you praise and reward him immediately after he exhibits the behavior you asked of him. 

Be consistent.  This will earn your dog’s trust and make him easier to train because he will have a clear understanding of the behaviors your want him to exhibit and the behaviors that do not please you.

Less is more.  It is easy to be tempted to extend your training session when your dog is really focused and doing a fantastic job.  This is a great way to insure that both you and your dog burn out.  Training sessions should last between five and ten minutes. You can train up to three times a day but be sure to keep track of time.

Use a language that your dog understands.  Dogs are smart and can easily grasp spoken commands but they naturally rely on visual cues.  You’ll help your dog learn faster and with more confidence if you teach visual signals as commands.

Trust your gut.  If a trainer tells you to do something you don’t feel comfortable doing, ask why the trainer feels the suggested exercise is valuable. Chances are that after the logic behind the exercise is explained, you’re concerns will vanish. If you still feel that the training exercise may frighten or upset your dog after you’ve received more information, politely decline.

Understand your dog.  Each dog breed was designed with a purpose.  While many dogs today are companion animals and do not have jobs persay, the instincts that have been bred into them are very much intact. You’ll do yourself and your dog a huge favor by understanding and respecting his natural drives. 

Keep training.  It is a great bonding exercise and it will ensure that all the hard work that went into training your dog doesn’t go to waste. The more you train your dog the easier it becomes; you may be able to teach your dog things that you wouldn’t have thought possible.

Always end on a positive note.  Even if your training session has been a disaster it is important to end with success.  You may have to revert back to an easy command such as “sit” on some days, but taking the time to build your dog’s confidence by ensuring he succeeds is well worth the effort.