- Training is a gradual process of which the end result is a dog that follows verbal commands. The process involves DOING something when you give a command. Saying commands louder, repeating commands, or sounding angry is NOT doing something.
- Keeping a rope or leash on your dog when you are home and awake is the only way you can be consistent in following through. If you are not directly holding on to the leash outside make sure it is a long line. If you do not have the leash in your hand it is unrealistic to think you are fast enough to catch your dog. Make the line as long as it needs to be.
- Know what your physical follow through is going to be BEFORE you say anything. Already have a strategy in mind. Slow down, think before you speak.
- The 3 step training process* that I teach is very effective when followed properly. Try to understand it and only progress through the steps when your dog is ready.
- Both you and your dog are learning new skills. If your dog is not responding it is most likely that what you are doing is confusing. Ask questions and learn to have self-awareness.
- Learn what skills are necessary. Most people experience a feeling of awkwardness as the get comfortable with the training process. Don’t expect yourself to instantly get it. You need to exercise patience and practice with yourself as well as your dog. Ask questions.
- Think about how training can be used in everyday real situations and use it. Training should be the manners your dog abides by all the time, not some tricks they perform for cookies or when they don’t have a better offer. Practice in a variety of places and situations. Always follow through. If you give a command and you let your dog ignore it, they heard it, they will remember they blew it off, and you are actually training your dog for selective hearing. Commands become reliable from your dog when you become reliable in following through.
- Practice is key. Progress occurs with repetition over time. It takes many repetitions over a long period of time in different situations for you to reasonably expect your dog to really understand what is expected. The expression “Slow and steady wins the race” is especially true when training your dog.
- Be creative. Make training part of play. Stay before chasing a toy. Come to you and play tug. Use training when your dog is distracted on walks, when company comes. Always end training with your dog doing it the right way, even if it takes a little extra time. If you end training with your dog doing it right it will build you and your dog’s confidence and comprehension. When you dog starts to really “get it” they will know it and they will experience the pride you feel. A well-trained dog will increase the bond you have more than you can imagine.