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4 Dog Training Tips That Work

Jun 24, 2008
There are many, many ways to approach training your dog. You could hire out a professional trainer (expensive...ouch!). You could enroll in a less expensive class (time-consuming...ugh!). Or you could carve out the time from your own busy schedule and do-it-yourself (can you spell commitment?).

I favor doing it yourself for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it's the best way to get to know your little best friend. But if you're doing it yourself, you definitely don't want to waste time or effort, right? So here are 4 time-crunching, zero-wasted-effort dog training tips that will work.

1) Keep Your Sessions Short

Your pup isn't like us. He can't "force" his attention on anything for very long. So you need to capture it quickly and work with it quickly. That means keeping your training sessions short...probably never really more than 10 minutes when you're starting out. You can compensate for the short time by having multiple sessions during the day or evening....think "mini-sessions." Then, when his attention span starts to stretch, you can stretch your sessions out too. Shorter sessions actually make for faster learning.

2) Keep Your Sessions Fun

Think about this for a second. Since both you and your dog have to go through the same training together anyway, why not make it fun?

Look for ways to catch your dog "doing it right" and pile on the praise when he does. That will be fun for him and his reaction will make it fun for you too. Be positive! Smile! Laugh! Set a "fun" tone. Then don't be surprised if both you and your dog start to look forward to your sessions together.

3) Hold Your Sessions In Different Locations

Many dog owners have been successful at getting their dogs to understand and obey them over a large range of commands. Then they see it all fall apart as soon as they go to a new location. It happened to me. I had trained up one of my best buddies to the point where he obeyed me almost perfectly. The problem was, I had only trained him inside my apartment and in a small adjacent side yard. Then the first time we went to the park, WOW, it was like I had a different dog!

You see, I'd been working him out in the same surroundings and when those surrounding changed, he thought the rules had changed too. So I learned my lesson and since that time have tried to train my pets in lots of different locations. After a while they learn that the rules are the same no matter where they are.

4) Make Your Sessions Consistent

It's probably hard to believe, but your dog really wants to know his place in your world...and he's happy for you to define it. You can define it more easily for him if you're consistent.

Don't vary your training too much in the beginning. Work your lessons in the same way, the same order. Train him in the basic fundamental commands until he starts to understand and obey. Once you've established that framework, you can add more commands and a little variety. This will give him a strong comfort level about what you expect from him...and once he knows that, he'll show steady improvement.

Keep in mind that every owner/pet pair is a unique combination. And for training to be successful, they have to find their own unique "rhythm." Using these dog training tips will help you find your rhythm quicker...so you and your pooch can build a strong bond that will last for years.
About the Author
Michael Royce is an amateur dog trainer who has lived with, trained, (and been trained by) more than a dozen great dogs in the last 25 years. He is a regular contributor to several websites and is a co-founder of The-Dog-Zone.net .
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