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3 Easy Tips That Will Make Dog Training Sessions a Success

Jul 6, 2008
There are many dog trainers that claim it isn't necessary to correct your dog. They believe that most bad behaviors can be reversed, simply by the absence of a reward. However, you should know that if they are left unchecked, there may come a time when it will be nearly impossible to correct those bad behaviors.

These are three important rules to help your dog behave well. Like other doggish behaviors, barking can be very self-reinforcing. The dog is receiving positive reinforcement when he hears himself bark. So, it is a true challenge to be able to make the dog stop barking without employing negative reinforcement.

When training a dog, you must utilize both negative and positive reinforcements; there's no way around it.

Here are three simple rules:

1. "No" should not be the only word you use to tell your dog he has done something wrong. If you consider the implications of this, it will make sense to you. Saying the word "NO" whenever the dog does something bad, like peeing under the kitchen table or jumping up on and barking at a strangers is just not effective. The dog cannot comprehend this, because you are using the term "NO" much to broadly. Your dog will hear the word, but be unable to associate with any one specific act. It could mean don't bark, but it could also me don't do a hundred other undesirable things. You can see how this would be confusing to your dog. Instead of using the generic term "NO", try using specific commands that will encourage the behavior you desire. "OFF" is a good command to use when you want your dog to stop jumping on someone. Another helpful command is "QUITE", when you want your dog to stop his relentless barking.

2. The dog's name should be a positive word, so do not use it when punishing the dog or otherwise speaking harshly to it. The dog can tell from the tone of your voice if you are speaking in a positive or negative manner, so if you are using it in a negative tone they may not come when you say it. I can give you an example of how this works from my personal life. My real name is "Anette". But as a child, my mother called me "Mary Jane" when I did something wrong. I associated "Mary Jane" with being in trouble, and when I heard those words I wanted to run the other way and hide. If your dog begins to associate his name with being in trouble, he will run away from you, instead of coming when he's called. You can see where this would be very problematic.

3. Make sure that you have a distinct, and easily differentiated hand signal for each command. If you use just a single signal for a variety of commands, the result will be a very confused dog.

Try to use different words for different behaviors.

Let us see some examples.

* Ready - Look my way
* Sit - Sit
* Stay - Stay where you are
* Down - Lay down
* Come - Come over to me
* Drop - Let go from your mouth
* Ouch - Take your mouth off my hand
* Kennel Up - Go to your kennel

Plan ahead and know what you expect from your dog. Masters need to become more goal oriented and focus on helping their pooch become the best he or she can be. You will both enjoy each other more for it.
About the Author
For more information on this topic and many others related to your dog. Please take my complimentary mini course for you and your dog, at the link below. Annette Masse has been loving and respecting dogs for 25 years. ForTheLoveOfDogZ.com
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