Anyone Can Train Their Dog – January 2013

Anyone Can Train Their Dog

By Art Hess

Before You Start


There are many opinions and methods in the field of Dog Training but there are several points that are irrefutable. These must be indelibly etched in your memory bank before you strike out on your training venture.

You can not be a dog teacher without being a Dog Leader. Dog Leaders set and enforce the rules, regulations, and limitations, at all times 24/7. Don’t ever forget that, “if you are not training your dog, your dog is training you.” Dog Leaders are not Drill Sergeants nor are they kissy face “mummy loves you” types. In the words of the “Whisperer”, they are calmly assertive leaders. Dog Leaders function with Trust and Respect. You cannot mandate Trust and Respect. It must be earned.

Learn to “SPEAK DOG”. Dogs don’t come speaking English, and they don’t read minds. Communicate less with your voice and more with your body (like dogs do), and your dog will understand you better. Never give a command you cannot enforce. Never give a command until you have the dog’s attention. You’ll just get blue in the face, yelling “Come” at the dog when you are looking at his butt. His ears are pointing the other way.

Be positive. Dogs learn much faster and are more reliable if they learn to feel good when they do what you ask. You’ll have a much more well-behaved dog if you learn to use positive reinforcement rather than forcing your dog into a behavior.

There is nothing free in this world. There must always be a reason for the student to perform a task. This is called motivation. With positive motivation the student is willing to perform the task. With negative motivation the student has a reluctance to perform the task.

All people involved in the training process must be consistent with commands, hand signals, and expectation of performance. We must be persistent in our expectations of completion of the task. If we allow the student to stop before completing the task we are simply teaching the student that there is another acceptable method of performance.

Train every day multiple times in short sessions. Avoid long training sessions by scattering training exercises throughout the day. That way you’ll always have time to train your dog, and your dog will learn to listen wherever and whenever you ask.

Don’t keep nagging your dog about what you don’t want him to do. Teach him to do what you want him to do. If your dog consistently does something you don’t like, figure out what you DO want him to do, and teach him to do it, rather than correcting him for doing what’s wrong.


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