Anyone Can Train Their Dog – October 2015

Anyone Can Train Their Dog

By Art Hess

Basic Essentials for Successful Dog Training


dog cartoonSet you and your dog up for success. Train in a familiar and friendly environment. No distractions. No noise, cell phones, TV, and especially no other pets or children. When the dog masters the current task in this environment you will gradually change spaces and slowly introduce minor distractions. When you introduce a new exercise you go back to basics always setting yourself up to succeed.

You must always have the dog’s attention before you ask him to do something. So before you give a command or more specifically before you give a directive you say the dog’s name. This is why our first task is to teach the dog his name. Until you have his attention and focus there is no sense giving a command or directive.

There must always be a reason for the dog to perform a task. This is called motivation. When we want the dog to do something we use a food treat or a toy. We start with food because it is the strongest motivator. This is positive motivation. With positive motivation the dog willingly performs the task and is anxious to repeat the task. If we want the dog to not do something or to stop doing something, we use negative motivation. For example we will take away something the dog wants. With negative motivation the dog does not willingly want to repeat the task.

We determine specifically and exactly what it is we want to teach and we break it into the smallest teachable and learnable part. Using our treat we lure the dog into the desired position or through the desired action. When he is in the desired position we mark the performance with either a single word (such as “yes”) or with a Clicker. The marker (word or click) simply tells the dog “you have done what I want you to do.” After we mark the performance we open our hand and offer the reward.

The entire sequence then becomes, get the attention, lure through the desired action, mark the performance, reward. The most successful method is to repeat this action six or seven times and rest, and repeat this process several times a day.       


(Re Cartoon, …”I wish I had said that.”)


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