Dog Training Tips
Dog Obedience Tips
- Keep dog training sessions short, e.g. 5 minutes a day, 3 times a day works better than one 15 minute session. End the session while the dog is still interested. Always leave him wanting more!
- Teach ONE thing at a time!
- Your dog will require many repetitions before he begins to understand a new command – usually between 25 and 50. Be patient!
- Incorporate play into your dog's training schedule. To interest a "low drive" dog in play, play with the toy in front of him - show him how much fun you're having! Don't shove it into his mouth; instead, make him take it from you.
- Closely observe your dog’s body language and general behavior while training – look for enthusiastic, animated behavior - intense attention, wagging tail, dog follows you from room to room. If you see fear, boredom or nervousness STOP what you’re doing and re-evaluate.
- Your demeanor must remain calm/assertive at all times. Never show anger during obedience training. The dog should enjoy learning!
- The volume of your voice should be normal, not shouting. You don't want to have to shout commands at the dog to get him to obey.
- For most commands, you should not say the command word more than once. You want the dog to obey the command immediately, not after you repeat yourself over and over.
- Use a verbal “marker” word like “yes” to mark the precise moment of compliance. A marker is a bridge between the behavior and the reward.
- Ignore 99% of the training advice you will receive from well meaning friends, neighbors and relatives.
Leash Training Tips
The key to training a dog to stop pulling and walk calmly by your side is to teach the dog to focus on YOU.
Watch this video of Smoke before and after leash training. In the “before” part, she is not paying attention to the handler. In the “after” she is watching the handler, and she automatically sits whenever the handler stops walking.
Dogs pull on the leash because:
- They are focusing on something other than the handler.
- “Opposition reflex” - we pull, they pull back.
- They have been taught that pulling gets them where they want to go.
- They have never been taught NOT to pull.
Each walk is a training exercise. The former “stroll” down the sidewalk should become a brisk fast-paced walk with full attention on training. Stand erect, walk with purpose and be interesting to the dog.
Remember, it is not necessary for the dog to be in a “competitive obedience heel” position. The rules are simply “stay at my side, pay attention to me, and NO pulling.”
Do not stand over the dog jerking the leash and scolding.
Leash training can be much easier to read about than to accomplish. Some people have tried every gadget and gimmick on the store shelves, and have read books and surfed the web trying to discover the “secret” to train a dog to stop pulling on the leash. But the key is not found in a magic gadget – the key is the technique of the handler.
If your dog is a “determined” puller, you will benefit greatly from our help. Our certified trainers are experts in leash work. You will read in our “success stories” that most dogs stop pulling after only one lesson.
We include leash training as part of all our dog training programs.
Any dog can be trained to walk nicely on the leash!
How Dogs Think
It’s not uncommon to hear owners report that their dogs will only follow commands inside the home, under low distraction, when they are focused on a food treat. But add a distraction like playing outside, or going to the park or vet’s office, and it seems like they can’t hear or can’t remember anything they’ve been taught.
That’s because dogs have 2 separate and distinct brain functions: the limbic system and the cerebral cortex. The limbic system is the center of all of the “doggy drives" like chase, forage, hunt and defend. The cerebral cortex controls more complex thought - let’s call them “doggy decisions.”
These 2 brain functions share an inverse relationship. When one is activated, the other is inhibited. That’s why, for example, an untrained dog will not come back to you when called if he is “busy” chasing a squirrel. A trained dog will stop, turn around and shoot back to you when called, even if he was in mid-chase. His training has taught him to interrupt the “doggy drive” and turn his thought-center back on.
Dog obedience training must be done using a process that works in harmony with these drives, not against them. When trained properly, your dog should follow obedience commands every time, under any distraction. Otherwise, the obedience commands are just parlor tricks and have no practical use.
The Canine Dimensions dog training system was designed for busy, working people who want effective, lasting results. It is a balanced training method, combining modern operant conditioning techniques with traditional and intuitive training methods – all them 100% humane and natural. Dogs trained under this system learn to obey obedience commands every time, even under distraction.