May 5, 2010

Top Tips for Training Your Dog

Filed under: training your dog — Dr. Amber Reed @ 12:00 am

Whether you’re training a new puppy or you’re having behavioral problems with an older dog, here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your training sessions.

  • Make Training Enjoyable. You and your dog should be enjoying training time.  Making training a positive experience will enhance the lessons that you’re giving and also ensure that you don’t get bored in the process.
  • Keep Training Sessions Short. For the most part, you should try to keep training sessions to 5 or 10 minutes so that you and your dog can maintain focus.  Also, dogs will be more motivated during shorter training sessions.
  • Reinforcement is the Most Effective. Many dog owners make the mistake of punishing dogs for poor behavior.  In fact, rewards or other forms of reinforcement are much more effective for modifying behavior than punishment.
  • Keep Tasks Simple. Dogs lose motivation as tasks become more difficult so keep your training simple and always try to teach the basic commands like sit, heal, come, and stay.  Similarly, keep commands simple so they’re easier for your dog to understand.  Most dogs will have a lot of difficulty associating complex commands with tasks or even simple commands with complex tasks so simplicity is always the best policy.
  • Use Powerful Rewards. Dogs respond most easily to food and praise so these should be your regular rewards.  Treats are obviously the most effective so they make the best rewards at first.  You can gradually introduce praise as a substitute for treats as the training sessions progress.  Also, when you use food as a reward it is much more effective before your dog has a meal rather than after.  Praise should be delivered in high, melodic tones as these are more pleasing for your dog.
  • Always End Training on a Positive. Never end a training session with a failed response from your dog.  For example, if you are teaching your dog to sit, don’t quit the training session because you’re frustrated.  Instead, you should be patient and end the session by rewarding your dog for success.

Most importantly, remember that training takes time but that all dogs will succeed if you are patient and understanding.

About Dr. Amber Reed

has written 281 posts in this blog.

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