• Written by Karen Hanka, Owner/Instructor, Eastside Dog Training

Training your dog to become a great family member isn’t as difficult or time consuming as you may think. It simply takes practice, patience, love, a sense of humor and a few ‘golden rules’ . . .

1) Never Repeat Your Commands. Repeating commands impresses upon the dog that he doesn’t have to do what you say, when you say it. Don’t let him ‘choose’ whether or not to comply. Say your command ONCE, and if he doesn’t obey, enforce it, by gently placing him in position (sit, down, etc), or going to get him (come). You may have to physically place him in position (or go get him), several times before he understands, so be patient. Not responding to a command the first time you give it, could cost your dog his life.

2) Be Consistent In Your Training. Don’t allow your dog to do something sometimes, but not at other times. Dogs can’t always discern when those ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ times are and be can become confused and frustrated.

3) Be Specific When Giving Commands. Don’t expect your dog to understand you if you ask him to go sit down other there on your bed by the couch in the other room and be quiet. Be clear, direct and precise and help your dog be guiding him using a food treat as a target, bribe and motivator. Break exercises/commands into small parts and daisy chain those parts together after your dog has learned them individually.

4) Never Miss An Opportunity To Praise Your Dog. We humans have a tendency to ignore good behavior, and respond only to the bad. Instead, when you notice your dog doing something positive, like sitting patiently, lying down quietly or not barking at a passing car, dog or neighbor, say Good Sit! or Good Down! or Good Quiet. Reinforcing good behavior encourages your dog to repeat it.

5) Cute Now, Problem Later. Remember that little annoying behaviors can become Big Problems if not addressed and re-directed or modified, right from the start. Management is the key. It is easier to prevent inappropriate behaviors than it is to correct them.

Dogs enjoy learning just like humans do. Contact a trainer to discover the many activities available for you and your dog. Exercise their body and mind and you’ll have a happy, well-adjusted, and well-behaved pet.


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