Training a dog can be a lot of fun! Training your dog improves the bond you share, and rewards the entire family with a much more enjoyable and well loved pet. Read on for some basic training tips!
Praise is the most important motivation for a dog. Dogs have evolved with a need to serve humans. Praise is how we communicate “a job well done” to a dog. Praise can be given verbally or physically.
Verbal praise should be given IMMEDIATELY after a pet performs correctly. Verbal praise also lets the dog know that the task has been completed.
Reprimand should not be thought of as punishment. Never hit a pet. This can lead to either aggressive or extreme submissive behavior.
The reprimand may start as a verbal “No!” followed by getting the pet to do something that they know well so you can praise them right away. In this way you reinforce the positive behavior and try to get your pet out of a negative behavior.
To effectively communicate to your dog with minimal confusion, follow the 5 C’s:
- Be certain. Know what you want your dog to do, as well as what you don’t want them to do. Don’t confuse them by changing the rules at certain times or with certain people, for example, letting the dog jump on you but not on your guests is a confusing message.
- Be confident. A dog will only follow your lead if they feel you are in charge.
- Be consistent. Always correct your dog in the same way. Consistency and repetition will help them learn which actions are acceptable and which aren’t. Be consistent with how you praise, the commands you use, and what constitutes a successful completion of a command.
- Be calm. Patience is required! Never yell at or hit your dog. Try to only say the dog’s name in a pleasant voice and under good circumstances or they may learn to associate their name with reprimands and might be afraid to come when called.
- Be concerned. Spend at least 15 minutes each day playing with your dog. Don’t encourage a dog’s bad habits by only giving them attention when they misbehave. Some dogs prefer negative attention to none at all.
Tone of Voice
Dogs respond better to tones, than to specific words. Using deep tones usually indicate authority or disapproval. High pitched tones usually indicate praise and happiness.
Dogs communicate to other dogs with body language. Dogs can also read your body language, so try to make sure it matches your tone of voice.
- Never praise a dog until they have earned that praise through a command.
- Always give twice the amount of praise as reprimand (by following a reprimand with a task you know they can do and praising).
- The praise given should match the difficulty of the task, do not give excessive praise for a simple task.
If you have questions or need more training tips or resources, contact us at Chestermere Veterinary Clinic 403-272-3573, or visit us on Facebook!