Building a Relationship with Your Dog – August 4, 2010

Building a relationship starts with spending time with your dog.

The first step is to get to know your dog.  Sit down with your dog and ask it what it to tell you everything it wants.  To retrieve? To protect? To run?  You need to know – every morning when your dog opens its eyes, everything your dog wants to do on a typical day.  Walks, interacting with people, running, playing, going places, being off leash, food.  

A good relationship is knowing what your dog wants, teaching it what you want and trading – there needs to be give and take.  Use creative training.  Dogs are happier with a job.  This provides the foundation for training and a good relationship.

A good relationship is about mutual understanding.  First understand that it is a DOG.  Dominance means having a controlling influence over.  A dog benefits by having an owner who has a controlling influence over it vs. the dog having a controlling influence over the family. But it has to be balanced.  Refer to Say Please Program

A Good Relationship involves:

– Mutual understanding

– Play interaction

– Grooming – 2 types – keep dog healthy and cement bonds

To start the relationship – talk to your dog, tell him about yourself.

You need to spend QUALITY time with your dog – play, interaction, relaxation. 

You need to know:

  • 5 things your dog loves
  • 5 favorite food treats (in order of preference)
  • 5 things your dog likes to play with – with you and by himself.


Use these things to develop your relationship – use these as rewards.  Try to incorporate your dog’s favorite things into training. With a good relationship, you can use yourself as a reward or penalty.

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Important Rules to Know – August 2, 2010

– Focus on what you want your dog to do, not what you don’t want him to do

– Ignore the behavior you don’t want and immediately reward an acceptable alternate behavior, ie, sitting vs. jumping

– Training is all about providing consequences to the dog and all consequences must be immediate

– You have control of your dog’s access to everything he wants in life so ask your dog to sit before giving him anything

– Select the behavior you want to reward – make the dog do his part of the bargain first.

– The more lively your dog gets, the quieter you should get

– Avoid Blocking Signals (ie hand in treat jar)–make sure your dog is focused on you

– You need to help your dog be successful – he has to understand what behavior gets rewarded

– A history of reinforcement is what drives the dog’s behavior so reward the behavior you want repeated

– Rewards must be of high value to your dog.  Use favorites for difficult training

– Fade food rewards – put dog on a random reward schedule and use LIFE rewards – walks, play, belly rubs, etc instead of food over time

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