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Important Training Tips!

Important Rules to Know

  • 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
  • All consequences must be immediate
  • Training is all about providing consequences to the dog.
  • You have control of your dog’s access to everything he wants in life
  • Select the behavior you want to reward – make the dog do his part of the bargain first.
  • Rather than rely on a built in desire to please (fallacy), you need to build a desire to please by exploiting your control of the dog’s environment.
  • 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

Fine-tuning Your Training

  • Provide lots of feedback (praise for good, ‘uh-uh’ for no)
  • Provide prompt feedback and reward for what you want (ie, don’t reward sit when your dog gets up)
  • Raise criteria gradually, one at a time, and keep asking for more
  • Giving prompt/cue only once and wait or help your dog do what you want
  • Make sure your dog knows the behavior before you start using the cue
  • Don’t call your dog to come from a distance if you have no control over making it happen.  Always reward your dog for coming to you
  • Different locations and distractions require training from scratch
  • Don’t give things away ‘for free’ – always ask your dog to ‘say please’ with sit, down, eye contact, wait, etc. for things they want
  • Dogs still need practice
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