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Dog Training - Basic Dog Training Principles Part 2

From Gerry Peterson

November 16, 2007

Dear fellow dog lover,

Thanks again for visiting our dog training review site.

In an earlier article, we looked at some of the important dog training principles you need to be aware of .

I thought today we should look at a few more Basic Training Principles.

You can try these at home right away and see how it goes!

Using Your Voice

The way you use your voice tone has a significant amount of impact on your training. Your dog may not necessarily understand the words that you are saying, but he can definitely understand the way in which you are saying them.

Commands should be said in a very meaningful tone—as if what you are saying at that particular moment is the most important thing.

You want to say it with a positive tone so he is interested, but don’t say it too enthusiastically or he might think he is being praised. When he performs the command correctly, then you can praise him lavishly with “good boy” “Good Rover” in a very loving way.

When you need to correct your dog with a “no,” it should be firm and short, but not loudly or angrily.

Consistency is Key

In order for your dog to learn your rules of training, you will need to show consistency.

You will need to enforce your rules consistently, as well as everyone else in the family.

This means that everyone must correct misbehavior and praise positive behavior—and everyone must have the same rules.

For example, if mom and dad correct the dog when he jumps on the sofa, then the kids should also. It will be very confusing if some of the family lets him sit on the sofa and some do not.

All the rules must be very easy for the dog to understand and learn.

You want to set your dog up for achievement, not failure.

Timing is Everything

As important as consistency is in training, so is the timing. Dogs live very much in the present moment.

You must always praise and correct the dog at the time of the action.

For example, if you stumble across an accident that your dog made in the house, it will do him no good if you say “No” to him after the fact. However, if you catch your dog in the act of making an accident, then you can say “No” and direct him to the outside.

The same is true for a positive behavior.

If you ask your dog to “sit” and he does successfully, if you walk to the other side of the house to grab a treat, by the time you get back, he will have forgotten what it was you are rewarding him for.

Rather, he will actually associate the treat with whatever he is doing right at that moment.

Constant Supervision

Because you want to set your dog up for success, you need to keep a close eye on him at all times. Keep him around you so you can look for opportunities to reward him and correct him when he is doing something wrong.

Most likely your dog will follow you around the house, but if he doesn’t you should consider using puppy gates to keep him in a certain area or close the door to the room you are in.

When you make time to supervise and reward your dog for doing a job well done, he will want to be by your side.

Again, your dog wants to please you and he wants your love and attention.

Training an Older Dog versus a Puppy

They say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

But this isn’t necessarily true.

Indeed, an older dog can be more difficult to train, but that shouldn’t deter you from bringing one into your home.

If you have adopted a dog from a shelter, you probably don’t know much about his background. Maybe he was a runaway. Maybe he was too much for the previous dog to handle. Maybe he is disobedient or maybe he is very trainable.

A young puppy is relatively easy to train if you start training him before he has a chance to develop any bad habits.

Training is fun for the pup and he loves being rewarded!

An older dog misbehaves because he hasn’t received proper training.

However, he most likely already understands the meaning of “no” and other basic commands.

The best thing you can do is to begin training as soon as you bring him into your home.

You need to establish that you (or another adult) is the alpha leader, otherwise he will assume the role.

The main difference between training an older dog compared to a puppy is that an older dog may be slower to respond—mentally and physically.

Just like humans, the young are full of energy and the older are a little slower, and perhaps have a few aches and pains!

While a puppy could train for great lengths at a time (as long as the rewards keep coming!) you need to give an older dog more breaks, again—mentally and physically.

You will need to understand the characteristics of the dog’s breed and pay close attention to the older dog’s temperament and body language—even more so than with an ambitious young puppy.

Paying attention to these things will give you clues on what he is thinking.

We will leave it there for now.

For further information on the any dog training and behavior management issue, please see our dog training reviews link for our recommendations.

Dog Training Reviews

Best regards,

Gerry Peterson
Dedicated to helping you have a happy & well trained dog.