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Dog Training - Basic Dog Training Principles

From Gerry Peterson

December 18, 2007

Dear fellow dog lover,

Thanks again for visiting our dog training review site.

I thought today we should look at some Basic Training Principles.

Basic Training Principles

As you may have learned in learned in our other articles, you will need to build a trusting relationship with your dog for your training to be effective.

Your dog craves your love and attention more than anything and this desire is very useful in training.

Our dogs really just want to please us!

All training should be conducted with lots of patience and loads of energy. Your dog should find training fun—he wants to please you! You should never yell or hit your dog.

Always use your dog’s name before giving a command or when praising, never when you are correcting. For example, “Rover, sit. Yes, good boy. Good Rover!”

Below are some other basic training principles you should follow as you begin to train your dog.

Praise and Correction

Your dog will not know whether he is doing something right or wrong unless you tell him. Teach him early that training is about praise and correction.

You should always praise your dog when he does something right—and do it immediately. If you wait longer than three seconds to praise him, he will most likely forget what he is being rewarded for!

A reward is anything that your dog gets excited about, such as treats, petting, praising words, playtime, food, a walk, a car ride, etc.

The training we recommend is behavior-based. Positive behavior is praised and wrong behavior is corrected or ignored.

Each time a behavior is rewarded, he will most likely repeat that same behavior.

Discouraging Negative Behavior

Even if you practice hours upon hours of training with your dog, he will still behave inappropriately on occasion.

Therefore, you need to make him aware when he is behaving badly.

Following are some ways to discourage negative behavior:

  • Correction – This is when you stop a bad behavior and replace it with a correct behavior.
    Let’s say you are walking your dog on a leash and you approach another dog. Your dog tries to jump, so you correct him immediately by saying “no” while simultaneously tugging lightly on the leash. Then you say “heel.” After he heels, praise him. This exercise lets the dog know what he did wrong and what he should do instead.

  • Verbal reprimand – Choose a word that you can say that will indicate to your dog that he should stop whatever it is he is doing. It could be “no,” “hey,” “eh-eh,” “enough,” etc.
    When you use a verbal reprimand, don’t yell it or say it in an angry tone. Instead, just say it in a short and sharp tone that will capture his attention.
    When you see your dog doing something he shouldn’t such as chewing on a plant, say your verbal reprimand word and redirect his behavior to another activity. Once your dog gets used to this command, he will automatically redirect himself to another activity.

  • Ignore him – If your dog is an excessive barker, ignore him! Obviously, you can’t ignore the sound, but you can turn your head away from him, show no reaction, or leave the room.
    If you do this consistently, your dog will come to realize that by barking, he doesn’t gain your attention, but instead he loses it.
    And since your dog craves your attention, he will want to do whatever he can to get it—even if that means no barking!

  • Time out – This is a quick 10 – 20 minute time out in a crate, small room or space, or a tie-down of a short leash attached to a permanent object. If your dog misbehaves and no other types of reprimands work, you can give him a time out.

  • If he is barking during time out, wait until he stops before you let him out. Otherwise, he will bark even longer and louder the next time you give him a time out! It may take several time outs before your dog understands what it means, but once he does, this is a great way to discourage negative behavior.

We will continue this topic in another article for you,

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.