Your dog is always learning. The problem is – how do you get your dog to learn good habits and NOT bad habits? Dogs understand things very differently than us humans, so frequently when you are training your dog (or even when you think you are NOT) you are actually making behavior problems worse!
Many instances can arise when an owner is out of ear shot of the dog but still clearly in his sight. Dogs can even be trained to respond to the position of the owner’s body. For example, the owner might raise his or her arms above his head and lean in one direction or another to direct the stock dog to a particular point in a field.
Focus on your body language when training. Dogs respond much easier to non-verbal cues. Pay attention to how they respond to different actions and facial expressions that you make to learn what affect they have on them. Keep your words short and too the point and reinforce it with bodily actions.
When you are first starting out in training your dog, try to schedule the training sessions to take place at about the same time every day. If you are making the training sessions a positive experience and doing them on a schedule, your dog will start to look forward to the sessions and enjoy them more.
Associate hand gestures with individual commands to help your dog remember what to do. While the command words themselves can be enough of a clue to tell the dog what to do – using a visual cue – provides a way for the dog to remember more easily how to perform.
Not showering your dog with enough positive reinforcement when he does good, will reduce the power you have over him in training. Since dogs love attention, giving them plenty of it, provides him with incentive to listen to you. If all he ever hears from you is what not to do, he is not getting any encouragement, only discouragement, so be sure to reward him with praise often.
When training a dog, it is important not to let the dog ignore a given command. If the owner lets his or her pet disregard a command, the pet will receive inappropriate reinforcement. The dog will start to believe that its owner’s commands are optional. This works against the entire purpose of training a dog.
One tip to keep in mind when training your dog is to ensure that you make it absolutely clear to your dog what it is that your are disciplining it for. This is important to avoid confusion and to teach the dog what is desired and what is undesired behavior. An example of what to avoid is hitting your dog hours past and in a different room from where it shredded your couch.
Try these simple techniques yourself in your next training session with your dog. Try as few or as many of the tips as you want. Once you have practiced and then mastered these strategies with your dog, he will become the well behaved member of society you dreamed he would be.