There are a few real keys to dog training, whether you are trying to train your dog to come when called, sit, stop barking or any other behavior. Understanding their importance is critical to achieving rapid results that are long lasting and help develop the bond between you and your dog.
The first is simple; you must win your dogs mind. If you don’t achieve this first then you will be struggling the all the way. When I talk about winning your dogs mind what I really mean is that your dog looks to you for all the decisions. Before you do anything else watch one of the amazing video sites that show you the 5 Golden rules to establishing yourself as the pack leader. If you aren’t putting these in place then you are setting yourself up to fail. Just at the crucial point where you really want your dog to listen they will go and do their own thing. For sure your dog may play ball occasionally or even most of the time, you may even have a dog that is obedient 99% of the time, however if you want a dog who always listens to you and does as you ask then you need to win your dogs mind.
The second key to success is to motivate your dog. It is really important that you discover what it is that your dog enjoys both in terms of exercise and play but also in terms of a reward. If you can make the experience enjoyable then you will both achieve more and look forward to training.
Some dogs love to fetch, others love agility, and other dogs simply love obedience training, or swimming out into water and retrieve. At least to start with find out what your dogs love is and help them develop this, what I am saying is work with your dog. The other point to recognize is to make training enjoyable reward your dog.
The three main rewards are:
Food- anything from a single dry biscuit to a whole piece of sausage!
Affection- pats, cuddles, lots of high verbal praise
Toys- games, throwing a stick or object, chasing your dog etc
Your dog is always going to work harder if you are fair in your training. Even if you do not want to use food you should make sure that you use affection accordingly when your dog does well
If you want to use food rewards then always follow these simple tips:
Always vary food rewards
Do not give food rewards every time
Never let your dog know what the reward is
If your dog doesn’t come first time then do not give them the reward
The third key to achieving perfection is practice! Learning how to encourage behavior that is closer to what you want than the last is the third key to success. Again this is where rewards come in so handy! Motivate and then show your dog what it is that you want and there is no need for any negative training!
One of the best sites that shows you all of this and more is The Online Dog Trainer, put together by top Dog Trainer, Doggy Dan.