Dog Training: The Process

Now that you know what the tools are, let’s talk about the actual process from an overhead view.

Anytime the dog does something I do NOT want them to do, I give them a correction, and then a moment to regain their composure into what I DO want them to do. If I have issued a command, I want them to comply with that command, but if I have not issued a command, I simply want them to behave in an appropriate way.
Keep in mind that appropriate behavior is learned by experience, which takes time, interaction, and exposure to various environments.
I will continue to escalate the correction until the dog has gotten themselves back under control, and is not doing the thing I don’t want them to do.

Anytime the dog does what I DO want them to do, I give them praise, pets, treats, or other motivators, and make sure they know this is the desired behavior. I’ll make a big deal out of it when it’s new stuff, and as they get good at it, that tapers off because the desired behavior becomes the ‘new norm’.
It’s very important that YOU know what the desired, and undesired, behaviors are, so you know when to correct, when to coach, and when to congratulate!

Okay, time to learn some new commands. I like to start with a little exercise, just enough to get the ants out of the pants, but not so much that they’re worn out; I want them sharp and eager!
I start by getting the dogs full attention (name), and then I issue the command while helping them into the position I want them in. So, for ‘sit’, I press a little on their chest, a little more on their butt, and basically put them into ‘sit’ while saying it. Once they get their butt on the ground, I give praise, “Good sit!” and a treat. I’ll repeat this 2-3 times so they get the idea, using a little less pressure each time. As i’m doing this, i’ll monitor how much pressure I need to use to get the dog to comply, and when that pressure continues to drop each time, i’ll simply remove the pressure altogether, and then remove the touch.

Next, i’ll give the command without any touch or guidance at all, and give the dog a few extra seconds to comply. If they even START to comply, I immediately give praise as reassurance that they’re doing what I want them to do, and when they FINISH the command, i’ll give the treat.
I’ll follow this up with 5-10 reps, and with each rep, I give the praise a little later, and withhold the treat a little longer.

As you continue the process, you’ll find that it takes less and less work to get the dog to comply, and they do it correctly, the first time, more and more often. Every single time you have them do something on command is part of maintenance, so the clearer your commands, the sharper your expectations are, and the more readily you correct or praise will all play a part in how well the training starts, and stays!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *