🐶 Dogs do what works for dogs – While it’s a lovely notion that dogs only want to please their owners, the true reality of it is that dogs do what works to get them what they want. But, don’t despair we can use this to our advantage! We simply have to use what the dog wants as a reward for doing what we want them to do.
🐶 The rewards we use must be rewarding from the dog’s point of view – I’m going to guess that offering your kids a dinner of liver and onions as a reward for cleaning their rooms wouldn’t be very motivating to them. The same goes for our dogs. While some dogs love petting and verbal praise, for most dogs those things just aren’t that motivating. Try to find what your dog loves most and use that as a reward.
🐶 Dogs don’t generalize behaviors well – If you want your dog to perform desired behaviors in certain situations you have to practice in those situations. Once your dog learns to sit at home you then have to practice sit in many locations so your dog learns that a sit is a sit no matter the context. If you want your dog to come when called at the park as well as he does in the backyard, you have to train come when called at the park too!
🐶 If you are a dog owner then you are a dog trainer – Dog are constantly learning. Every interaction we have with our dogs they are learning something. They are learning what they can do, when it’s safe to do it and if they’d do it again. For example, you leave your sandwich on the coffee table while you leave the room. Your dog eats your sandwich while you’re not paying attention. Your dog has just learned that when there is food at nose level and mom or dad leaves the room, its mine!
🐶 Management and training go hand in hand – You can’t have one without the other! When you are not actively training your dog, you must manage the environment so the dog does not practice unwanted behaviors. Does your dog sit at the front window and bark at every person that passes by? Sure, you need to teach him a “quiet” cue, but you must also prevent him from practicing the barking between training sessions by blocking his view.
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