Monday, October 24, 2011

Training Tips

Training is an important for you and your dog. Manners and good behaviour are essential as our dogs are exposed to people and other animals.

We are responsible for our dog's behaviour, so the more respect you earn from your dog, the better.

An important part of successful training is consistency and repetition.

Here are some other tips to make training fun and successful.


  • Always begin and end training on a positive note
  • If it's not happening for whatever reason, stop and do something fun (then wait and try again)
  • Keep training sessions short
  • Set your dog up for success (don't ask your dog to sit stay for 5 minutes right away, start with 5 seconds and work up from there)
  • Reward good behaviour with affection, play time or treats (be careful not to overdo it with the treats)
  • Never yell at your dog, it does not earn respect but can instill fear in your dog which you don't want 
  • Interrupting a bad behaviour is easier than correcting one
  • If you need to use a correction, make sure you have the right timing and intensity

Change up your rewards.  Notice what motivates your dog. Many dogs like affection, a pat on the back, a certain encouraging tone, a ball, play time just as much as food. 


  • Use body language as much as you can.
  • Avoid repeating commands over and over (if your dog doesn't respond the first time, calmly go to him and show him what you want)
  • Watch your dog's body language for signs of stress or anxiety (such as excessive panting, licking lips, tucked tail)
  • Always lead or guide your dog, don't push him*

* If you want your dog to jump up on a rock, lead him to it and guide the leash up to show him what you want. Do not hesitate or your dog will also.

Puppy Training

Not many things cuter than a puppy's face. But don't let that cute puppy face deter you from providing proper leadership and guidance. Puppy training involves commitment, consistency, love and patience. A lot of patience! You have been given a clean slate and the opportunity to mold your puppy's behaviour. Take this opportunity seriously and you won't regret it. Always keep the following in mind when training your puppy. It is always better to reward good behavior than punish bad behavior.

Trick Training

Teaching your dog tricks is a great way to stimulate his mind. And it's valuable bonding time between you and your dog. Once you have the basics down, it's natural to want to expand your dog's knowledge. There are many books and online resources for trick training. Remember to always start with simple tricks before working up to the more difficult ones. A good one to start with is how to teach a dog to roll over.

Training Tools

So many tools, so little time! There are countless training tools available and no less opinions on which ones are the best to use. At the end of the day you have to feel good about the tools you are using. If you don't your dog will know and will not respond the way you want.

When introducing a new tool, let your dog smell it and get used to it before you use it. Just as you must feel good about the tools you use, so should your dog.

Remember tools are there to help and aid you, but a dog who truly respects you as his leader will require no tools at all.

Everyday life training

As well as your scheduled training time, you can incorporate the basic commands into your everyday life.

  • have your dog sit periodically during your walk
  • ask your dog to sit/stay while waiting for the dinner bowl
  • practice patience training (working up to a longer sit and stay)
  • have your dog lie in his bed during dinner time

Training Methods

There are many training methods out there. Don't assume you have to be loyal to one method. Do what works for you and your dog. Sometimes you have to be creative and try different things to get your dog to respond. And if you have more than one dog, the method of training you use for one may not work for the other.

Be careful if you are using treats to train your dog. Certainly food can be a good motivator for most dogs, but make sure you don't overdo it. The last thing you want is a dog that won't listen to you unless you have a treat for him.

Remember teaching your dog new things can and should be fun. Happy training!

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