Successful training requires three critical elements. If you are struggling to train your dog, reassess your training plan and ask which of these three elements is lacking.
#1 Motivation. Motivate your dog to WANT to learn. Choose your reinforcement, wisely. Top trainers pull out all the stops. They are likely to use tennis balls or tug toys for dogs with high toy drive. For dogs that are highly food driven they use boiled chicken, liver treats or anything that is moist, meaty and carries a strong aroma. If your dog has low drive and you would like an article about how to build drive, leave a comment below.
#2 Timing. Dogs have a very small window of opportunity where they are pairing cause with effect. Research studies have shown that window to be somewhere between 1 and 1.5 seconds. This means that to be a good trainer, you have to have good timing. When your puppy goes pee in the yard, you should be standing 5 feet away, reinforcement in hand. Waiting to reward the puppy until he comes trotting back into the house will not teach your dog to potty in the yard. In fact, doing this does nothing more than train your dog to walk outside, and walk back in 10 seconds later.
#3 Consistency. Dogs thrive when given routine schedules and clearly defined boundaries. Sit down with your family and come up with a list of house rules for your dog or puppy. These rules are especially important for the first 6-12 months that a dog is in a new home. I'm curious to know which rule you think is most beneficial to raising a dog, leave a comment below.
My Dog House Rules:
Written by Alyssa Lapinel, Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behavior Specialist. Alyssa is the owner and head trainer of Legends Dog Training in San Diego, California.
For more information about customized training for your dog, go to the "contact us" tab atwww.legendsdogtraining.com and fill out the behavior assessment form.
Alyssa Lapinel, CPDT
Certified by the Council for Professional Dog Trainers