Saturday, 9 May 2009

Essentials of Dog Training


I often get asked what I think are the most important elements in training a dog.

With so many details to consider you may think that this is a very wide ranging question. In fact the answer is quite simple. There are three primary essentials to training a dog and the first is not about the dog, it's about you.

To be successful at dog training you must learn to discipline your self to react correctly with your dog. A typical example is when you are training your dog to come to you and it decides to wander off somewhere else. It is easy to start shouting and to loose your temper especially if you have had a bad day. The problem is that your dog does not understand any of this, it only understands that for some unknown reason, you are yelling in an aggressive manner and it it would be better to stay out of harms way.

The next essential of dog training is to follow a structured programme, taking one exercise at a time and spending a lot of time on that exercise before moving to the next one.

The third essential is repetition. To re-enforce your training message you need to keep repeating it. However, you also need to introduce variety into your dog's training session. If we consider the "come" exercise, although you keep repeating it, some times you will reward your dog with a tit-bit, sometimes with a toy to play with for a while, sometimes you just give your dog a whole lot of fuss and sometimes you do nothing and put your dog straight into the next exercise.

There is a saying amongst professional dog trainers that:
There are no no bad dogs only bad owners.

I will leave you to think about that.

All the best