We have all seen the dogs in the park or on tv that obediently do amazing things their owner tells them to do. The question often asked is, “Why can’t I get my pup to obey like that?”
Amazingly you can train your canine companion to do incredible things if you follow some simple steps and remain consistent in your training.
That consistency is critical. If there will be other people influencing and training your pup they must be following your training plan. If pup is getting one command from two different people who are expecting two different results, then he will get confused and not know exactly what to do when given the command.
An example is the command down. You may use “down” as the signal for your dog to lay down. If you have a friend or associate who uses down as the command to get pup to stop jumping on people your dog will get confused as to what is expected of him.
It would be better to have a separate command for each action, such as “down” to get pup to lay down and “off” to teach him not to jump on people, furniture or cars. It is important that you and your family member or associate know what the training plan is.
Once everyone is reading from the same “training page,” you should consider what your pup’s motivational hot button is. Some pups want to please their owners so much that praise and affection is their motivational treat. Others are so food driven that small kibble treats will serve as a motivational treat for them.
Training your pup is very similar to a building project. If your were building a storage shed in your yard, you would get some plans that would start with the foundation and take you through completion of the structure. With your dog each action is like that, you start with a foundation and build on that until the action is completed.
For example, if you want to train your dog to follow your signals to find an object that is hidden,
you would begin with the simple steps of him sitting and looking to you for directions. Don’t forget to take it one step at a time and do not move on to the next step until pup understands and obeys each individual step.
When pup obeys, reward him by giving his motivational trigger – praise, treats or a mixture of both. You will see what works best for the pup you have. Don’t punish pup for not doing something you are trying to teach him. He may not even understand what he is supposed to do.
There will be times after pup understands what is expected that he may be defiant and test you. Even this is not an excuse to hit or harm your dog. His punishment should come in the form of withholding his motivational trigger and ignoring him. A low firm “no” will let pup know if he has done something he should not and he will come to respect your leading.
Take small steps, set up your pup for success, and build on that. You will find that you can train your pup to do amazing things. Always be upbeat and make sure you and pup are having fun!