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The only time you are teaching your dog is when she is making a choice. You must use the correct tool at the time of the choice to truly get the results you want. Praise is the only way to truly teach your dog what you want in a way she is willing to do that thing.
Easy to understand — tough to put into practice
1. Frustration and anger change expectation. When working on a command or lesson, if you give-up on your dog or change the way you are teaching, you have changed your expectation.
e.g. You call your dog to come to you from across the yard. She does not come to you on the first call so you raise your voice and call again. Again, she does not come to you, so you go to her, scold her, grab her by the collar, and walk her into the house.
From the moment you called her the second time, your expectation changed. By going to get her instead of getting her to make the choice to come to you, you have changed your expectation to going to her instead of her coming to you.
2. Structure is rules. Just like there are rules in games there should be rules for your dog. The more consistent you are with the rules, the less your dog will test the boundaries. Create structure and be consistent. It is your dog’s job to test the boundaries. If you find yourself being frustrated because your dog keeps doing the same thing you do not want, over and over; then you have to look at how consistent you are with that behavior.
3. Praise must always be at a much higher level than correction.
4. Have a phrase, or word, that means your dog is finished with the last command you gave. Use this phrase throughout your workout. Usually, the novice trainer will only use this phrase at the end of the entire workout. Sometimes, the novice trainer will only praise their dog once a command is completed. This will create that your dog thinks she is done with the workout entirely and/or that praise is also a release from that command.
5. For every one-time you correct your dog for anything, you must praise her ten times for doing the thing you want in that situation.
6. A dog has truly not learned a command until she has done that command, with no prompting, 1,000 times.
7. Always end a command on a positive note.
8. Always use motivation before correction when there is a choice. When you are using motivation as a tool, your dog is more likely to remember the command and more like to want to do that command.
9. Enjoy the workouts so your dog will enjoy you.
Dog Training Definitions
10. Obedience: The willingness to obey.
11. Praise: Attention for a behavior when your dog has made a choice. In order to teach your dog you must give positive attention when she has made the choice you want her to make. This is the only way you are teaching and training your dog to be obedient.
12. Motivation: Anything positive you use to create that your dog pays attention to you then makes a choice. Anything that is overused as a motivation creates an expectation from your dog.
13. Correction: Anything negative you use to make your dog stop doing what she is doing and pay attention to you. Anything that is overused as a correction creates fear in your dog.
Miscellaneous Dog Training Teachings
14. Control: Control is a funny thing. When I ask people what this means, most times I get answers like ‘making things happen,’ ‘being aware and in power,’ or ‘being the dominant.’ Control is really about confidence. It is about understanding that in any given situation you are confident you can handle that situation. Because when you look at the definitions of control it seems like it means to ‘be over’ or ‘to dominate’. By this definition you are seeing another person as the person in control. You are not looking at yourself. Control is only about you. A dog sees control only about herself. When a dog is continuing to do behaviors you, as an owner, do not want, it is because that dog feels it is in control and can still test the boundaries.
15. Dominance: This is about creating trust. In order for a dog to fully be obedient, it must trust you no matter what. This trust is created by structure and consistency. The more structure you create and the better you are with being consistent, the better your dog will behave. The reason is because if your dog questions your sincerity, she will continue to test you. If she totally trusts that you will behave the same in every situation then there is no reason to test your sincerity. The less structure and consistency you have, the more your dog is willing to test the boundaries. This even applies to the choices your dog will make when you are not around.
16. Body Language: This is the number one way a dog learns from us. Your body language can change the mood, direction, or choice from your dog without you even knowing it. It is also why we use hand signals. Dogs pick up on your body language before they pick up on any other type of communication you use.
17. Voice Tone: This is the second way a dog learns. A dog can pick up on the most subtle changes in your voice that will let her know if you are serious or not.