When people tell me they can't train their out-of-control dog, I tell them to remember three words in this order: Control, Train, Treat. Let's break this down step by step!
Control: It's very typical for a puppy or any untrained dog to be wild and out of control. It's frustrating to most people when they're trying to train them and the dog is running wild all over the place. This is equivalent to a teacher trying to teach in a classroom full of kids but there are no chairs or desks. Much like the teacher gains more control over her students by having them sit at their desks, the same rule applies for training your dog. The simple solution to this is to leash them up. Done. Now I have 90% more control than I had 10 seconds ago. Now it's time to begin training.
Train: Now we have control and we start the training process. I always train in short but effective sessions. I don't ever want to overwork them and in turn make them hate it. When we train, it's vital to teach the animal the correct technique with each behavior. This can and will confuse them if not done correctly, and very quickly you could find yourself going back a couple steps rather than forward.
Treat: After we've gotten control of our animal and trained them, it's time to treat them. Rewarding our animals is extremely important in the training process. It's also key to reward them right after they do the behavior you have asked. The more demanding the behavior you train, the better the reward should be. Be careful not to reward your dog with treats every time. This could make them food dependent, which causes them to listen only when food is involved. It's important to mix up your reward with food, love, and toys. The toy reward you give should be dependent on your dog's play style. Another added benefit to this approach is the bonding time you will have with your pet.
You'll see me use this same three-step training strategy every week on Lucky Dog. They are the rules I live and train by. I always recommend you consult a qualified trainer. I'd recommend Brandon McMillan, who's been training professionally for 20 years. That's right 2-0. Here, lemme spell that out for you. Twenty Years.
Try them out on your own dog and finally see the results you've been waiting for. Ruff!
For more training tips from Brandon, visit his blog at http://www.canineminded.com/.
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