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Best Dog Obedience Training Tip

What is the best dog obedience training tip? Training can be frustrating at times and full of fun at others. It should always be consistent and positive and most importantly, it should be part of your daily routine.

The truth is your dog wants to please you, he wants to get along with you and avoid any situation that makes you angry at him. You may think your dog does certain bad behaviors out of vengeance. That is not true.

Dogs live around us and are trying to understand what we want all the time. Unfortunatelly, most of those times it is very hard to get it, to know what we are saying...even if you are speaking plain English.

That's the key though, dogs don't speak English. They do however respond to consequences, and that what the best dog training tip is all about. Read it carefully and specially make note of the few exceptions in which it won't actually work!

Reward your dog for good behavior

and ignore bad behavior.

That's it! I told you it was simple and intuitive. And it will take you a long way too. Let me explain it in detail. I want you to fully understand its advantages and learn other techniques to complement it when it doesn't work.

I will break this dog obedience training tip into two, so we can study each part in depth.

Reward your dog for good behavior:

I am a big advocate of using positive methods when training animals, specially animals that are dear to us, like our pet dogs. Rewarding your pooch for good behavior will ALWAYS work if done correctly.

It is basic psychology and it is called Operant conditioning. When you reward a behavior, it will happen again. Why? because the animal wants more rewards of course!

It is extremely important that you understand what a reward is to your pet.

Sometimes we reward our dogs for bad behavior without realizing it or we think we are rewarding them for god behavior when we are not.

This makes bad behaviors worse and good behaviors disappear.

For example: When your puppy greets you at the door jumping up and down and going nuts what do you do? You bend down and give him attention and greet him too! But when the cute puppy grows into a huge furry hound it is no longer fun and you wonder _why_ does he jump on everyone! … well, you rewarded him for it, didn't you?

After your pet is done jumping on you to greet you, he calms down...and what do you do? you ignore him! (when you should be rewarding him!).

Timing is key when delivering a reward.

Biologically speaking you have about 2 seconds after the behavior happened to reward your pet. Ideally, though, you want to reward your dog as the behavior is happening.

For example: you are training your dog to sit. You say "sit" and your pooch plops its bottom on the floor. You are happy and want to give him a treat, so you search inside your pocket for one. By the time you got it out your canine friend is already standing again and probably interested in something else altogether (like another dog's butt!). Right then you give him the treat! … unfortunately it was too late, you have now rewarded butt sniffing …

Will you have to give food to your dog always?

Yes and No.

Yes, you want to keep the good behaviors coming, so I suggest you reward often. But, you must reward your pet only randomly. This means that for every 10 good responses you will eventually only reward your pet only 5 times (completely random so your dog can't guess). This will make the behavior resistant, and now your pet will respond to you EVEN if you DO NOT have food!

Read the article "Reliable dog command" for detailed information. Also check the "non-food rewards" article for ideas to praise your pet with something other than food.

Ignore bad behavior:

What happens when your dog does something bad? you get mad and probably feel the urge to punish him. DON'T! Instead ignore the bad behavior…but make sure you remove the reward that is driving it too.

This is also basic psychology and it is called Extinction. When a behavior stops being reward the animal stops performing it. Why? because it doesn't pay anymore, so why bother!

Remove the reward!

In the Jumping on people example, ignoring your dog means to completely ignore him! Don't even make eye contact or touch him in any way (even pushing is attention). As soon as he sit on the floor, you can reward him with your attention and greet him.

Common rewards are attention, play and food. But they can be hidden … so be observant!

Some behaviors are self-rewarding.

This means that even if you ignore them and take away everything you think is rewarding, the behavior still happens. It continues because the dog "likes" to do it. He enjoys it.

For example: some dogs get so bored during the day that they find barking rewarding, so they do it all day long! In this case ignoring it won't help.

A good solution in some of these cases is to teach your dog to do something else, ideally something that is incompatible with the unwanted behavior. Leave treats hidden around the house when you leave for work. Your furry friend will spend some time searching and forget about barking. You can also give him a frozen Kong filled with peanut butter, he will spend a long time licking it instead of barking.

Other examples include:
Jumping on people: teach your pet to sit when you enter the house. Sitting is incompatible with jumping.

Digging: Teach your dog to play with something else in the yard, or train him to dig only on a designated area.

In conclusion there are 4 rules to follow this dog obedience training tip properly:

Reward your dog for good behavior

and ignore bad behavior.

  • Best dog obedience training tip rule number 1: if a bad behavior is not going away it is because it is _somehow_ being rewarded! You need to figure out what the reward is and remove it.
  • Best dog obedience training tip rule number 2: if you are late rewarding your pet, don't reward it! Wait for the next good behavior and be ready.
  • Best dog obedience training tip rule number 3: Reward your pet randomly, he will keep on trying because sometimes it pays!
  • Best dog obedience training tip rule number 4: If ignoring bad behavior doesn't work, then teach your canine friend an incompatible behavior.

If you are ready to start training your dog try any of these useful canine training commands:

I hope you find this dog obedience training tip useful. If you have problems feel free to drop a question. You can also tell us your successful tips and anecdotes!

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