Successful Dog Training at Home – Having the Right Mindset

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Deciding to own a dog comes with it many responsibilities. These include feeding, grooming, lots of love and playtime, and keeping up with required shots and vet visits. Dog training is another important responsibility that must not be overlooked. Proper dog behavior training will make life for the dog and its owner much more fun and enjoyable.

Dog training is the act of teaching your dog what is acceptable behavior in specific situations. It is effective communication between you and your dog. Dog training is about you telling your dog what you want, and your dog understanding and responding in a positive way.

Dogs can be trained at any age, but it is most beneficial to start as a puppy, the first day of arrival in your home. This will show your new puppy, from the start, what the boundaries are and can be the beginning of the road to successful dog training. A dog without set boundaries, rules or knowledge of what is expected will only continue to demonstrate unacceptable behaviors. It is your job, through dog training, to teach which behaviors are acceptable.

Some of the behaviors that often need to be corrected are potty training, unnecessary barking or whining, jumping up on your friends and family, chewing, biting on hands and clothing, digging, and aggressive behavior. The more common but also important obedience behaviors that you should teach your dog during dog training is to sit, stay, heel, lay down and walk on a leash properly.

When training your dog, it is important to understand why your dog does the things that he does. Some behaviors are breed dependent. Cocker spaniels tend to have weak bladders and will pee when they are excited. Growing up I had a Cocker Spaniel named Blondie that would pee at our feet every time we came home. We quickly learned to let her greet us outside so that she could get excited and do her business. When inside, she was paper trained and would always go in the same spot. Be sure you are fully informed of the behaviors that you may face with the breed of dog you choose.

A dog that digs usually does so out of boredom. It is important to find other activities for your dog to do. I have found that playing with him more, teaching him to fetch, taking him for walks in the park or even providing a place for him to dig will make him feel less cooped up in the yard and stop his digging caused by boredom.

Dog training takes patience and consistent reinforcement of the rules and commands. The best way to train your dog and to get results is through repetition, praise and positive reinforcement. It is important not to get angry or use force as negative punishment when your dog does not do exactly what you ask of it. Dog training does not involve hitting or yelling at your dog when it does something wrong.

B.F. Skinner, one of the most celebrated psychologists since Sigmund Freud, proved that behavior that is positively reinforced will reoccur. He also showed that the best training comes when information is presented in small amounts so that responses can be reinforced (also known as “shaping”). When your dog does something correctly, be sure to use words of praise in an excited voice, followed by petting and rewards with a favorite dog treat. Your dog will be able to feel the emotion and excitement in your voice and actions. This will be the encouragement needed to achieve the positive outcomes of dog training for a lifetime.

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