Monday, September 28, 2009

Tips on Training

Dog training is pretty straightforward, but that doesn't mean it's easy. It requires some practice ... and if you're new to training, some good advice.

Kids (and adults) learn best when the learning is fun or enjoyable, and when they receive something in return. The same is true for dogs.

Using treats as a training reward will make your dog willing and eager to learn. But it isn't enough just to reward a dog. You need to reward him at just the right moment using a treat that he loves .

Timing of the reward is extremely important. After a correct response, immediately reward your dog with a tasty treat within one second of the command. If you wait longer than a second to give the treat, your dog may not make the connection between his behavior and the reward.

For example, when teaching your dog to "sit", here is how and when you reward your dog:

• Find a quiet indoor environment with few distractions.

• Start by using a small piece of food to lure your dog's nose to point upward (toward the treat) and move the treat backwards over his head so that he naturally lowers his haunches to a sitting position.

• Don't hold the treat too high or he may jump up for it.

• Be prepared: As soon as he sits, give him the treat food.

• Repeat the exercise, adding the word "sit," so the dog can learn quickly what you expect of him.

• Rather than forcing his body into position, allow him to discover what is required on his own.

• Once this exercise has been learned, move the training outdoors. Start in the quietness of your yard, then gradually move to more distracting places like the park.

• As your dog proves he has learned the meaning of the word "sit," taper off his rewards so that he only gets a treat every third or fourth time he sits.

• By rewarding your dog unpredictably - but always continuing to offer rewards at times - you can best maintain his interest in the exercise.

I hope this gives you some great tips on training.

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