I believe training is a communication between you and your dog. Communication goes two ways – understanding dog behavior and body language is the first step to building a trusting relationship with your dog. Listening to what your dog is saying is as important as teaching your dog to understand what you want him to do.
Positive reinforcement isn’t just passing out treats! Toys, freedom, walking, running, sniffing, going for a car ride, going outside, chasing, tugging and attention are all used to build a relationship of trust and respect with your dog. Training should be fun for both you and your dog. Incorporate toys, games, tricks and be creative! Dogs will do what’s reinforcing to them – find what your dog likes in any given moment, and use it as a reward and incentive for good behavior. Minimize your dogs bad decisions by managing your dogs environment (crate, leash, fence, removing temptation). Always acknowledge or reward your dog for making good decisions.
A well trained dog is a dog who is a welcome visitor in friends’ homes, is polite in public, and one who is easy to live with. A well trained dog has more freedom and fun than an untrained dog. A well trained dog gets more leash walks (because he doesn’t pull), more off leash walks (because he listens), gets taken along for the ride (because he is social), is brought out in public and is comfortable in someone else’s care. A well trained dog is happy, social and loved – and isn’t that what we want for our furry best friends?