Dog Training: The Ten Commandments To Doing It Right

There are certain things that every dog owner should know if they expect their dog to grow up to be a well behaved, well adjusted dog. These tips I call the ten commandments, are some basic ideas you should keep in mind so that your dog training can go smoothly and be fun for you and your dog.

  1. Socialize your dog early. Puppies need to experience new places, noises and people early. Just keep in mind where your puppy is on vaccinations and do not take them to public areas like dog parks or big box dog stores. Do activities that get him used to other animals and his environment. Socializing is training and you don’t want a dog that is frightened of everything and doesn’t play well with other dogs.
  2. Say your command one time. Repeating your commands conveys to your dog that you didn’t mean what you said the first time and he learns he doesn’t have to do the command immediately.
  3. Be patient. Your tone of voice, volume and body language should never convey to your dog that you are beginning to get frustrated or angry. Hold you patience – it will pay off in spades.
  4. Be Consistent. Consistency is key. Use the same commands when you expect your dog to obey. Changing your command words will be confusing and will sabotage your training.
  5. Set Boundaries. Every action you allow your dog to get away with may gradually undo what you are trying to teach him. Don’t set your dog up to fail. When he does something wrong, immediately say no, wrong or no off and re-direct to the proper action.
  6. Stay in control of your dog. This means sniffing, jumping, pulling on his leash is not ok when you are walking him. Structure your walk where 2/3 of the walk the dog is beside you and 1/3 of the walk the dog gets to sniff, hike his leg, etc (still on leash) but it’s his 1/3 of the walk.
  7. Reward your dog for good behavior. This can be anything from treats to an enthusiastic Good Boy! this helps them differentiate between doing something you like (your happy tone of voice) to something you don’t like with your (no off) said in a deeper voice.
  8. Learn how dogs think. They are not human. If you understand how dogs think, which is not complicated, very black and white, and in the moment, you can help your dog be a better dog.
  9. Do not be hard on your dog. When correcting an inappropriate behavior a simple No Off and redirecting to the appropriate behavior is enough. Do not hit, alpha roll, yell, kick, or yank and jerk the leash. All you will accomplish by doing those things, is to teach your dog YOU are not safe.
  10. Have fun! Remain calm, enthusiastic and keep training on a positive note. Also keep your training sessions short. No more than 10 minutes per session.

These are just a few things to keep in mind if you want a dog that is happy, obedient and well adjusted. Teach your dog in a positive way that you control things, be consistent with your training and praise for a job well done. Be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as you are the teacher of your children. And remember, Opportunity Barks!

2 replies
  1. Jim Burwell
    Jim Burwell says:

    Patricia,

    Your solution for your 2 y/o Poodle could be as simple as putting him on a leash in the house at those opportune times and begin to redirect his inappropriate behavior to one or more of those good commands he’s learned in obedience school. You know, come, sit and down – then stay. Praise and treat (extreme high value) for the preferred behavior. You could also install a blackout pull down shade on that particular window so you could control the light for when you want to do set up exercises with Watson.

    Over coming Lucky’s prey drive – as strong as it can be in dogs (then add in the breed – Jack Russell!) may take a lot more time, consistency and repetition of commands. Not having evaluated her aggression towards other dogs on walks, it could be leash aggression, possessive aggression, fear or something else.

    What to do? Work on strong leadership in the home and outside on structured walks. Practice commands outside as well. Keep your distance from the dogs to which she is reactive until you can get with a professional trainer (positive reinforcement) to assist you with your behavior modification exercises and appropriate responses from Lucky around other dogs.

    Let me know how things progress.

  2. Patricia Sterbenz
    Patricia Sterbenz says:

    We have two dogs that need help. Our 2 year old male poolde we brought over when we relocated from Brisbane Australia last November and a Jack Russel we rescued in March. Each dogs has seperat issues.
    Our poodle Watson has a fixation light that shines throught the windows early morning an late in the evening. He chases the light an barks. He also chases light reflected from the tv running and barking widely. Watson attended puppy preschool in Brisbane and has learned basic commands, sit, stay, come,wait for treat. Walks on loose leash and will return when off lead. He will sit in time out when told and wait to be released. He is a wonderful dog but the loud barking is making the entire family a little crazy.

    Our rescue Jack Russel Terrier, Lucky can also sit and is learning to stay. She has issues with squirrels an screams (NOT BARKING) until we let her out. She has also become aggressive towards large dogs lunging at them when we walk.

    Since both dogs are high energy dogs I walk them both in the morning and evening usually 1 to 2 miles. If it rains I forgo the walk.

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