You are about to embark on a journey that will give back over and over through your relationship with your dog….a well-behaved member of your family that everyone likes to be around!
Among all the things that you are about to learn, the most important will be learning the right way to communicate with your dog. They don’t think like us (thankfully) and once you start getting the feel of it, the absolute most rewarding thing to come from training is when you see your dog finally ‘getting you”!
One of the worst things you can do for your dog is to not follow the guidelines while training. So many people enter into this journey thinking that I can work the miracle on your dog in just our one hour together every week and that you don’t have to follow through at home. Another mistake is that your dog follows one set of rules during class, but when you get home, you continue with your own way of doing things. Or, combine both methods.
The only thing that will result in is complete confusion for your dog. You will be left with no foundation of communication and frustration – for both you and your dog.
You have allowed me to become a part of your dog’s life, and I’m grateful! Now, I’m asking that you have a little trust and faith in me and in positive reinforcement training. If you can give me that, I can promise you fabulous things!
If you can’t, I really can’t promise you anything.
- We all get frustrated at times. And I understand it can be frustrating trying to communicate with a being that doesn’t speak your language and you don’t speak his! But your dog doesn’t understand your frustration. If he’s being naughty, it’s because A: he’s confused as to what you want, or B: he’s just being a dog and doing things that are totally normal in his canine world but maybe not so appropriate in our people world. Do your best to keep frustration out of the equation.
- Usually through frustration comes a louder voice. And with each time you repeat your requests while frustrated, your voice becomes more assertive and usually louder. Unfortunately for you, getting loud doesn’t make your dog understand you any better. You might think he does because he’s put his head down and slumped off to lay in a corner (you swear he understands what he’s in trouble for and you’re feeling pretty proud of yourself! In reality, he just doesn’t understand what your problem is, what could possibly be wrong and you’re probably freaking him out just a little bit.) So, this brings us to No Yelling! No matter what!
- Now, I realize that we all need to be corrected sometimes. Even the best dogs do! During your journey – and especially while in Basic Manners class where we are just starting to teach the dog what is expected of him – your new ‘correction’ tool to let your dog know he’s just made a mistake will be a simple “AH AH”! Simple as that – “AH AH!”
- As mentioned, I can’t work a miracle on your dog in just one hour a week. I wish I could! But the reality is that you have to follow through every week at home. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be these long training sessions every day! As a matter of fact – I don’t want you to do that! The only thing I’m asking from you is to spend at least 10 minutes a day with your dog, working on the homework for that week and tossing in a few exercises from previous weeks. That’s it! Believe me, it may not seem like much to you, but that 10 minutes every day (or twice a day if you’re feeling motivated!) will go a very long way!
- The last guideline that is very important is that everyone in your home be on the same page in teaching your dog. You can’t be using one set of cues/corrections and someone else in the house using something different. If everyone in the home has puts their own spin on things, your dog will only end up very confused. And that leads us right back to all that frustration.
I promise you…..this journey with your dog can be fun, rewarding and a really great experience for everyone involved if you just follow these simple guidelines and have a little faith in me.