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One of My DogsThink of training your dog as learning a foreign language.  You and your dog are going to learn how to communicate with each other using the same language.  If you yell sit at a dog that doesn’t know what that means, you will get no results.  You might as well be yelling dance.  It won’t work.

When training your dog expect to spend about a half hour each night practicing with your dog. You can do this all at once or in five or ten minute increments.  Some dogs may require a bit more.

If you do not practice you will not receive the desired results.

After each session you will receive handouts covering the behaviors you have learned, since you may forget how to perform a behavior.  If you have trouble after looking at your handouts, give me a call.  I’ll walk you through it over the phone.  For each and every training session you will need:

  • Your Clicker (if you are going to use one… they are very effective)
  • Treats (or other motivator)
  • Your Dog
  • Handouts or education materials

Every practice session you can cover between 2-5 behaviors depending on the difficulty of the behavior and the speed that your dog (and you) learn it.  Training your dog is a family affair.  The more members of your family participate in training the better for your dog.  This gives all of your family (children included) the opportunity to learn how to get the desired behavior from your dog.  It also gives your dog the opportunity to learn that when you give a “command” it means the same thing as when the rest of your family gives the same “command”.  This way everyone learns the same language.

Only train one dog per practice session.  From experience, I’ve found that training multiple dogs at one time is overwhelming for the family and the individual dogs don’t get enough practice each. Usually, the one that catches on the fastest gets the most attention and the other dog is seen as a challenge and doesn’t get the required practice and attention.

As you begin training your dog you need to think and talk about what your house rules are.  Are your dogs allowed on the furniture?  Do your dogs have to wait for your permission before they begin eating?  Are your dogs allowed in the dining area when you are eating?  Are your dogs allowed to beg at the table?  Can your dogs jump up on you when you come home?  Are your dogs going to be crate trained or will you be allowing your dogs free reign when you are not at home?

I have my own house rules.  For instance, my dogs are allowed to be in the dining area while we are eating, but are not allowed to do any more than look at you.  Also, my dogs usually get a small piece of whatever meat we are eating when dinner is over.  If they make so much as a tiny whine, jump, or noise they get nothing at the end of dinner while the other dogs get theirs.  Some people may want to do that, others may want their dog out of the dining area completely during dinner time and some may not care if their dog begs at the table (like my Mom for instance).

My house rules do not matter when training your dog.  What is important is what you want from your dog.  Think about what behaviors you want from your dog.