Friday, June 19, 2015

Secrets to a Well-Trained Dog. #4 Will Astound You!

Rocco Havanese dog walk
Every walk is an opportunity for training
Ok, yeah.  I'll admit this trend toward fantastical headlines is really annoying.

But I click on them. Sometimes.

And since a well-trained, and even more importantly,  a well-behaved dog is so important to their health and well-being, I'm pulling out all the tricks in getting your attention... and using a ridiculous headline.

But is it really all that ridiculous?



When you consider that 96 percent of dogs relinquished to animal shelters have received no obedience training,* it seems crazy NOT to train your dog to be a well-behaved member of society. Not only is it more enjoyable to live with a dog with good manners, it's also crucial for your pup's health and safety.

What if your dog is about to eat something dangerous or run after a critter?  The leave-it command can keep them from getting into a sticky situation.

What if your dog is about to run across the street? A great recall can save their life.

So with that in mind, we bring you our top four secrets to a well-trained and well-behaved pup so that you both can enjoy a happy, healthy life together!

*National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy (NCPPSP) regional shelter survey

Rocco Havanese dog leave it training
Rocco practices "leave it"
1. Positive reinforcement rules

I believe in positive reinforcement training. That's the method that rewards good behavior for the desired action. A study in the Journal of Veterinary Behaviorcompared the effects of 2 training methods (positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement) on both the behavioral welfare of the dog and the dog–owner.  The results suggest that training methods based on positive reinforcement are less stressful and potentially better for the dog's welfare.

3. Consistency is crucial

Please be clear and consistent when working with your dog. Sit means sit. Down means down.  Being consistent when training your dog builds the same kind of trust, loyalty and motivation that it builds in the workplace.

Think about it. What if your boss isn't clear about what they expect from you? Or they say one thing and then do something else? It's confusing and breeds mistrust and a lack of loyalty. Same goes for your pup.

3. Put the fun in fundamentals

If you're boring, your dog will be bored, too. We never tire of training sits and downs, sits to downs, downs to sits, stands to downs, stay, come leave-it... you get the idea. But I always make it fun and use rewards that Rocco finds insanely fun... usually whatever his favorite treat of the moment is or his  flat, stuffy toy on the end of a flirt pole.

4. Never stop training

The biggest mistake people make is taking their dog to one training class and then thinking their pup is trained for life.  We train everyday, and it doesn't need to take a lot of time. In fact, short training sessions (5-10 minutes) are the most beneficial for your pup. And, short training sessions help keep it fun and exciting. One easy training trick is to train a down, stay before every meal; then release to the food bowl!
Rocco Havanese dog waving
Rocco thinks training is great fun!

Do you have a training secret? Let us know in the comments below!


The fun and games continue every Friday with FitDog Friday, the weekly Blog Hop brought to you by To Dog With LoveSlimDoggy and My GBGV Life to promote a healthy active lifestyle for pets (and their people, too!). Join in every Friday by linking up your FitDog story or visiting the blogs in the Hop.



24 comments:

  1. I am so with you on positive reinforcement. When we first looked at training for our rescue Titan, we went to a place (we didn't know it before we went) but they wanted to keep my boy for 2 weeks and no contact with us. I was like.... "WTH? No way!" I figured out what they were all about and that was definitely not for me. Titan was taught with positive reinforcement. Even now, 5 years later, we still go over our commands to keep them fresh in his mind but we do it as a game. He is very eager to please, loves treats, and gets very excited when praised. I'm so glad you shared this with us. I'm passing it along to folks that I know need this and will appreciate it. Thanks again!

    Pibbles & Me

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    1. Thank you! We do all our training as "games." Rocco won't have it any other way since he's a fun boy! That's awesome that you're doing the same. I think we all learned so much since our first dogs or since our pups were young. Training methods have changes so much over the years too, and for the better, I think!

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  2. We share the same training "secrets" with you...consistency!! I think it's interesting that so many dog owners think that they can just send their dog to a training place, pick up the dog after a certain time span, and expect the dog to be trained for life, without practicing & applying what the pup learned on a regular, daily basis.

    Our pups know that the human goes out the front door (or any door, really) first when we're leaving for a walk, and they are always in a down-stay prior to breakfast & dinner until they are released. They also "work" for every treat they get by obeying a command, be it a sit, down, roll over, speak, paw, etc.

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    1. Humans out the door first is an awesome skill and so important for safety. That's great your pups know that!

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  3. Fab tips guys!

    sumskersandearlskers13.blogspot.com

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  4. Mom hates obedience more than we do, so we don't do much after we pass the first few classes, but every now and then she goes on a bender and practices basics with us. We are normally well behaved and technically we do practice a lot with our photo shoots, but no matter how it is done, if you don't use it, you lose it.

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    1. Well said! You get practice without even knowing it on those photo shoots!

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  5. Great tips! I practice obedience with Kilo all the time. Just like humans say "you learn something new everyday" same should go for your dog!

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    1. Absolutely! I think they love learning new things.

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  6. Great tips and thanks for the reminder. I really need to be doing this more regularly with Kobi. BTW - I just LOVE Rocco's photos - he's so cute!

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    1. Thank you! I need to remind myself to keep at it with Rocco too!

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  7. Hi Y’all!

    My Human has the world's most perfect dog, ME!

    When she got me I was 14 months and we went to school for obedience, rally and agility. Now I'm 9 and we still train everyday. My Human believes in it. And lots of treats. She still carries lots of little treats. Now it is those mini Fruitables. It works. Really.

    Don’t forget my new home is http://www.browndogcbr.net. I’m still workin’ on it. I’m tryin’ different formats. I have a new one since my move. It is radically different from anything I’ve had before.
    Thank you if you have already given me feedback. If not, I would like to know if you like it.

    Y’all hurry on by now!
    Hawk aka BrownDog

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    1. Hi Hawk! Sounds like your mom is almost as smart as you are... carrying around treats all the time! Love your new look! Heading over there now to catch the latest!

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  8. Now if we can just get Rocco to stop barking on command! Love Dolly

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    1. Oh, you mean he's supposed to STOP barking?!! We're actually working on that... and indoor voice, too!

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  9. I try to teach Mr. N new things most days but we go over old stuff pretty much every day. He likes doing his tricks in public.

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    1. Sounds like Rocco :) He just did an impromptu tricks show for three little girls who we met while shopping at the Container Store!

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  10. Great tips and #4 is so true, you always need to keep training.

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