It’s easy to become a better dog trainer, do the following 10 things and you’ll be better than most and your dog will love you for it.
1) Hand feed your dog using the food you would have put in his dish as rewards for your dog doing things like sit, down, come, kennel up, hand touch/target, tricks… This means you will be positively interacting and learning at least twice a day or more.
2) Have rewards with you at all times when you have your dog with you (really good ones if there are lots of distractions). Learn what your dog really likes and use those things to reward him. Rewards are food, games/activities and toys.
3) Avoid punishing – adding punishment will slow training and make your dog not want to learn from you. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Silence is an excellent training technique – just wait for the chance to praise and celebrate.
4) Small quiet rooms (like your bathroom) work well as a spot to train new things – close the door and have fun with your puppy learning new stuff. For the known cues – get out there and get them generalized to all sorts of locations.
5) Set a timer and train in short segments (3-6 minutes). Shorter is better, have balance breaks doing something else that’s fun!
6) Track your progress. Record your training on video so you can evaluate what and how you are doing. Or at least record on paper or in a computer journal.
7) Give your dog enough exercise and enough rest time – then manage them to prevent problems so you aren’t spending training time fixing what wouldn’t have needed a fix if you’d managed better.
8) Watch videos of good trainers, to see what and how others are training.
9) Set up training ready areas so it’s easy to train even when time is very short. Prepare a training outline, ahead of time. You will accomplish more, easier if you do.
10) Have fun, this is fun stuff, laugh, do things you like to do and be flexible and enjoy the time with your dog.
Do you have other positive training tools or techniques that you thing should be on this list?
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