Welcome to my journey! This blog is about my adventures in dog training, pet therapy work, rescue work and life with my menagerie of animals. Enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Putting the cart before the horse in dog training

   Humans are such verbal creatures; we talk and talk and babble and babble, even to our dogs!  I absolutely advocate lots of talking to your dog in the form of loving praise and adoration, what I try to remind people to avoid is barking commands at your dog or puppy, that they haven't been taught yet.

     Repeating your brand new puppy's name at him in no specific manner does not teach him his name means anything, unless his name is repeatedly paired with something good. Yelling sit, Sit, SIT at your dog when you haven't actually TAUGHT him what the word sit means, is just going to frustrate you AND your puppy!

   If you want to teach your puppy to not jump on you, just yelling "off" at him or pushing him down over and over does not teach him what "Off" means and furthermore it does nothing to teach your puppy what you would prefer he do instead! That is often where people get lost. They get so focused on the unwanted behavior and the cycle of punishment, they don't stop to think what they actually WANT their puppy to do! Instead of arbitrarily saying "off" over and over, zip your lips and reward/focus on the behavior you do want, like all four feet on the ground!

    If you want your puppy to drop something in his mouth, yelling "DROP IT" over and over before he has been taught what that means is just wasting your time and making your puppy more and more unsure of you when he has something in his mouth. This is where puppy proofing comes in play, if your floor has lots of inappropriate things available and you follow your puppy around yelling "drop it" or "leave it" wherever he goes, you will find he develops a habit of either resource guarding or grabbing things and playing keep away, neither of which are easily fixed! Teach your dog what "drop it" and "leave it" actually mean (they are very different!) through training that is fun, clear, consistent, and rewarding.

   By all means talk to your puppy or dog, just don't expect them to perform for cues that you haven't actually taught them! Set you and your puppy up for success!