Are you giving your dog too many commands? Are you giving commands over and over again? Of course, dogs need to learn commands, but if your dog needs commands to behave in a social setting, something is missing.
While our blog’s mascot is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, these tips apply for any breed.
Training needs foundation and focus.
There is a difference between a well behaved dog and a dog that follows commands. Training needs foundation and focus. Foundation training teaches the dog to come when called, sit, stay, down and walk nicely on command.
For a dog to learn to behave in social situations we must help our dogs to become thinking dogs and problem solving dogs, building their confidence so they make the correct choice without a command.
For example, when teaching a dog to wait when a door opens before going out, do not use a sit or stay command. Instead, use a teaching process using trial of behaviors so they start becoming a thinking dog. Otherwise, if you open the door without a command the dog will probably go right through the door.
For more tips on pet behavior, check out Pet Salute.
Too many commands
In some cases, dogs are being so nagged by the handler with commands so much that they start avoiding or ignoring them. Sure, if you keep food in your hand or if you’re an e-collar person, keep stimulation on your dog they will do what you want – But in teaching your dog to become a thinking dog, that’s not what you should shoot for.
Focus on building your relationship with your dog and helping him or her to become a thinking dog.
Ways to achieve a thinking dog
There are many ways to achieve building your relationship with your dog and helping him or her to become a thinking dog, but there is one very simple and basic way to start that process on your own.
Teach the automatic sit in your home and on leash. Walk around your house or room with your dog in the heel position. Then stop and tell your dog to sit. after he sits, praise him/her. Then give the heel command and take 3 steps and stop, give the sit command. Repeat this 3 to 5 times, make it fun, fast paced and upbeat. Then, do everything the same except leave out the sit command. If the dog doesn’t sit; turn and face him/her and wait him/her out for a few seconds. If he doesn’t sit, give the heel command and try again with no sit command. If unsuccessful try again using the command a few times. Then drop the sit command and try again, the goal is to wait the dog out and when he makes the correct decision… praise and build on it.
We praise our dogs with a nice pleasant voice when our dogs get behaviors right, “good boy/girl”. If our dog makes a mistake some folks yell or say NO loudly. This usually doesn’t work and can make some dogs scared of the person doing it. That said, dogs need to know when they make a mistake. Not by yelling or yanking the leash, hitting or overreacting but by communicating to them that we don’t like it. It can be a simple low tone ahgg growl sound. Its really simple if you think about how one dog trains another dog.
This should not scare them or make them want to flight in any way. If it creates fear in your dog then its not something we want to use for that dog. Remember we want to help our dogs make the right choice, It’s about communication, if we aren’t communicating with our dogs properly, we aren’t teaching them.
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