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Dog Training: Teaching & Homeschooling Your Dog

When most people think of dog training, expensive schooling or high priced trainers come to mind. Believe it or not, anyone can learn to train a dog with a few simple rules of dog training. Follow the simple dog training principles listed below, and your time together will run smoothly!

Teaching & Homeschooling Your Dog

  • Learn what drives your dog to work (ex. treats, praise or toys). What motivates your pup?
  • Dogs learn through Conditioning, or increasingly behaving a certain way because that behavior results in outcomes. They are more likely to (or not to) do something because of the outcome.
  • Just like human children, a dog will form associations through Repetition, or repeating the training process several times the same way.

Classical Conditioning

In dog training terms, classical conditioning means your dog is learning through associations. For example, your dog becomes excited when you pick up his leash because he’s learned the leash means a walk. Your dog might also become nervous every time you bring him into the bathroom because he’s learned the bathroom means a bath. Maybe he becomes anxious every time you pick up those nail clippers because he associates those clippers with the discomfort of getting his nails clipped.

Operant Conditioning

This type is more direct, and what most people think of when dog training comes to mind. Here, your dog is learning through the consequences, or results, of an action. For example, you reward your pup with a treat when he ‘sits’ for you. Your dog has learned ‘sitting’ when you give the command means he gets rewarded, so he is more likely to remember the command word.

Today’s Dog Training

Thanks to poor examples by extremely popular ‘media based’ trainers, people all over the world think it’s ok to ‘dominate’ their dog, become the ‘leader of the pack’ or ‘Alpha’ through heavy handed punishment based techniques, or forcing their pet to submit is a good thing.

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Though uncomfortable aversives can be useful in select situations, like a zap from an electric collar to teach a dog to fear the road nearby and deadly traffic, they should almost always be avoided when homeschooling a dog.

Simple Dog Training Rules

In most cases, the best way to approach dog training is to find a way to make your dog ‘Want to work for you’, not fear the outcome if he doesn’t. Use plenty of praise, toys, and training rewards; they all have their place! When you home school a dog, try to ask yourself how your dog is thinking, and what he wants.

  • Repeat training sessions the same way, so your pet doesn’t get confused.
  • Reward progress. Is your dog driven more by food rewards, a desire to please you, or play?
  • In situations like potty training, try your best to never miss any accidents or mistakes.
  • Never lose your temper or become emotional. Always remain positive, and show your dog you are happy- even if he makes a mistake or has an accident!


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