Train Your Dog
January is “Train your Dog” month. At Best Friends Dog Academy, we consider training to include much more than just Come, Sit, Stay. We see dogs as our friends and family members, and as with all successful relationships, communication is key. We talk to our dogs all the time, telling them what to do and when. Are we doing as much listening? Do we know what it means when they tuck their tail, avert their eyes, or stop moving around and freeze? Are we listening to what they are telling us? Canine body language is a rich and informative language, for those who take the time to learn it. Our dogs say so much to us and if we want to have a great relationship with them, we need to listen. Once we hear what they are saying, we can then have a much happier and safer family dog sharing our days (and often, our bed!). This relationship is the foundation for effective training. So…if you want your dog to listen to you, make sure you are also listening to him.
Training a dog is quite simple. Determine what your dog finds reinforcing (what is rewarding to them) and when your dog does something you want, reinforce them for it. You can do this in a “training session”; ask for a “sit”, dog sits, and you give them a cookie. You can also catch them offering good behavior (such as keeping all their paws on the floor in the kitchen during meal time) and reinforce that behavior. Behavior that gets rewarded will be repeated. The trick here is knowing how to make sure that your dog is perfecting an appropriate behavior. Is he doing what you want? Or is he busy practicing a behavior that isn’t one you desire him to have? A reinforcer, whatever it is that motivates your dog, can be food, a toy, verbal praise or petting. It depends on the dog, and each dog is different. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to finding the most powerful reinforcer for your dog.
Positive reinforcement training is safe and IT WORKS! It’s fun for you and for your dog, so give it a try. Scientifically proven and evidence based, humane and enjoyable for all.
IMPORTANT! Before you take your dog to a trainer, whether it be for group classes or private instruction, make sure that you know something about that trainer.
For more information on how to choose a dog trainer, check out what the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers has to say about it: https://www.ccpdt.org/dog-owners/how-to-choose-a-dog-trainer/
Take a look at our online class schedule or talk to us about a private training session.
Sara & Liz