7 key principles of how dogs learn..
These are the key principles to training your dog in simple Emma terms. Understanding and applying these principles will help you train your dog. In future posts I’ll will discuss more on how to apply training principles and get in to a bit more of the fun side of training your best buddy. If you don’t want to read about it then please enjoy my incredibly crappy drawings and have fun with it.. The most important thing to remember is to have fun.. that's what dog training is all about!
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Having fun is the easiest way to become engaged with your dog. Having your dog engaged in training is super important. Engaged means to have your dogs full attention and interest. You must be the most exciting thing in your dogs world at that moment in time. If your dog is looking elsewhere and not listening to you then your training will be ineffective. You need to find ways to get your dog engaged, play games and use treats or toys to get your dog engaged. Start training in a very neutral place like your own back yard, your dog has already sniffed around here numerous times and isn’t going to be distracted. Put your dog on leash so that there is no chance of a run away because this can lead to confusion and frustration, the evil enemies of dog training! I will often stand on the lead so that both hands are free.
You need to remain enthusiastic and make it fun.. lets be honest.. no one wants to play if there’s no fun!! Be the person your dog wants to hang with!!
The command is the word and/or signal we give our dog to let him/her know what response we want. The command must remain consistent every time to ensure that your little buddy doesn’t get confused. Use what works for you but don’t forget what word or hand signal you used.
Don’t repeat the command over and over thinking your dog is hard of hearing, otherwise your dog will think that when you want him/her to sit they must hear “SIT SIT SIT” before they have to give you a response because they associate the numerous commands rather then the word itself. Just say it once and if they need help then apply a gentle tap to the back end of your dog to help guide them in to position if its a sit or use food to help lure your pooch.
Dogs learn through association, its almost like an equation they solve in their mind that goes a little something like command - response - reward! We need to keep our commands very consistent so that it doesn’t confuse our dog. We can teach our dogs to associate a voice command or a hand signal to a response. We do this by rewarding our dog when they perform the command.