Blank3
10 commandments for dog owners

Dog Trainer's 10 Commandments

1. Always train with kindness and love. Remember that your dog is a sentient being, capable of feeling love and pain, happiness and sadness. Training with kindness and love instead of force, punishment, and fear will allow your dog to behave and perform cues because he wants to instead of performing for fear of being punished.

2. Be patient. Whether you’re just getting started or working on complex behaviors, your dog is going to make mistakes. Whoever said “patience is a virtue” very well could have been talking about dog training! If, during training, you find yourself (or your dog) becoming frustrated, take a break. Training is a marathon, not a sprint – no need to rush through it!

3. Learn to communicate with your dog. Although dogs don’t speak in the same way humans do, they DO communicate in a way that’s easy to understand – if you know how. Understanding your dog’s body language is absolutely essential, not only in training, but in raising a happy, healthy pup.

4. Be consistent. Consistency is absolutely essential in training a well-behaved dog. Be clear and consistent in the rules you want your dog to follow and make sure everyone in the home follows those same rules. For example, if you don’t want your dog to beg at the dinner table, make sure no one in the home slips him food from their plate. Inconsistency is confusing for your dog.

5. Teach your dog to have good manners. Appropriate behavior from your dog is important, not just for keeping order at home, but for the safety, comfort, and life of other people and animals you may encounter outside the home. Training your dog not to bark excessively, jump on visitors, chase animals, drag you down the street during walks, and similar unwelcomed behaviors are just as important as training fun tricks at home.

6. Don’t do too much, too soon. When training your dog, it’s important to set the stage for success. That means allowing your dog to learn and grow at a pace that’s comfortable and successful and taking your time to advance to tougher behaviors. In dog training, you’ll often hear the term, “the three D’s.” This refers to distance, duration, and distractions – all factors to consider when training your dog at an appropriate pace. Slowly increase your distance from your dog as he learns to respond to cues, slowly expect your dog to remain in position for longer duration, and gradually increase the number of distractions present during training, only advancing each of these factors once your dog has proven successful.

7. Keep training sessions short and sweet. Pet parents who spend short 5 to 10 minute training sessions with their dog a few times a day will make much greater progress than those that try to train for a solid hour or more each day. While it isn’t often physically demanding, training is mentally exhausting for your dog. A tired, overworked, or uninterested dog will not learn as quickly and efficiently as a dog that’s well-rested and excited to learn.

8. Reward your dog’s successes. Because dogs generally repeat actions that are successful for them, reward-based training is a proven method for teaching the behavior you expect and desire of your dog. Although one of the most valued rewards you can give your dog is a tasty dog treat, rewards can come in the form of praise, affection, or playtime with a favorite toy, too. Just be sure your rewards are given in response to good behavior and not used as a bribe to elicit the behavior you want.