The Don'ts of Dog Training

Dog ownership can provide some of the richest and most fulfilling experiences in a person's life. That being said, dog training can sometimes drive a person to the point of pulling his or her hair out. Although, most dogs are exceptionally intelligent, they also tend to be quite hyperactive and often possess short attention spans.

Many dog training methods suggest all sorts of different techniques to try. However, most people are surprised to learn that effective dog training has less to do with the methods that are employed, and more to do with avoiding two fundamental mistakes.

Lack of Consistency

Unsuccessful dog training is almost always a result of inconsistent patterns of behavior by the trainer. Like children, dogs crave consistency. Effective dog training requires that the trainer react with the same response each time the dog fails to comply with a command. For every action the dog takes, there must be an expected reaction from you. This helps the dog learn that there will always be a single certain consequence when it behaves a certain way. It doesn't matter if you respond to the dog with physical discipline or with the simple word, "no." If the rule is: no dogs in the bed, but sometimes you let him get away with it, you can bet your dog will never transition into a well-mannered pooch. Although, it may seem harsh at times, tough love through consistent discipline is the only way to teach a dog what is acceptable and what isn't. Consistency is the key, and no dog training method can be effective without it.

Improper Physical Discipline

Physical discipline can be an extremely effective method of dog training. That being said, you should never swat or spank a dog on the nose. Although, a quick tap on the nose may seem like a good way to get your dog's attention, the unintended consequences can have a drastic long-term effect on your dog. Training a dog this way often causes them to develop a tendency to flinch and cower. This generally makes the dog fearful and hesitant to approach when he or she is called. Also, this method of dog training produces poor guard dogs as a simple raise of the hand tends to send them cowering.

If you decide you want to incorporate physical discipline into your dog training methods, your best bet is to use either a choke chain or a traditional swat to the dog's backside. This will get the dog's attention, but won't have the same unintended consequences as a swat to the nose.

Copyright © 2009, Ian White

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