By teaching your dog to obey you, you’re increasing the quality of life for both dog and master. As with every healthy relationship, both parties need to develop an understanding of who is the boss, what their expectations are, and so on.
Imagine being able to take your dog out for a walk without being jerked around on a leash. Telling your dog to ‘stay’ and knowing that you won’t have to keep your leash handy. Imagine letting your dog play with the kids and knowing that no one will need a band-aid or disinfectant later.
When it comes to dog training, psychology is simple. Good behaviour needs to be rewarded, and bad behaviour must be corrected. By rewarding good behaviour, your dog will learn to enjoy obeying you, and to associate good feelings with good behaviour. Similarly, your dog will learn to avoid bad behaviour, and all the headaches that could cause you, and, indirectly, your dog.
That’s all there is to it.
Rewards are pretty easy—either by heaping praise on the dog, giving a thorough petting, giving a treat, or what-have-you. Care should be taken not to overdo it. Rewards are rewards, not bribes, and if you resort to using rewards as bribes, your dog may learn to never do your bidding, unless you have tasty treats or a tennis ball on hand.
If you find that you don’t like the idea of over-feeding your dog, simply apportion the rewards from the daily food ration. Alternatively, you can use a technique called ‘clicker training’. You’ll need a child’s toy that produces a loud clicking sound. The idea behind clicker training is that you should feed your dog some treats, and every time he gets a treat, give a loud ‘click’. Your dog should eventually start associating the sound of the click with getting a treat, and from there, associate a click with good feelings.
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