dogs need to be taught good behaviour and recieve
lessons in basic control. These lessons should
include responding to its name, how to greet
and behave politely around people and other
dogs, returning when called, walking nicely
on the lead, sit, down and stay on command,
and remaining calm when being groomed or examined
by you and your vet.
attempting to train any dog it is important
to understand how dogs learn. A basic understanding
of this can help you teach dogs the good habits
you want your pet to learn and avoid them acquiring
Dogs have been bred to carry out specific tasks
for many centuries so much of their behaviour
is instinctive and inherited, however like most
animals, dogs tend to learn and repeat things
that are rewarding for them and generally ignore
behaviour that brings no praise. This can be
summed up as:-
Positive Reinforcement: - You
can get your dog to repeat good behaviour with
praise and reward.
Negative Punishment: - If you
want your dog to stop or behaving in a certain
way then you should try to ignore this bad behaviour
and not praise or reward it.
It is also useful to associate these two reactions
with a sound or word e.g. .Good or Bad and if
you are consistent in their use your pet will
soon get the idea.
Punishment:- Dogs learn from
experience so using punishment for bad behaviour
does not work; your dog will associate punishment
with whoever is administering the punishment
and not his bad behaviour. If they receive a
reward for some behaviour they will do it again.
You cannot explain to your dog that this reward
is for some behaviour you approve of, but by
repeatedly rewarding this good behavior with
praise and rewards they will soon associate
the two actions.
Attention Span:- Dogs tend
to have a short atttention span and short bouts
of teaching, several times a day (usually around
5 minutes is sufficient). Ideally try teaching
any new behaviour somewhere with no distractions.
Dogs will learn quickest when they can focus
on you and the task in hand. It is best to start
training in a familiar place such as the living
room, where there are no new things to interest
your dog. As they become more experienced you
can introduce distractions e.g. take the training
outside where the distractions will affect their
behaviour and some retraining will be necessary,
by gradually stepping up these distracting environments
your dog wiil become well behaved in most circumstances.
Rewards:- Reward based training
can begin as soon as your puppy has settled
into the household. Use positive methods for
all education, from house-training to coming
back when calledMost trainers use rewards when
training,so it is useful to know what your dog
considers rewarding. Most dogs like food treats
or stroking and praise, however some breeds
would rather have a game of chase, or fetch,
or a game with a toy. If you decide on food
treats, try to make it something extra special,
something they really like.
David W Bates www.doggy-blog.co.uk
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