Dog Training Tips
· you get more of what you reinforce, not necessarily what you want
· top 3 reasons a dog may not be “getting it”
· work with your dog where it currently is and regress if needed
It’s important to be realistic and work with your dog where it currently is in terms of behavior and build from there. Sometimes this requires “going back to kindergarten” to set the dog up to succeed.
You get more of what you expect and reinforce, not necessarily what you want when it comes to dog training. You may very well be reinforcing your dog for the very behaviors that you don’t want. It is important to be aware of what your dog is doing but also what you are doing - you are sending all sorts of signals to your furry friend!
Dogs are not born trained, it is up to us to teach them how we’d like them to behave. We give our dogs all sorts of cues and reinforcers, oftentimes without being aware of it.
Your body language, the way you give hand signals, your tone of voice, how long it takes you to mark the desired behavior (as well as mark an undesirable behavior) and then reward it are crucial aspects of effective dog training. Training is simple, but it’s certainly not easy.
In my experience, the 3 main reasons a dog may not be “getting it” are: you have not trained the behavior(s) that lead to the behavior you are currently trying to train (think of it in terms of going too fast, too soon), you may be “overshadowing” with your body language, or you may not be marking the desired behavior at the right time.
I tend to think of dog training as an artform - it is indeed a craft. Don’t be discouraged or give up if you don’t start off with a bang, nobody does! You learn how to do things through trial and error. Lebron James had to miss a lot of shots before he became the basketball superstar that he is today.
You’re going to make mistakes, but the key is to catch them and improve. Be patient with your dog but also with yourself.