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The Basics of Good Dog Training

The Basics of Good Dog Training

As published in The Pet Directory NSW & ACT Edition
 By Steve Austin

I am often asked, “What is the best way to train my dog”. It is a difficult question to answer, as we know dogs are all different, and we adapt training methods to their temperament age and breed. However there are some basic techniques and requirements that are suitable for all dogs. 


Before starting any training it is critical that you find the correct reward for your dog. Not all dogs are food orientated some prefer a toy for a reward and some just a good old tickle around the ears.

The reward must mean something to your dog and your dog must hold it in high esteem, otherwise its pointless in using it. When your dog has made it clear to you what reward he or she prefers, make sure you keep the reward special. Only use it when your dog gives you the correct behaviors that you are training your dog to perform. If you give out the reward for free all the time the reward then loses its value and your dog’s performance will suffer.

If using a food reward decide on something special e.g. cooked chicken fresh meat or cabanossi. Make sure your dog only receives these products while training, therefore training will always be a special experience.
It is also very important that the rewards can given to your dog quickly and easily. So always wear a food pouch if rewarding with food or have your toy reward easily accessible.

When training your dog the closer the reward is to the behaviour the more likely the behaviour will be repeated.



A vital requirement in dog training is consistency. It is very important that your dog feels happy and confident around you at all times. One way of achieving this is to be consistent at all times. Being consistent in voice commands hand signals and all your actions is extremely important. Another point to consider is all friends and family must also be consistent. It is very confusing for a dog if one family member encourages the dog to jump up, while another corrects him for the same behaviour.


Rewarding Inappropriate Behaviour

Many dog owners reward there dogs unintentionally for inappropriate behaviour. A good example of this is when a dog is scared by a loud noise and the owner tries and comforts the dog. In the dogs mind the owner is rewarding the dog for being scared and fear full, and consequently the dog will become more scared and fear full every time in the future. When similar situation happens with your dog, the best idea is to completely ignore your dog and pretend that nothing at all happened.

When training your dog, please be aware of this situation, as it is a very common occurrence.

Errorless Learning
I use this technique with all my dogs, when used correctly it will cut your training time by two thirds. The idea with this method is never put your dog in a situation where it can make a mistake. A good example is training your dog to come when called. When doing this exercise always have your dog on a 10-meter lead. That way no matter what situation your dog is in he will always come to you, because you can control the situation all the time. The key is always be in a position to make the commands you give are obeyed. If you are not in such a position do not give your dog any commands.

If this technique is used for approximately 3 months your dog will be conditioned to obey all commands off and on the lead. 

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