Welcome to the third post in our Dog Training blog series. This ongoing series features guest posts by local professional dog trainers and highlights some of the big questions they address to their clients. Today's post was written by Adam Miller of Big Dog Behavioral Dog Training.
You are the most important tool when training your dog. Your energy and attitude when interacting with your dog will have a dramatic effect on how quickly your dog learns and how much both of you enjoy training.
You get what you give when working with a dog…if you are irritated or anxious then your dog will exhibit irritated or anxious behavior. If you approach a situation with an angry or frustrated attitude then you are part of the problem and not part of the solution. Have patience when training your dog and realize that mistakes will happen and that mistakes are a normal part of the learning process.
Dogs are pack oriented and social animals that need a competent leader. In order to be seen as a capable leader in your dog’s eyes, I recommend that you adhere to the “The Four C’s of Leadership” – always be calm, consistent, and confident when communicating with your dog. These characteristics are found in all leaders and are a large part of the reason why certain people are trusted with a leadership role.
Calm behavior will build trust and respect between you and your dog. There is a big difference between being “mean” and “meaning it”. Remaining calm also helps you from getting too upset and doing or saying something that you might regret later.
Consistency is vital because dogs do not understand maybe or sometimes…it is a yes-or-no world for a dog. Consistency in training will increase the speed with which your dog learns since reward and praise will be closely associated with specific behaviors. Dogs love routines and it is important that your dog clearly comprehends what is expected of it and what behaviors are allowed and which are not.
Confidence shows your dog that you are self-assured and that you can manage any situation that arises. Dogs are more calm and relaxed when they feel safe and protected. Belief in your self and your dog’s abilities will have wonderful results in your training and your relationship with your dog.
Communication is a key factor in successful training and relationship building. It is your job, as the pack leader, to set the rules, boundaries and limits and to clearly teach your dog what is expected of it.
Be the owner your dog needs…someone who your dog can trust and depend on. Mistakes will happen, but if you keep these guidelines in mind and you acknowledge your faults, there is nothing that you cannot accomplish. Your dog will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of its heart. You owe it to your dog to be worthy of such devotion.
This post was written by Adam Miller of Big Dog Canine Behavioral Training. For more information or to learn how Adam can help with your dog needs, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.