• Linda Healy

Ten keys to successful training

1) Be patient: All dogs learn at different speeds and often don't grasp concepts as quickly as we think they should. Be patient with your dog and help him to be successful.

2) Plan ahead: Set your dog up to succeed. If your dog isn't "getting it" the behaviour probably needs to be broken down into smaller steps.

3) Be realistic: Don't expect your dog to perform a behaviour in an environment you haven't taught him in.

4) Be kind: Use positive methods to teach your dog what's expected of her.

5) Avoid punishment: Harsh corrections have no place in the learning phase of a dog's development.

6) Reward effectively: Reinforce proper behaviour with what motivates your dog. A pat on the head is nice but not necessarily what he wants. Remember that this is his paycheck: Pay up!

7) Be generous: A new trainers tend to be cheap with rewards. Reward correct responses often and don't be afraid to reward exceptionally good responses with extra treats, praise, toys, and love.

8) Set goals: If you don't know where you are going and have not planned out the session, how will you know when your dog's got it!

9) Practice often: Teach your dog in short frequent sessions.

10) Stay positive: Quit with your dog wanting more. An enthusiastic student is always an eager learner.

The simple truth of training dogs is that you get what you pay attention to. Set your dog up to succeed, limit his options, and reinforce what's going right. Soon you'll have a well-behaved dog that everyone loves to be around.

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