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Dog Obedience Training at Home

 Dog Obedience Training at Home

dog obedience training in my home

You might think, "Come on, I just got the puppy. Let me enjoy him a minute without thinking about dog training." Exactly-with one small twist: enjoying your dog, and his enjoying you, IS dog training. At least, it should be. In fact, dog obedience training happens all the time, anytime you're in each other's company. The key is to do it intentionally, and happily. Dogs learn best when they're having fun, as do humans. Put this delightful fact to use, and your efforts will be richly rewarding.

Your dog will learn faster, enthusiastically, and will retain learning better. You'll develop a more trusting relationship, and you'll savor your course work with him. "What do you mean, dog training happens all the time? What if I'm just sitting there, reading the paper, ignoring the dog?" Well, let's take a look at some learning principles.

So far, dog education and psychology have found the "behavioral" model accounts best for how dogs learn. We may discover subtler explanations, but for now, the behavioral view is the clearest, most effective system we have. In it, we find that a dog registers the results his actions bring. If something nice happens when he barks, he figures the barking brought the nice event, and is more likely to bark the next time he wants that result. If nothing happens, or something unpleasant follows, he figures barking is not worth it. He's less likely to try barking for that particular result in the future. Notice that we're including "*nothing* happening," in addition to something unpleasant, as the opposite of a nice result. This is extremely important. If nothing happens when the dog tries a behavior, what he registers is just as bad as if he'd been punished.

So, back to the question "what if I'm just reading the paper, ignoring the puppy?" Well, if the dog is nice and quiet while you read, or chewing on a toy (instead of your slippers), he LEARNS that nothing special occurs when he engages in those behaviors. He gets no reward; nothing motivates him to repeat those actions. So next time he wants something, he won't sit quietly, or find an appropriate chew toy-he'll try barking, scratching, whining, jumping on you-anything to get your attention, or whatever he's hoping for.

The best way to train him to choose nice behaviors, then, is to start right away-as soon as you get in the car to bring him home. Praise him for anything nice, no matter how trivial. Instead of ignoring the quiet dog, gently pet him or say "Good job, nice quiet." When he's playing with his toy instead of your camera, play along with him so he enjoys it even more. When he comes to you, celebrate his success! He could as easily have walked the other way. Make a big deal about even little things going right, as if he'd won a gold medal. In the future, he'll look for opportunities to behave nicely again. He's not just hoping for a reward-ultimately, the action becomes satisfying in itself. If you start by doing this, *completely ignoring* wrong behaviors (for now-there are educational ways to address mistakes, later), your dog will be eager to behave nicely.

He'll forget all about those boring ("bad") behaviors that don't bring any bonuses, and look for chances to indulge himself in sitting quietly, coming when called, or holding a "stay." This makes dog training fun and easy for you both, from the very first day.