How Dogs Learn
Dogs do not automatically link a punishment with the crime as they do not possess the same ability to reason as a person. With this in mind, any praise or punishment needs to be delivered as quickly and consistently as possible so your dog can learn the correlation between behaviour and outcome over time. After all, good training takes patience.
It’ll become very clear what motivates your dog to exhibit certain behaviours. For many it’s treats! Others it’s praise, attention, or a game. Whatever it is, you’ll need to make sure you have them on hand for good behaviour along with a consistent praise word to use every time. This praise word should be something the whole family decides on and uses consistently such as “yes”, “nice” or “good”. Once you and your dog have mastered a command using their favourite reward and praise word each time you should be able to get the desired behaviour using just the praise word.
Here at the Company of Animals we would NEVER condone physical punishment. However, simply not giving a reward when bad, embarrassing, or unsafe behaviour is exhibited will not work and other training is needed. By introducing a consequence, you can stop bad habits from generating early on and set a standard. More often than not, the removal of your dog’s desired outcome or your attention will do the trick.
Removing your attention
- No attention means just that – you must refrain from saying anything even “No”.
- No attention also means no touching
- Painfully, no attention also means no eye contact too. Remember they are craving your attention and your dog will want facial expressions too, if you smile or laugh you will almost certainly encourage them to try again.
- Work out what rewards motivates your dog
- Act quickly and consistently
- Ensure you reward behaviours that you would like your dog to repeat in the future
- Be patient, your dog will thank you for it!
If you need further advice, contact our Training School