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Dog Training: The Boring Stuff You Have To Know

Dogs repeat behaviors based upon the consequences of the behavior.

If a dog does something and the consequences are pleasant the dog will consider the behavior rewarded and repeat it. DOGS USUALLY REPEAT REWARDED BEHAVIORS.

Rewards can be food treats or life rewards. Life rewards are things that occur on a day-to-day basis that your dog is willing to work for, like dinner, attention, praise, walks, games, car rides etc.

If a dog does something and the consequences are not pleasant the dog will most likely not repeat the behavior. DOGS USUALLY DROP BEHAVIORS THAT ARE NOT REWARDED.

The fastest way to train a dog is to consistently reward the behaviors you want and to consistently correct (or not reward) the behaviors you don’t want.

Remember, dogs also develop “self-rewarded” behaviors which have pleasant consequences or rewards that don’t necessarily come from you. Relieving his bladder on the carpet makes the dog feel better and is therefore rewarding for him and may be repeated if you’re not vigilant. Chewing up your remote control may be lots of fun for your dog and therefore could be perceived as rewarding for him and repeated – especially if you’re not around to be either more rewarding or to make chewing the remote unpleasant.

Corrections (or aversives) can be time outs, squirts from a water bottle, loud unpleasant sounds, ignoring the dog or leash corrections among other things.


Dogs Aren’t Born Knowing What We Want.

If the dog does something you want, let him know he got it right by saying good and rewarding him. The word “good” is called a “positive word marker”.

If he does something you don’t want say “uh-uh” or “no” and re-direct the behavior or correct the behavior and then say good when he’s right. The sound “uh-uh” or the word “no” are called “negative word markers”.

When you give your dog a command like “sit”, “down”, or “stay” be sure he remains in the position until you give him his “release word”. The release word tells the dog it’s all right to stop doing what you’ve asked for. Avoid common words for release words like “o.k” that the may mistake for a release.


Reasons Dogs Don’t Do What We Want Them To Do.

He Didn’t Hearboring stuff

Dogs have excellent hearing. Generally, if a dog doesn’t do what we want it’s not because he didn’t hear us. However, be sure to speak clearly when communicating with the dog.

He Wasn’t Paying Attention

Be sure the dog is focused on you before you ask for something. Get his attention by saying his name first.

He Physically Can’T Do What We Want

If the dog is on the patio and the door is closed he cannot come when called.

Yorkshire Terriers cannot pull drowning victims to shore. They’re physically too small.

He Doesn’t Understand What We Want

Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Teach the dog what you want by showing him, and then repeating the steps until he can remember them. Use one word commands. “Sit down” is a very confusing command for a dog.

He Just Doesn’t Want to do What We Want


Teach the dog that it is in his best interests to do what we want by using rewards and corrections consistently.


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