Basic principles of good dog training


Always reinforce good behaviour

It is much easier to teach a dog to do something you want than it is to teach them to stop doing something you don't want. From the time you first get your dog or puppy every time they do a behaviour you want to continue, reinforce it with whatever your dog finds the most rewarding, which can be food, play or just praise! When a dog learns that a particular behaviour feels good they'll do it more often! 


Set the dog up for success

Don't put your dog into a situation you haven't properly prepared them for just so see what they will do. When teaching a behaviour start with the very basics and then once the dog has mastered the first step, then you can start adding elements very slowly. Asking too much of the dog to soon can be very confusing for the dog and can badly damage the trust they have in you. 


Be consistent

Set rules that are fair and reasonable and stick with them. If you expect the dog to follow the rules then you must enforce those rules EVERY time or they will learn very quickly that the rules don't really mean anything at all.


Be fair

It is really important that the rules we set are fair to the dog and that the way we enforce those rules are also fair for the dog. You can't correct a dog for jumping on you while you're wearing your good suit if you let them jump on you all the time when you're in your old sweats. The dog can't tell the difference, and they do not understand why they get corrected only some of the time. Its unfair and very confusing for them when they can't predict a correction, and does a lot of damage to your relationship with the dog and the trust they have in you. 


Be a leader, not a "boss"

Dogs respond to and respect good leadership. It’s not about being an “alpha”, "showing them who's boss", or being dominant, it's about being someone they respect and naturally want to follow! You need to be a leader in the workplace, with your children, with your team and in every other area of your life, and you also need to be a leader for your dogs. Without the presence of a leader, your dog is going to look elsewhere and they will try to fill the role themselves. Dogs are not equipped with the skills and knowledge to be leaders in our world and its unfair to put them in that position. Lead by example, lead fairly, lead respectfully, lead with structure, and lead consistently. 


Have fun!

Dogs are masters of reading body language, and you're never going to convince a dog that training is fun unless you genuinely believe it yourself. A dog that sees training as fun will always learn more and end up much better trained than a dog that sees training as something they have to do. Food, toys and praise are all great ways to motivate your dog during training. Dogs don't have very long lifespans and we don't get nearly as much time with them as we should, so make the most of the time you do have and have as much fun as you possibly can with them!