Dog training is completely unnatural. Everything you’re supposed to do is exactly the opposite of what you instinctively want to do. When you think about it, us following our human instinct may not be the best way to communicate with our dog. We picked the most common “dont’s” we typically see and set some pointers to help you out. Turn those don’ts into do’s with our KeenDog Tips!
Dog Training Tip 1: Don’t Chase Your Dog When They Run Away.
I know it sounds crazy, but it is only going to make it 10 times harder to get your dog back. When you chase after them you’re then joining in on their game of tag and unfortunately you are “it”.
KeenDog Tip: Run the opposite way. If you run away from your dog, you’ve changed the roles of the game. Body motion is huge in dog training. Encourage them in the direction you want them to go by doing it yourself. Monkey see, monkey do.
Dog Training Tip 2: They Don’t Understand English
While I enjoy talking to my pup just as much as the next guy, just know that they don’t understand you. Yes, we teach verbal cues but that is not until they are familiar with the behavior. Your dog is never going to understand what a word means unless you teach it to them. Not to mention, talking to them in full sentences just confuses them.
KeenDog Tip: When teaching a command don’t start with the verbal cue. Saying “ Sit. Sit. Sit.” means nothing to them because they don’t communicate verbally like humans do. Use body motion, marker words and lures to get the behavior you want first. Once they start offering up the behavior easier then you’d add in the verbal cue.
Dog Training Tip 3: Don’t Harp on the Negatives.
Just remember that your dog is a dog. They need to be guided as to what is right and what is wrong. Dogs, especially puppies, can be frustrating at times but please don’t take it out on them. Being too harsh can have a big effect on your dog’s confidence. Plus, do you really want them to be scared of you. You want to be the one they look to in situations, not the one they fear.
KeenDog Tip: Attention is attention positive or negative. Just like how teenagers act out for attention, dogs will do that same thing. Try not to harp on the bad behaviors, but rather on the positive ones. If they are getting more attention for the good things they do, they are more likely to offer those up rather than the negative ones.
Dog Training Tip 4: Don’t Be Scared of the Crate.
The crate can be your dog’s best friend when you teach it correctly. Most people feel guilty about putting their dog in the crate. And in turn, they only put them in there when they HAVE to, which is usually for long periods of time; going to work, going to bed, going out. This is going to build their association of the crate as a really long boring time. Think of their crate like your room. It’s the place you can go to relax and get away from everyone. Dogs are just like children. They need naps, especially after a lot of activity.
KeenDog Tip: Put your dog up for short periods of time throughout the day, especially after training. It will give them the quiet time they need. If you only put them up for long periods time, they are going to dread it. To help build a positive association, give your dog their breakfast or dinner in their crate as well.
Dog Training Tip 5: Don’t Let Them Meet Everyone.
This is especially important for puppies. Allowing your dog to meet everyone and everything is going make it really difficult to bring them out in public. One, you’ve lost your leverage. You are no longer a priority to them anymore because they are more interested in the other people around you. Two, I don’t think you want your dog pulling and lunging toward every stranger you walk past, let alone every dog. As I said, this is especially important for puppies. They are learning and developing. If they get lots of praise and attention by everyone around them all the time, it’s only natural for them to be overly excited by those stimulants throughout their life.
KeenDog Tip: If you’re out and about try to limit the amount of people and dogs your dog greets. If they are pulling you, DO NOT let them meet. Essentially, they are getting a reward ( the praise from the other person ) for pulling on that leash. They’ll learn that pulling on the leash will get them a reward. This results in a pulley dog who struggles to focus in high distraction environments. It is smart to purchase an in-training vest to help detour strangers away.
Remember that your dog is a dog and not a human. They do not think the same way us seasoned humans do. Try and see the world in their eyes. Most things are black and white (both figuratively and literally). This one step will certainly help you communicate more efficiently with your pup.
If you follow our tips, we guarantee you’ll see better results with your dog training.
– Brittany Turner, KeenDog Trainer