ANITA'S ANIMAL CORNER
When we first arrived at Lakeside our Suzy was in terrible shape. She had separation anxiety from the drive down and was completely out of control with anxiety. We hired a dog trainer, who really trained us not her, and set to work. He worked miracles. With my Maggie Muggins, there is just no help. She is as smart as they come and has us completely baffled. She is a purebred Mexican dog and I swear she only understands Español. As you will see below, most of the work is done by the owner and not the dog.
The timing of corrections
AND praise MUST be impeccable. It is TOO late to correct or praise if
the dog is not doing what you want to reinforce.
If you do not want Poochie on the couch, then he should NEVER be allowed on the couch. If you do not want your dog to jump up on you when you are going out, then he also should not be allowed to jump up on you when you are wearing jeans. If you want your dog to lay down and he doesnt, follow through by showing him what you expect. The best way to lose your dogs respect is by not following through on commands.
If Poochie is lying quietly on the floor chewing a bone, tell him what a GOOD DOG he is! Even if you have a difficult time getting your dog to follow a command, being angry will only make it worse. You need to lose the anger and let him know he is good for coming (through clenched teeth, resisting the urge to strangle him!). After all, he DID come to you. Dog training class instructors have a MUCH more difficult time getting dog owners to PRAISE their dogs than they do in getting them to correct their dogs!
TELL your dog, dont ASK him! If he doesnt comply, then SHOW him! However, FIRMNESS does NOT mean MEAN! Develop a tone in your voice that he will recognize as Oh, oh, he means business!
your dog to understand what you want from him. Once he has a good understanding
of what you expect, then you can correct and show him the appropriate
behavior. When teaching, break each exercise down to small portions.
For example, when teaching STAY, the dog cannot be left while the handler
walks across the room. Instead, the handler, after giving the stay command
steps directly in front of the dog, standing toes to toes, and counts
to FIVE. The handler then returns to the dog and PRAISES it the distance
between dog and handler can be increased as the dog begins to understand
what stay means.