1. Know your dog!!!
Find out what motivates your dog. Some dogs will do anything for food while others love nothing more than a fun game with you and a toy or praise. Once you find out what that is, then only let them have it when you are training with them. If you are using food make sure that you use high value food rewards that will keep your dog engaged and focused.
2. Relax and have fun!
Motivate your dog to want to be with you and enjoy training. The more you make it into a game the more your dog will enjoy the training. Dogs are sensitive to our body language and especially out tone of voice. Use an upbeat tone and smile enthusiastically when your dog does what you are asking of them.
3. Control your environment
When you start training a new command do it in a quiet place with no distraction. Once your dog understands the command build up distractions slowly so they are is able to focus on you eventually in any situation. First at home, then out on a walk.
Your dog is communicating to you all the time. Try to tune into subtle expressions and body language your dog displays so you can better understand what they are trying to tell you.
5. Don’t talk to much
Use one command for each exercise and avoid repeating commands. Repeating commands teaches your dog to ignore you and you will find yourself having to repeat commands while your dog is focusing on everything but you. If your dog requires too much repetition they either do not understand the command, which means you need to go back to basics and teach it again, or up your motivation and/or reward.
6. Be consistent
Use the same words and rules for everything. Using different words or allowing your dog to do something some of the time but not all the time will confuse your dog. Also your tone of voice and hand signals should be the same every time. By being as consistent as possible you are helping your dog clearly understand what is expected of him.
Building a strong bond with your dog is the key to achieving respect, trust and friendship. Once your dog understands that they can trust what you are asking of them in any given situation you have a relationship where your dog is looking to you for guidance. As a result you have a dog that is more relaxed and balanced.
Dogs live in the moment. When training make sure you offer the reward no later than 2 – 5 seconds after the dog completes the exercise correctly so they understand what they have just done will be reward for.
9. Keep your training sessions short
You can train anywhere, anytime. While making a cup of tea, or out on a walk. Keeping your sessions short and interesting will make training more fun for your dog. Remember to always end on a positive note, have a play session with your dog or give them a reward and cue a release that training is finished. If you ever find yourself becoming frustrated. Stop. Never train while you are frustrated or angry.
10. Expect the best
Once your dog understands an exercise, expect them to complete it perfectly. This will keep the training sharp and your dog will try harder to work with you.
Most of all have a great time. Your energy will be infectious for your dog and both of you will look forward to training together.