1) We rarely do things to our dogs that we know they don’t like. Dogs communicate with very subtle body language. When we notice they’re uncomfortable, we stop doing whatever we’re doing that upsets them. The same way we would stop doing things that annoy our partners and friends etc.
2) We train little and often. We don’t set aside hours each day to train, but we do do something most days. Even if that’s just playing a game of tug. We spend 5 or 10 minutes here and there reinforcing the behaviours we like. Getting into the habit of doing little things daily (that are beneficial) generally leads to big improvements over time.
3) We manage our dogs. It’s not that we are strict and don’t let them get away with ‘bad’ behaviour. We simply don’t let them practice it, or we restrict them from doing it, especially early on. Habits are habits. Good or bad, they’re both just as hard to break. Don’t let your dog develop bad habits.
4)We use a high rate of reinforcement initially. If a dog is not being ‘bad’ that’s good in our eyes. We let them know. Food, praise, toys, whatever. They do something we like, they get something they like. Simple as that.
5) We slice criteria very finely. If we are teaching a recall, we’re teaching a recall. We’re not teaching a sit and a stay at the same time initially, the dog gets reinforced for coming back to us - that’s it. We can make the criteria harder later on.
Think about these things the next time you interact with your dog.
See what happens. 👍