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Infinite Pawsibilities

  • Writer's pictureCharles Pennefather

Three Of The Most Important Things in Dog Training

Dog training, like a lot of things, seems easy when someone on the Internet does it, but your dog hasn’t watched those videos, so he probably won’t respond the same way. If you do decide to train your dog yourself, there are three important things I’d like to share with you that will help increase your odds of success if done right.

1. Understand what a reward is.

When we talk about a reward, we usually think ‘treat’. But what if the dog isn’t food motivated? Even if the dog loves food, it is never a good idea to stay stuck with treats, because you can’t realistically carry food around in your pockets whenever you go for a walk/trip, and if your dog is scared, food will be the last thing on his mind. Treats are merely a bridge to the real reward: you. If you are the reward, then you don’t any other tools because you will always have this one handy.

2. Get the reward timing right

It’s important to reward the dog at the correct time. Say a dog is barking and you want her to stop. Giving her a treat to stop while she’s barking will only send the message that barking leads to treats! Wait until she settles or keeps quiet for more than a few seconds, then reward. Ignore the dog while the barking carries on, as difficult as it might be. This will take a short while to get right, but if your timing is good, your dog will learn wanted behaviours quite quickly!

3. Praise more than correction, always

Parenting has changed quite a bit over the decades – so has dog training. Just like parenting, modern dog training focuses on positive methods. So if your dog obeys a command, always offer praise. The positive feedback should always be greater than the many ‘nos’ that you utter. A mumbled ‘good dog’ is not enough… be effusive in your praise, and watch your dog turn into a good boi!


Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule – some dogs won’t be food motivated, and others will not respond to praise the way you’d expect them to. That is why a professional dog trainer is always an asset. The knowledge and experience they bring to the table is exclusive (and therefor invaluable) to your dog!

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