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Training: Leadership=Success

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Many Experts~There are probably as many approaches to dog training/teaching as there are dog breeds.  Most techniques approach canine learning as if applying to all breeds and all individual dogs.  In my view,  this is a faulty premise due to the tremendous variations among breeds' purposes as well as canine individuality.  In spite of shortcomings it often works out well enough,.but what about when it doesn't?

I have come across training instructions occasionally which seem out of touch with canine reality. As if a psychologist who had only theoretical dog experience, thought them up. I have seen sometimes laughable,  and even disturbing scenes, as people try to employ various misguided techniques they were taught in dog classes or through books.    

From my careful observations of hundreds of dogs, and many different breeds, it seems clear to me that training is more effective when tailored to the individual dog . I believe in doing what works, quickly discarding what doesn't, and thinking creatively too. If what you are doing 'by the book' isn't working (even though you are doing it properly) then use your imagination! One person I know had a problem with his dog jumping and scratching on the door.  Nothing worked. He found a solution with that particular dog by putting ballons all over the door that popped when the dog jumped on them. 

There are basic principles recognized as true by all training professionals.regardless of their differences. Most of these principles are so sound they even apply to communication and relationships between people (marriage, friendships, family)  not just between people and dogs!

 . Many years ago I began to change my own behavior according to what I learned from animals. I discovered how much better life worked for me this way. I am not refering to manipulating others, it is primarily about yourself. Retraining yourself to become more effective in your communication, to become aware of the actual effect your words and actions are having, not just what you believe.. Learning how to become more clear in the messages you are sending to your dog, your spouse, your friends, your environment.often leads to discovering that they aren't actually recieving the message you thought you were sending. You may have contradictory actions to what you intended with your words. .Conduct, actions,  words, must all be in alignment to carry the desired message and effect.. 

When words and actions are in alignment, are well timed and clear, they are potent and effective. When there is contradiction in  word and action, the impulse is weakened, the arrow does not go straight to the target if it reaches the target at all.  These highly effective principles are infinitely well worth the self-discipline needed to put into practice!. Habits die hard, replacing an old habit with a new, more productive one, takes intention, commitment and repetition. The great results you get will reinforce your will to succeed! The  basics are spelled out below.     


The keystone of effective training is TIMING and CONSISTENCY..It is wisely said, 'timing is everything' and that is very true. Rewards,  praise or corrections are worse than useless if given at the wrong moment.. For the dog to make the connection with its behavior your response must be immediate.  Be aware of what it is you are actually reinforcing or discouraging! If your training isn't working, don't think "the dog just doesnt get it!", instead think, "what am i communicating? What am i reinforcing?" This is a worthy question to ask ourselves in our human relationships also. 

COMMUNICATION must be clear, otherwise it fails to be communication!  Just to have "sent a message" isnt enough, you have to see that it was recieved. If it is not, then examine how/why it failed.  It usually is due to inconsistency.  CONSISTENCY is the heart of this person-dog communication. If you get the timing right on a correction, except sometimes when busy you "can't".. you have undone your previous efforts. The dog will learn something, but not what you intended. The dog is learning all the time..if you dont make sure its learning what you want, you can count on it learning what you dont want. 

 THE  POWER OF YOUR WORD..  Another pertinant saying here is "you are only as good as your word" . People tend to rattle on when either reprimanding, reinforcing, or giving an order. It's just noise to the dog This takes power out of your words. Keep praise,corrections and commands to a couple words, no more, and they should be always the same. Your words will have meaning then..but the most important power "leak" is if you dont follow through. When telling the dog to do something you must always carry through. Dont "ask"/ do "tell."..

 Never tell your dog to do something and not be in a position to back it up if the dog doesnt do it! Its always good to have a treat ready in your pocket to reinforce desired behavior when it occurs naturally.. And when a correction is made..wait a moment for learning to sink in, then tell your dog to do something easy, and praise when its done! In other words, when the dog has done something "wrong", have it then do something "right."

Tip~ Eye contact is important in training, you must have the dogs attention to facilitate learning. Some dogs naturally look at your face when you speak.  There are others that seem to look everywhere else instead. For those types, say the dogs name, make a noise, when the dog finally looks at your face, makes eye contact, praise and give a treat. This is just to get them started looking at your face when you speak ... 


Here I'll list the tips to make this page easier to scan.
Tip 1  No One Method Right For All                                      Tip 2: Reward and Corrections: Timing is Key
Tip 3: " Zen and the Art of.."

I'll update this page frequently so check back often!

Your happiness~Our reward