There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of dog books about this. Since this website can’t be hundreds of pages long (because my paws would get really tired, really training a dog is outside of the scope of what we’re doing here.
We are big fans of the “Dummie” books. This is where the boss started with me and we’ve always found that these books contain tons of really helpful information and they’re done in a really user friendly format.
However, we can tell you a few things that the “experts” won’t tell you as well as a few things they will tell you that you won’t believe… until you don’t do it and then fail.
We’ve learned two things:
- Training is more about the person than it is the dog. (I knew it wasn’t really my fault!)
- The “experts” are usually right. There is a reason they’re experts… they kind of know what they’re doing.
Poor Training (That Means YOU)
Here’s the problem. Most dog owners don’t know a thing about how to train us. You all think if you get mad at the dog about something a few times that it automatically means we’ll stop doing it… even though the next few times it happens… we don’t get in trouble.
If there is food on the counter and I get in trouble for grabbing it the first four times but NOT the fifth… I’m thinking it might be worth it to grab it again and hope it will be one of the times you don’t want to get off the couch. Or you just want to yell at me from across the room.
It’s not about the dog… it’s about the trainer… and the consistency of the trainer.
Our vet once said (well, she said it more than once because the boss is a slow learner… and kind of lazy). “Never give an order that you are not in a position to enforce.”
As a dog I’m not a big fan of that, but once I KNOW that I have to do what she says… then I give up and start doing it. You have to correct the dog every single time they do what you don’t want them to. Not most of the time… every single time.
Sometimes it’s helpful to “set us up” (although I’m not sure I really think that is fair)
For example if you’re having trouble keeping the dog off the counters, purposely put some food at the edge of the counter so it’s easily within the dog’s reach. Then stay close and pay attention so you can make the correction instantly.
Have I mentioned that the trainer is more important in this equation than the dog? If you pay attention and are consistent in what behavior correct, any dog can learn what you want them to.
Does your dog do something that they shouldn’t be doing?
Did you TEACH them that they shouldn’t do it? Telling them doesn’t count, you have to teach them what is ok and what is not ok. Oh… and you have to be consistent about it… did I mention that yet? I know I said it already, but if you’re as slow as my boss is, I need to mention it more than once!!