Hey even I’m willing to learn new things if there’s a Chicago pizza in it for me. Food is a great way to reinforce behaviors you teach your dog. When using treats for training, use small bits of something special, not whole biscuits or pieces of Rosie’s regular food. You can buy specially packaged treats at pet supply stores, but most dogs like bits of cheese, hotdogs, chicken liver, chicken or any meat. When using treats to teach commands, gradually replace food with praise as Rosie learns. Remember to reinforce occasionally with a bit of the favorite snack.
Teaching your dog to come to you every time she’s called
The "come" command can save the life of your dog. A dog that comes on command is a joy; a dog that takes off in the other direction or runs into the street is trouble waiting to happen.
The worst thing you can do to ruin the come command is to call your dog to punish her for something. In your dog’s mind, she’s being punished for coming. Make coming to you the most wonderful thing in her life. Build an absolute trust between you an your dog that if she comes to you she has nothing to worry about; it will always be a positive experience. Make it a fun game! Play hide and seek: station two or more people in different parts of the house or backyard. Call your dog and when she finds you, reward her with food and lots of praise. Do this twice a day for 10 minutes or until you or your dog is too tired to play anymore. This may turn out to be your dog’s favorite game. (My dog absolutely loves this game.)
Booby Traps and Sting Operations
Interactive punishment should be avoided as much as possible because you risk making the dog afraid of you. When our new dog would invade the safe refuge space of our cat, we hid under the blanket with a spray bottle of water. As soon as the dog would try to jump up to the cat, she’d get a spray. It only took two sprays to convince her that the cat had this strange and uncomfortable water power.
Teaching “Drop It”
This is another important command and very easy to learn. Give your dog a ball or other toy. When it’s in her mouth, show her a food treat and say DROP IT. She will have to drop the toy to eat the treat. When she does, praise her and give her the treat.
© 2004 Debbie Puente
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