10 Rules For Dog Training
by - Dianne Thomas, Obedience Exhibitor and Instructor

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1. Make learning fun for both you and your dog. Spend 10 minutes 2 or 3 times daily. The training sessions should be separated by 4 hours for maximum efficiency of learning. Normal dogs of any age can learn if you use patience, praise and rewards.

2. Train the dog to come, sit, stay, down, down-stay off leash, and to heel on leash in this order. Be progressively more demanding. If the dog fails at any level, stop, donít reward, and start again at a simpler command. You will find that your dogs motivation to perform decreases as the complexity of the task increases. Make learning fun.

3. Use one word commands. Do not combine them with the dogs name, which should only be used to get the dogs attention. Itís easy to talk too much to your dog. If you do, the command you are trying teach gets lost in all the verbiage. This is a common mistake made by beginner dog trainers.

4. Train the dog in a quiet environment with few distractions. Once the response is learned there, move the training location to progressively more complex and stimulating environments. The dog will have to be trained in each environment that you wish him to respond in. You may start in the basement, kitchen, back yard and donít forget obedience classes, where you will have the distractions of other dogs.

5. The dog will learn most rapidly if every desired response is rewarded. Once this behavior is established, reward it immediately. This will make the response more permanent, and less likely to be forgotten.

6. Use valued rewards. Find out which your dog likes most (food, touch, verbal praise) and use that reward most frequently in the beginning. As the training progresses mix up the types of reward given.

7. Once the dog knows the commands, you can start giving him a quieter voice. Gradually decrease the loudness of your commands, rewarding the dog for the appropriate response.

8. How quickly and enthusiastically the dog responds is a function of the intensity of the training. If your dog responds only when he feels like it, start training again using these rules.

9. The longer an unwanted, learned behavior has been performed, the longer it takes to recondition it.


Punishment may frighten or excite your dog, which reduces his ability to learn. If the dog is performing some unwanted behaviour , ignore it. Instead, call the dog to you, tell him to sit, and reward him for doing so. Your dog wants to please you, and if he can do something and be rewarded for it, he will. If you totally ignore unwanted behaviour, the dog will not be rewarded for performing it, and will eventually stop. If the dog has learned that he will get attention when he performs the behaviour, the activity will increase in frequency and intensity when you first start ignoring it. PERSEVERE AND IT WILL STOP.


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