Train your way to the best dog you’ve ever had!
Want a well-behaved dog? Here’s the secret, and guess what: it’s easy. Notice and reward behavior you like!
Your dog will be the talk of the town with these easy to follow training steps.
#1 Make a list of things your dog loves.
#2 Make a list of things you want your dog to do more of.
#3 Notice and reward behavior you like.
Step 1: Things my dog loves!
Going outside, coming in, going out again (you get the picture), mealtime, attention, petting, getting his leash on, TREATS, getting on my bed, chasing a toy, saying hi to people / other dogs, getting the leash off (at the dog park), etc.
Every item on your list can be used to reward behaviors you like, and behaviors that are noticed and rewarded (with something your dog wants) will be repeated. When your dog walks up to you and keeps all four feet on the ground, giving him attention, petting, or calm praise tells him four on the floor is a good thing that should be repeated. I like to measure out ¼ cup of my dog’s food in the morning to use throughout the day to reward behaviors I like. When he sits? Good boy, here’s some of your breakfast.
Step 2: I want my dog to…
Make a list of things you want your dog to do. Here are a few examples of goals and how you might prioritize them.
#1 Keep all four feet on the floor.
#2 Run to me quickly when I say “come.”
#3 Chew on his own toys.
#4 Go potty outside!
#5 Sleep on his own bed.
Step 3: Notice and reward behavior you like.
Generously dole out items your dog loves when you see him doing something you like. I keep small dishes of treats (air-tight during ant season) stashed around my house so I’m always ready to reward when I notice my dog doing something I really like.
What does rewarding a behavior look like?
- Come running when I call you = let’s have a petting party! Good Boy!
- Pick up your own toy = good boy, let’s play a game of tug or fetch.
- Sit = I open the door so you can go outside.
- Sit = I will put your food dish down.
- Keep all four on the floor = doggy cookies!
Jennifer Biglan, owner of Training Spot in Eugene, OR, is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner in Eugene, OR. She knew she wanted to work with animals at a young age. After graduating from the U of O and volunteering at a dog shelter, she found her calling. Jennifer is well known through the community, and by many area veterinarians for her work in solving behavior problems, and she has extensive knowledge and background training dogs. Learn more about Training Spot at trainingspot.us or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.