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Obedience Tips and Tricks

Tips and Hints for Success

Socialization and Play

- Socialization with many different people and other animals is important to your pet’s development.

-Play is excellent physical and mental stimulation for your dog, and it satisfies a natural instinct.

-Play with rules and boundaries should be part of early training.

-Provide a variety of toys such as: stuffed KONGs. rope toy, squeaky toy, puzzle cube, Frisbee.

Early Training

-The foundation of training is a bond built on daily interaction and mutual respect.

-Consistent humane training is the most effective.

-Training is a process not an event.

-Prevent, ignore and re-direct unwanted behaviors.

-Acknowledge and reward desirable behaviors.


-Like humans, dogs need exercise and mental stimulation.

-A consistent exercise routine burns energy and calms your dog (visit our web page for a complete handout on exercise).

-Exercise means interaction with the family, playing games, walking, jogging.

-A well exercised dog is a well behaved dog.

A Space of Their Own

-A crate is the best way to keep your puppy out of trouble when you can’t supervise.

-Your dog should have a place to go to get away from the kids if he chooses.

-A soft bed can be carried from room to room, so your dog always knows where he is supposed to be.

-Direct you dog to “Go to bed and settle down” rather than constant corrections.

Environmental Management

-Be proactive and set your dog up for success.

-If you don’t want the dog to have it, put it away.

-Don’t give your puppy free run of the house—it’s too much responsibility. Instead, allow him access to the areas in the house where you are ONLY.

-Close doors to off-limits rooms, use baby gates to limit your puppy’s freedom.

Supervise your puppy as much as possible, then supervise some more!


-Good nutrition is extremely important in your puppy’s development and behavior.

-Avoid too much protein, additives, preservatives and dyes in his food.

-What your dog eats will often directly affect behavior.

Nothing In Life Is Free

-Practice this with your dog at home.

-When providing resources for your dog (food, walks, play time, treats), ask for something first.

-Use sit and down cues to ask for behaviors before providing resources.

-Your dog should do something in order to get what he wants.

-Make it easy at first, then up the ante.

-Set boundaries and realistic expectations for your pet.

Lure and Reward / Free Shaping

-This easy training method will help you to catch your dog doing something right!

-Reward spontaneous behavior. If your dog sits, praise him and offer a food reward.

-Capture behaviors you want and reward them with praise and treats.

-Set aside time to practice free shaping behaviors and reward only the one behavior you are working on, such as sit.

-Wait for it, and it will happen.

-Use food rewards or whatever is a motivator for your dog (tennis ball, squeaky toy) to lure a behavior or position, then reward with the treat. Pair a reward with verbal praise as a marker such as “Good dog” or “Yes”.

-Only start to use a verbal cue once your dog is readily offering the behavior. Always pre text a cue with your dog’s name to get his attention; “Buster, Sit”.

-All cued behaviors should have a release that marks the end of the behavior. You can use “All done”, “Free”, “OK” or whatever you want, as long as it is the same word each time. Use this cue to let your dog know he has completed the desired behavior and he is free to move around. A good release cue can let your dog know he has done a good job and ease training pressure.

Have FUN

- Don’t stress or tense up. Sometimes it is hard for you dog to understand what you want and he may become confused or distracted.

-Take a break if you need to. If something is not coming together, stop and try again later.

-Always end your training sessions on a happy note. The last cue should be something you know your dog knows and can accomplish successfully.

-Short, frequent sessions are the best for training your pet.

Strengthening the Dog – Human Bond Through Positive Training

Why Positive Reinforcement Training?

Positive training builds a strong bond based on trust and mutual respect, not fear.

Positive training uses the most current knowledge of dog behavior and learning theory.

Positive training always takes the physical and emotional well-being of the individual dog into account.

We have an ethical responsibility to use the kindest, most humane methods available to teach our dogs how to live in our world.

Harsh punishment damages the bond with your dog and has him obeying out of fear. This kills spontaneity.

Positive methods have your dog obeying, because he knows something good will happen!

Positive methods are more humane, and MORE EFFECTIVE!

Positive Training Principles [Taken from The Power of Positive Dog Training, by Pat Miller]

All Living Things Repeat Behaviors That Are Rewarding And Avoid Behaviors That Are Not Remembering this concept, you can teach every behavior you want your dog to do and change every behavior you don’t want. You do not have to punish your dog, you just have to make the right behavior rewarding enough that your dog will choose to do that behavior instead of an inappropriate one. You accomplish this by rewarding the behaviors you want and ignoring or preventing those you don’t want.

Think in Terms of What You Want Your Dog To Do, Not What You Want Him NOT To Do This is the formula for modifying unwanted behavior. All you have to do is figure out how to prevent your dog from being rewarded for the behaviors you don’t want and reward him consistently and generously for the behaviors you do want.

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