Communication is everything in dog training. If you are not communicating
properly you are making it much more difficult for not only you, but your dog as
well. Consistency is the name of the game. Pick two words, a yes phrase, and a
no phrase. Typically a yes phrase would be, “good boy” and a no phrase would be,
“no.” By staying consistent and using the same two words, it will be much
easier for your dog to figure out if he is doing something wrong or right.
This brings me to my next point, as a society I think we focus so much on
telling the dog when he is bad, but not praising him when he is good. Let your
dog know when he is doing the right thing. Chances are he is doing it 80% of the
time, but all that sticks out in our brains is the 20% of the time that he is
doing wrong. If you take the time to praise him for the good stuff, he will
start to understand that’s what you want. This means he will start doing what
you want, because it means good things, compared to doing what you don’t want,
which means bad things.
The yes phrase, in the beginning should be paired with praise and treats.
Over a short period of time, once he starts hearing the “good boy” he will start
to think about praise and treats, which will make him want to do it again. The
no phrase needs to be very business like. If your dog is getting up on the
counter, say “no” and go and intervene. No simply means I’m coming to remove
you. This needs to be very consistent. It can’t be, “no!, no!, no!, I mean it
this time, I’m coming over there!” With consistency the dog will hear “no” and
then get down on his own because he knows you’re coming anyway. He will then
start to figure out if he gets up there you will just say “no” and remove him so
he won’t even bother. See a pattern here? Its all about consistency. The no word
is the precursor to punishment. But punishment doesn’t always have to be intense
yelling and hitting. Giving a dog a timeout can be way more effective, and your
blood pressure can stay right where it was prior. Give this a try and let me
know how it works for you.