Training a well-mannered dog is about leadership (yours) and respect (his). If you want your dog to behave perfectly for someone else, have someone else train him. If you want him to respond obediently to you, YOU need to learn to manage his behavior yourself. Earn your dog’s respect by being a confident, competent leader that he can look up to. He will automatically be more attentive and obedient. A strong leader is exactly what a dog is looking for – someone to trust and follow. While obedience training and specific commands can be useful in creating your leadership image, they are not critical. Even if you don’t have time to go to classes or practice, you can still develop leadership skills and control your dog’s behavior.
Consider these tips when you are training your dog:
Determine What You Want
Which of your dog’s behaviors are acceptable, which unacceptable? Bring the family into the discussion, but don’t be afraid to set high standards.
Communicate the Rules
When your dog breaks one of your rules, give a loud, stern “NO!” and let him know what he did was unacceptable. When he stops the bad behavior, immediately reward him with a happy “YES!” and plenty of additional praise. By discouraging bad behavior and rewarding good behavior, you communicate your rules and mold your dog into what you want him to be. This is how wild dogs learn the rules of their pack.
Don’t change the rules. If Dad doesn’t allow Spike on the sofa, there’s no reason Rover should be allowed to. Don’t change the definitions. If your command for lie down is “Down”, don’t use that command when your dog jumps up on you. Use another word, like “Off”.
Enforce the rules – always. If you tell your dog to do something and he walks away instead, go get him and insist that he comply. If you don’t follow through, your leadership will be fatally undermined.
Don’t Get Angry, Stay In Control
When your dog disobeys, don’t get angry. Anger is a loss of your own emotional control, and a true leader never loses control. At best, anger will confuse your dog; at worst, it may result in confrontation. Calmly take control of yourself and your dog, correct your dog’s behavior, then praise him for getting it right.