I’ve been racking my brain to lay out the easiest way to introduce the basics of training. Where to start? I’ve talked about some of these specifics over the last few weeks but here’s where we need to start and we will continue to build over the next weeks and months. I suspect my path may be too circuitous for some. If that is the case, then post your questions and I will build from there. I know blogs are supposed to be about my stream of consciousness, but really, it should meet your needs and the need of your canine companions.
Our training will be:
1) using force-free training methods
2) we will always use our inside voices. In other words, we will do our level best not to yell. We can call, we can be firm but we will not screech at our pets. For those of you who have dogs that have been rescued from questionable or abusive backgrounds, this will really be a different approach to communication. Think of it this way, if every conversation you had with friends or family were yelled at you, how would you feel?
3) dont’ stress. I know, this is easier said than done but just take a deep breath and remember to keep breathing in a calm and measured way. Remain patient. Let the dog make mistakes but be kind, not by acknowledging the mistakes but praising and rewarding when you get the desired behavior. Dogs really can feel your stress at the other end of the leash!
4) rewarding for your dog. Reward often and quickly after the requested behavior is offered. Let me introduce a new concept – there should be NO free lunch. Meaning, the dog should ALWAYS earn his reward. If necessary, set him up for success.
Throughout my posting I will talk about clicker training for those of you who want to learn about it as well as for those of you who use it and want to continue include clicker training in your work. Also, I will continue to introduce specific TTouch techniques and tools.