Yes, dog training is based on common sense. However, you do need to keep in mind a few specific guidelines — the do’s and don’ts — to make sure that you’re successful and fostering a healthy relationship with your dog. The following sections are here to help get you started.

Do’s

  • Do be nice to your dog every time he comes to you (even if he’s just coming back from an unexpected romp around the neighborhood).

  • Do get into the habit of giving a command only once. If your dog doesn’t respond to a command you have taught him, reinforce the command.

  • Do use your dog’s name to get his attention, and then tell him what you want him to do.

  • Do eliminate the word “no” from your training vocabulary.

  • Do use a normal tone of voice when you give a command. Your dog’s hearing is quite acute.

  • Do be consistent in your actions and expectations.

  • Do provide an outlet for your dog’s energies.

  • Do keep your dog mentally stimulated by training him.

  • Do understand that your dog is a social animal. Train him so he can be a part of the family.

  • Do socialize your dog with people and other dogs.

  • Do become your dog’s teacher.

  • Do make learning fun for your dog.

  • Do consistently reward with praise the correct behaviors.

  • Do spend plenty of time with your dog and give him lots of exercise.

  • Do keep trying, and your dog will reward you by getting the message.

  • Do get outside help when you get stuck.

Don’ts

  • Don’t do anything your dog perceives as unpleasant when he comes to you.

  • Don’t nag your dog by repeating commands — nagging teaches him to ignore you.

  • Don’t use your dog’s name and then expect him to read your mind as to what you want.

  • Don’t expect your dog to know what the word “no” means.

  • Don’t yell at your dog. He’s not deaf. Raising your voice doesn’t improve understanding.

  • Don’t confuse your dog with unrealistic expectations.

  • Don’t try to suppress behaviors that need an outlet.

  • Don’t let your dog stagnate.

  • Don’t lock up your dog or put him out because you haven’t trained him to behave.

  • Don’t isolate your dog — he’s a social animal.

  • Don’t expect your dog to obey a command you haven’t taught him.

  • Don’t get too serious in your training.

  • Don’t reward undesired behaviors.

  • Don’t make your dog neurotic by neglecting him.

  • Don’t give up when the going gets tough; keep trying.

  • Don’t blame the dog; you are his teacher.