Reviewing the Do’s and Don’ts of Dog Training

Part of the Dog Training For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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.

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