Dog Training For Dummies, 4th Edition
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Yes, dog training is based on common sense. However, you do need to keep in mind a few specific guidelines — the dos 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 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 her, reinforce the command.

  • Do use your dog’s name to get her attention, and then tell her what you want her 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 her 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’t do anything your dog perceives as unpleasant when she 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. She’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 her out because you haven’t trained her 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 her.

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

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

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Wendy Volhard is internationally recognized for her contributions to dog training over the past 30 years. At the heart of her teaching is the motivational method for people who value dogs as companions. Mary Ann Rombold Zeigenfuse, LVT, has been working with dogs and their owners for more than 40 years. She runs Best Friends Obedience in Lexington, KY.

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