Dogs are very adaptable. Who they are and who they become depends in large part on how they are trained and how they are treated. Training them with consistency is one of the major keys to successful dog training. Consistency has nothing to do with words and everything to do with behavior. Training your dog with consistency is vital because it does three important things.
First, it establishes who’s in control (Here’s a tip: it should be you!). Second, it actually puts your dog at ease because it makes him feel more secure. And third, it teaches your dog right from wrong. That way, he will know what behavior is acceptable, and what behavior is not.
So how can you be more consistent in training your dog? Here are some tips:
1. Work with your dog every day. If possible, set a time and stick to it. Dogs are very routine-oriented. So the more consistent your schedule, the easier it will be for him to learn. And believe it or not, this will help you, too.
2. Expect the right behavior from your dog. If you give your dog a command, he should do it. If he doesn’t, you should reprimand him. Don’t let him get away with ignoring you. Remember, you’re the owner, he’s the dog. You are the one who makes the decisions. Expect and enforce the right behavior.
3. Use praise often. Behavior that is praised is behavior that is repeated. We all love when others praise us. Your dog is no different. Just as you reprimand him for being disobedient, you should praise your dog when he is obedient. When he listens and responds…reward him. (Tip: Your tone of voice is very important. Praise him with a fun, excited tone. He’ll respond better to this!)
4. Don’t confuse your dog by giving him changing commands. You must use the same word for a particular command every time (for example, don’t use "Come” sometimes and "Come here” other times). Determine your command words, and use the same ones for the specific behavior you want your dog to possess.
5. Be patient. Behavior is changed and developed over time. You don’t train a dog in one day. So, be patient. If you will discipline yourself and be consistent, your dog’s behavior will change to how you want it to be. Don’t get frustrated and give up. Be patient…persevere. (Tip: Don’t raise your voice and never yell at your dog! Some people believe this is effective, but we do not. At Off-Leash K9 Dog Training, we train our dogs without yelling. You don’t want your dog responding to you out of fear!)
6. Use the power of repetition. Someone said that "repetition reinforces.” It’s true, so work your dog. Stick to it…day in, day out. Keep using the same words, correcting when appropriate, praising as often as you can, and repeating the actions you are teaching your dog.
Consistency is the key to training your dog. You can do this. Just stick with it.