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A poorly trained dog is a nuisance and can even be a danger to himself and others. A properly trained dog, on the other had, is a wonderful and pleasant companion. In addition to helping you bond, it can even protect your pet from being hurt if he listens and will come when called.
When training always remember that dogs respond best to positive reinforcement - yelling at your dog and hitting him will not accomplish the task, instead use rewards such as treats and your approval - this will make the task much more pleasant for both of you!
There is a common "process" to training, no matter what you want the dog to do. They key is to get the dog to perform the action and at that exact moment give the command for the action, then praise the dog and reward him with a treat. After a while, he will catch on and associate the action with the command.
Here's some steps you can use to train your dog with the most basic command - Sit.
1. The first thing you need to do is to get your puppy or dog to associate the act of sitting with the command. To do this, simply hang around with your dog and when he sits give the "sit" command.
2. Getting down to your dogs level will allow you to present his reward (treats) quicker so grab a handful of bite sized treats and get down on the floor.
3. Bring the treat up over the dogs head. He will smell the food and follow it with his nose. This action will cause him to sit (or backup, but obviously we are hoping for the sitting action).
4. The key to the training is to present the reward at the exact moment the dog sits, but you must also give the command at that moment as well so that he associates command with action. So as the dog sits, say "sit" and then immediately give him the treat.
5. Give the dog praise - show joy in your voice and he will really respond.
6. Repeat three to five times at each session but no more than that. Training should be fun and not a boring chore so don't overdo it in one sitting. You may have several sessions throughout the day.
When you spend the time to train your dog, you get much more than just a dog that does some tricks. He loves to do things with you. He learns to listen when you say his name. He gets used to being with you and doing things on your initiative. Through good training your position as leader is strengthened. You should plan to spend a couple of minutes every day on practicing his "tricks". This type of repetitive reinforcement will help him to remember and also create the bond between you.
Lee Dobbins is a pet owner and writer for train the dog.com where you can learn more about training your dog and which breeds are easier to train.
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