To the good dog trainer, you need to be able to read your dog – recognise what he’s about to do something wrong, and understand when to administer praise or a correction. But it also helps to be able to understand a little canine communication and to communicate in a similar language – that is , to convey what you want in a language the dog understand.
It is about the frame of mind you need to be in to effectively and efficiently train your dog to be a cherished member of the house and a valued partner in the field. Consider this article a little trainer training before you begin dog training.
Like most things in life, successful training depends almost entirely upon attitude. Begin this enterprise with the right attitude, and you stand to take only positive steps forward : Lose that positive attitude, and the experience will be one step forward, two steps back. Both trainer and the dog will be the worse for it.
So let’s get one fact out in the open right from the beginning : Consistency, positive reinforcement and patience will always win out in the end. There will most assuredly be times for discipline, too , to curtail disruptive or destructive behaviour : however, you should always first ask yourself if the dog actually knows what is being asked of him before you administer correction. More often than not, the faults of the dog are the faults of the trainer.
Stage one : We all get a puppy with dreams of owning a champion or , at the very last , the dog of a lifetime. This felling is more intense if we’re paying a good amount of money for the dog or if the dog comes from champion bloodlines. The raw material is there; it’s in the dog;s genes to be a champion. This training stuff can’t be too hard, cant it ?
We picture posing with our six-month old at his induction ceremony into the Bird dog Hall of fame.
The reality is that is’s not going to happen. In fact, this overconfidence is one of the worst frames of mind to have when approaching a new puppy. We should put those drams of greatness out of our puppy-dog eyes staring up at us. This brand -new dog with a brand new family doesn’t need that, kind of pressure.
Stage two: After we’ve trained that soon-to-be champion for a while, we hit a lot of walls; but the dog still shows enough promise to keep the fires of that ”great dog” dream burning in our mind. The Hall of Fame goal is replaced by the desire top have the best dog of all our hunting – pals – or at least a dog that will outperform any other dog he hunts with on any given day.
This goal may be a little bit more realistic, but it’s still too much pressure and too much to expect, especially if this is our first dog. Hunting dogs are the equivalent of professional athletes. There will be days when they won’t be able to hit the curve ball or make the free throw just like athletes.
Stage Tree: At this point, we go into maintenance mode with our training. We continue to stumble through it, and we still push to try new things. Mostly, we cram new lessons into our dog right up to the opening day of hunting season, hoping that if we throw a bunch of things at him, something will stick.
This is the time when we experience something I call a defining moment, and it’s not good. One day we put too much pressure on our dog or lose our temper, and we lash out-in other words, we blow our top. Our dog reacts negatively to the point where we feel terrible. We end up giving the pooch an extra helping of food at dinnertime or letting him sneak up on the couch for the evening news – something that makes us fell like we’ve made it up to the dog. Our dog forgave us about 2,3 seconds after we spouted off ; that’s just the nature of the unconditional love that dogs are master of . But human nature includes the emotions of guilt, and no guilt is more powerful than that we put on ourselves.
Stage Four: After this defining moment, we make a firm commitment to have fun, take everything in stride and be patient. We promise ourselves to let the dog have fun being a dog and doing what he was bred for.
With this training philosophy, our dog responds better. A little way down the road, he’ll make an amazing dog.
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