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To have optimal feedback and success during your training sessions, we highly encourage you to do some research on the treats / rewards you use while you train your pet. Hint: the smaller the treat the better. Use a variety strong smelling treats e.g. homemade liver treats (see our recipe) , biltong or cheese. Something to catch the attention of their noses. See our section on TREATS for more info.

With time you can start replacing your treats with toys or attention. Preventing excessive weight gain and improving their compliance to do something when asked when you do not have a treat ready.

Petting:

Keep it brief and pet only for obedience.  Reward obeying commands with attention.  If your dog demands petting, either looks away (fold arms, turn head up & away from the dog) or asks for a sit or down and then pet when it obeys.  If you want to pet your dog, call it to you, don’t go to it.

Practice “Look Always”:  

Don’t let your dog demand play, food, or petting.  IF your dog gets pushy, simply cross your arms, turn your head upward and to the side away from the dog.  If your dog counters by moving to your other side, turn your head the other way.  This is good practice to do any time your dog approaches you if he is very dominant and pushy.  It is especially important if your dog has been aggressive towards you.

Teach “Lie Down & Stay.”

A good solid down & stay is one of the best learning tools.  It teaches your dog to be patient and to wait for

your command.  You can practice while watching TV.  Start with one-second stays for the first few days, and work up to longer and longer ones.  After three weeks, most dogs can handle a half-hour down stay during a quiet time of the day.   Correct breaks with a body block or a downward leash correction—not by simply repeating “down” & “stay” over and over again.  If your dog gets up 25 times, then correct it 25 times with the same actions and tone of voice.  Do not include anger in your correction. BE FIRM!

“Wait At The Door: 

The pack leader has priority meaning they get to push out the door first to get something they want. This is why a lot of dogfights occur at doorways over who gets to go out first.  Control the space in front of the dog and you control the dog.  Use body blocks or head toward a door or doorway and then suddenly turn and go the other way if your dog tries to get ahead of you.  This puts you back in the lead.  Praise and pet your dog when it starts to turn around after you and keep moving until it reaches you.  Practice this as you move around the house until your dog is content to stay behind you and follow your lead.

“Four On The Floor.”

Dogs interpret an increase in height as an increase in status.  Dogs who sleep up on the bed are especially impressed with themselves. Keep dominant dogs on the floor, not up on the chairs, couches, or bed.  If you want to cuddle, get down on the floor, ask for obedience, and then pet when your dog complies.

Teach “Heel” Leaders are in the lead:

Teach your dog to stay at your side while you initiate pace and direction.

This basic obedience program should make treating any other behavioural problems easier. A dog that looks to you for direction can be taught almost anything.  It will be happy to work for what it wants and it helps keep its mind occupied constructively.  Integrate this training into your day by asking your pet to perform some action whenever it wants to go outside, be fed, play ball, etc.  Letting you be in charge will soon become second nature to the dog.

Most problem dog behaviours are NORMAL dog behaviours that are simply unacceptable to the humans they live with.  Redirecting and retraining can make our canine companions better and happier pets.