There are five important principles to be aware of and remember when training dogs:
The most important and basic principle in dog training is the trainer must know how each manoeuvre, technique, act, method and position is accomplished prior to training the dog properly.
There is standards of performance described for each training exercise, and the dog trainer must adhere to the proper techniques and methods in order to achieve these standards. The dog trainer must conscientiously apply all the principles with enthusiasm, interest and desire to attain perfection. The dog trainer at all times must demand complete obedience from the dog. If the dog trainer is negligent in the training procedures, therefore the results are reflected in the dog's performance. As a result, it is essential that the dog trainer possess personal discipline. This is especially true during the time that you are applying the principle of repetition.
This is the method by which dogs learn and become proficient in performing a task. It is important and vital that the dog is given the same command over and over again until the appropriate and desired response is obtained. However, both the trainer and the dog can lose efficiency by practicing any one command too much during one time. After practicing a command for four (4) or five (5) minutes, it is best to move on to another command. If this is not possible, at least ten (10) minutes should lapse before resuming the practice of the original command.
In early stages of training, it is more important to show the dog what to do when given a particular command. If needed, the dog must be put into the proper position. Repeat the procedure as often as needed until the dog learns what to do when given the command. It is important that you NEVER allow the dog to assume a position incorrectly. If it begins to make an incorrect movement, correct it immediately. Then, start the exercise again, making sure the dog does not make the same mistake.
One of the most important requirements of a dog trainer is patience. To make a dog perform the same exercise repeatedly, until it is properly executed, is a task that requires the ultimate in self-control. When a dog trainer loses his or her temper, they have lost control and this confuses the dog. Patience along with firmness results in a better trained dog.
The dog trainer who displays patience can motivate the dog properly through praise. Whenever the dog successfully executes a command, even if its' performance takes more time than expected, always reward it with a pat on the head or praise it in some other way. The dog is anxious to please its trainer, and the trainer should respond by praising the dog lavishly. When it is praised highly, the dog senses that it has done the correct thing and does it more readily the next time the same command is given. Several effective techniques are used to praise a dog. Kind words often do the trick. One trainer might prefer to pat the dog each time he or she wishes to reward it. Another trainer might allow the dog a few minutes in which to romp and play, or he/she may allow the dog to perform its favourite exercises. Still another trainer may apply a combination of these methods of praise.
Each dog requires a special method. Each trainer must determine which method of praise best suits the individual dog and this can be deternined during the trainer's early association with the dog. If the dog trainer is to maintain the dog's enthusiasm for work, each training period must be concluded with petting, praise and encouragement. When the dog's performance of the training exercise does not warrant praise, allow it to perform a short exercise which it already knows thoroughly and does well so that it can earn a reward. Although the dog must be amply rewarded for those exercises performed correctly, the dog must be corrected when the dogs' performance is incorrect and not satisfactory.
A dog does not understand right from wrong as humans do. Reward and correction are the means by which a dog is taught. If the dog does an exercise incorrectly, do not allow it to go uncorrected. Withholding praise, or the simple admonition NO!, spoken reprovingly, or a sharp jerk on the leash, proves to be sufficient for correction purposes.
TIMING is probably the most curcial and important factor in administering any form of correction. Therefore, a reprimand, in whatever form, should be administered immediately when the incorrect act is performed. A dog cannot mentally connect a reprimand with an incorrect action committed some time before the reprimand.
NEVER correct a dog for clumsiness, slowness in learning, or inability to understand what is expected of it. In these cases, correction slows down the dog's training instead of accelerating it.
Observation, patience, self-control, and discretion are essential in correction. If the dog makes a mistake, the dog trainer may be at fault, and the dog trainer should think for a second about why the mistake was made. Proper correction indicates proper thinking.