Positive Dog Training Secrets - s3. Dog+Training+Web viewPositive Dog Training Secrets *How to Train Your Dog With Food Rewards * How to Change your Dog’s Problem Behavior Without Punishment

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Positive Dog Training Secrets

Positive Dog Training Secrets*How to Train Your Dog With Food Rewards * How to Change your Dogs Problem Behavior Without Punishment * How To Teach Your Puppy to Lie Down on Command * How to Teach Any Dog to StayMarilyn Mele


How to Train Your Dog with Food Rewards

Marilyn Mele

Training the family pet with food rewards can be fun and exciting for everybody. Knowing WHEN and HOW to give food rewards to your dog is the key to success. Dont worry that your dog might only respond to you when you have food or that he will become overweight. When you understand HOW to use food rewards effectively, that wont happen. You will need the following:

1. A hungry dog,

2. A plain, flat collar and leash made of fabric or leather,

3. At least 3 different kinds of special, soft, non-commercial treats such as string cheese, chicken or steak.


Prepare your treats by cutting them into very tiny pieces. Chicken, steak, hard cheese, string cheese, hot dogs all work well. These special treats are used ONLY when training. They have to be tasty and tiny so you can give many treats from a small quantity of food.


Put the leash on your dog. You will hold the leash during training sessions just to assure that your dog does not wander off, and to keep him within your circle of influence. It will not be used to force or correct any behavior.


Place a treat in one hand and close your hand so food is not visible to your dog. (Hell probably know you are holding food, but thats OK. Were not trying to fool him, just make the rules clear.) Ask your dog to do something he already knows, such as Sit. Keep your voice and facial expression calm and friendly. Ignore any behavior that is not a sit. Repeat the sit command (CALMLY) if you need to but dont say anything else. Dont give your attention, e.g. reward, to anything except what you asked for: sit.


When he sits, immediately (1) smile, (2) praise with sincere enthusiasm and THEN (3) give him the treat, making sure he is still sitting when you give him his treat. Do this quickly and in that order. This establishes the foundation for decreasing food rewards later on.


Release your dog from sit, by saying OK and giving him a big pat on the chest. Make sure he gets up when you say OK. The release is a command too.


Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 in sets of 5 10 repetitions each with breaks for you and your dog between sets. Breaks can be just a few minutes of play with a favorite toy or just hanging out. If playing with a toy, make sure he is playing with YOU (tug, retrieve, etc.) not just with the toy. If hanging out, just ignore him and give him some space. Do what works best with your dog to reduce stress.


When your dog is sitting automatically as soon as you give the command, or even anticipating the command, you can begin to adjust the frequency of food rewards. It is critical to do this gradually; withdrawing food abruptly will undo all your hard work up to that point. Remember learning is a process so dont rush things. At first, withhold food of the time, then 1/3 of the time. ALWAYS smile and praise for a correct response whether or not you give food. Dont get into a predictable pattern. Be creative and keep your dog interested. Take frequent breaks.


The final step is to use Random Reinforcement. This kind of reinforcement is very powerful and will maintain a behavior at a very high level of reliability for an indefinite time. This is where you want to be with your food rewards. You will give them randomly, so that each time your dog is praised for obeying you, he knows he might also get a food treat. If not this time, then maybe next time. So he keeps on trying his best.

A great example of how powerful random reinforcement can be is a slot machine. When people go to Las Vegas to gamble, they often play the slots. They will make many futile attempts before finally winning a jackpot. Why do people keep trying when they fail more often than they succeed? Because they cant predict when they will receive their reward, they are driven to continue the behavior (depositing quarters) knowing that the reward could come at any time.


1. Give extra praise when you withhold a food reward.

2. If you show the food to the dog before you give the verbal command, you will be using the food as a bribe. Not good. Conceal the food in your hand. Position your hand in front of you close to your body, near your belly button.

3. If your dogs response starts to deteriorate, go BACK to a previous step and work forward again.

4. Dont take yourself too seriously HAVE FUN!

5. Do NOT rush through this process. Like people, dogs have different learning styles. Go slowly and be patient.

6. Never punish. A mistake is a chance to learn more.

7. Because you think your dog knows something, does NOT mean that he actually knows it. If he does not obey right away, it might be that he does not yet know as much as YOU THINK he does.

8. You are the teacher so teach!

Marilyn Mele



How to Change Your Dogs Problem Behavior Without Punishment

Marilyn Mele

We love our dogs to pieces but sometimes their behavior can annoy or upset us. But you do not have to let emotions dictate your reactions. There are common sense solutions that are simple and easy to apply. Im going to show you how to use some simple psychology to change things for the better.

Youll need a plain collar and leash, some soft tasty treats and some toys your dog enjoys.

First, understand that dogs dont annoy us on purpose! Whether you are aware of it or not, you have rewarded your dogs misbehavior with your attention. Remember that behaviors that are reinforced (rewarded) will increase. Even negative attention is rewarding to most dogs because they value any interaction with you. Thats why the behavior continues. They have figured out how to get you to stop ignoring them!! Dont feel bad we all do this!

The best way to handle an undesirable behavior is to redirect the dog to another behavior that is desirable. Scolding does not get positive results but redirection does.

Decide that you will not so easily give away the reward of your attention when your dog misbehaves. This does not mean, however, that you just ignore it and allow it to continue. You can interrupt problem behavior without rewarding it and, even better, you can be proactive and redirect your dog toward desirable behaviors that replace the problem behaviors.

Lets choose a specific behavior problem as an example. Lets say we have a dog that will bark when inside the house at something outside, such as another dog, a person passing by or a bike rider. Scolding, punishing, etc. has not worked so far, so lets try something different and see if we can get a different result. The familiar saying is true: If you keep doing what youve always done, youll keep getting what you always got.

You can resolve this problem by training an incompatible behavior. An example of an incompatible behavior is telling your dog to sit to prevent him from jumping up on you. Sitting and jumping up cannot be done at the same time. They are incompatible. So by giving your dog the command to sit before he jumps on you, you are extinguishing jumping by replacing it with sit. Timing is important. You need to signal or command the new behavior before the old behavior starts. Be proactive and you will be calm and in control.

Getting back to our barking dog example, when a dog barks at a thing he can see, he will probably quit barking when he can no longer see it. The incompatible behavior solution to barking is to first create distance between the dog and the distraction. Move him away from the distraction so that you can get his attention. Teaching your dog to focus his attention on you, making eye contact on command, is a more advanced solution and requires teaching a skill called Focused Attention. It requires the dog to not only sit and look at you, but to give you his full, undivided attention. You can then engage him in another activity such as obeying a specific obedience command like down/stay, or playing an interactive game like tug or fetch. The ideal time to ask for focused attention is before the barking starts, but once you train it, you can ask for it at any time. Focused Attention can also help eliminate pulling on the leash and some reactive behaviors.

When your dog is paying attention to you and ignoring whatever he was barking at, reward his efforts with lots of praise, a favorite toy, a treat or a game he enjoys. Keep your dogs attention engaged until you can persuade him that being with you is more exciting than barking at the cat next door. Your goal is to become more interesting to your dog than the distraction. This is, of course, is easier said than done! Enliven your training with play and games and unpredictable fun so your dog chooses you first.

Remember: To solve a behavior problem ask what positive behavior is incompatible with it and train that.


1. Be alert to times when undesirable behavior is likely to occur and be prepared to act proactively.

2. Always deal positively with your dog. Nothing good or useful is achieved by negativity.

3. An effective punishment can be merely withholding a reward the dog desires.

4. Always try to create an environment where your dog has the opportunity to succeed.

Marilyn Mele