Use Consistent Communication

                                                          Head trainer Karen has their captivated attention!

                                                          Head trainer Karen has their captivated attention!

We all unintentionally teach our pups to do precisely what we don't want them to do. A great example of this is when you don't want your dog to jump up on people and yourself. Don't encourage your pups jumping with any kind of petting when they do jump. Always have them sit or lie down before showing them any physical affection. If your dog jumps up on you why you come in the door, simply turn your back and wait calmly until they calm down. Then turn around and calmly and firmly ask your dog to "sit". Once your dog is sitting, slowly reach down to pet your dog on his or her chest in slow circles. If your dog's bottom comes up off the ground, stop petting your dog and wait for their bottom to sit down. Then continue petting your dog. If your dog is especially excited and jumps a lot when you come home, you may need to start doing this exercise using a highly valuable treat and then wean your dog off the treats by using praise and pets. Whatever you do, always make sure that you ask your dog to sit calmly before greeting your dog. The consistency will pay off.

Also, once you assign a word for a command this should not change. For example, "sit" means sit, "down" means lay down, and "off" means don't jump up. If you tell your dog to sit and they lay down instead, it's your job to clarify the command. If you reward your dog because, "Hey, at least they listened to me," it will confuse the dog, and not build a very strong sit. One way to look at this is a good yoga instructor correcting his student's position in order to enhance their workout. This a great way to correct your pet when he gets a command wrong in a similar way. Consistently use the same words and consistently reinforce correct behavior to see major results. And remember, your dog's behavior is most often than not a reaction to the environment and people around him. Are you unintentionally inviting unwanted behavior by not consistently rewarding the correct behavior? 

Happy training!