Chicago Paws Dog Training Blog

Covers positive reinforcement dog training strategies and tips. Jeff strongly believes that positive reinforcement training is the only option and he is a vocal critic of other methods. You can also find product and book reviews and clicker training tips.

What is the most important dog training tip?

Do NOT repeat cues. Hear that? Do NOT repeat cues.

It is a bit ironic that this is the recommendation that I repeat most to my clients. But, this makes a HUGE difference in training. Any animal learns faster if there are clear instructions. If you ask your dog to do something and they don’t do it, there are a few reasons that they did not perform:

  • They did not hear you
  • They don’t know the cue
  • They don’t want to do the cue
  • They are distracted and lost focus on what is expected of them

It doesn’t matter which of the above reasons a dog doesn’t perform. You should pay attention to being a good teacher and achieving a reflex response by asking your dog to do something, wait for a moment, help gently – if needed, and then reward after he performs the behavior.

Don’t worry about your dog getting something for “nothing” by rewarding even if he doesn't do it on his own. The key is to get repetitive actions that eventually turn into a reflex response. An example of a helper is gently pulling the leash after saying, “Come”. Eventually your dog will do the behavior on his own.

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Comments 2

Guest - Laurie on Sunday, 26 June 2011 13:42

I just brought home a 2 yr old Rottweiler for protection and would like to teach him with that in mind. Im not talking about agression, but to protect our house, family, etc. He knows general commands and seems very smart, eager to learn. Is it possible to be a family pet and protector as well ? Doesnt that cause confusion ? And is it best to have just one person do the training ? Thanks

I just brought home a 2 yr old Rottweiler for protection and would like to teach him with that in mind. Im not talking about agression, but to protect our house, family, etc. He knows general commands and seems very smart, eager to learn. Is it possible to be a family pet and protector as well ? Doesnt that cause confusion ? And is it best to have just one person do the training ? Thanks
Guest - Jeff Millman on Tuesday, 28 June 2011 00:26

Hi Laurie, I don't do that type of training, and that is not my expertise. However, from my perspective, it is difficult to train a dog to understand friend or foe. Attack dogs either guard a perimeter and bite everyone that is in it, or attack on cue. Either way, you are training an animal to be a protector, which is a serious liability if he is not trained perfectly. I would rather have a dog that is well socialized and get an alarm system. Even a well-socialized dog will bark if there is a strange noise at 2am. Those are my .02. Thanks for your comment.

Hi Laurie, I don't do that type of training, and that is not my expertise. However, from my perspective, it is difficult to train a dog to understand friend or foe. Attack dogs either guard a perimeter and bite everyone that is in it, or attack on cue. Either way, you are training an animal to be a protector, which is a serious liability if he is not trained perfectly. I would rather have a dog that is well socialized and get an alarm system. Even a well-socialized dog will bark if there is a strange noise at 2am. Those are my .02. Thanks for your comment.
Guest
Tuesday, 23 January 2018

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