By Ursula Birr
Regardless of what you ask your dog to do, whether to “sit”, “sit down” or “here”: As soon as your dog knows the corresponding visual or audible signals, only perform them once. You may need a little patience and self-control at first. But remember: your dog heard and saw exactly what you wanted. So stay stubborn, but don’t repeat your wish. But don’t go a step further. Only when the dog does what you want you to release the tension – with clickers, praise and cheers, a game or a reward.
Stopping when it’s at its best is difficult. But it motivates for the next time. Do not wait until the dog’s concentration drops, walking slowly next to you strains his nerves or the first small mistakes creep in. Reward yourself and your dog for the common successes and romp around with him a little. This is the clearest way to show how much you agree with him.
Absolutely solve every exercise, no matter how small: You say “sit”, the dog sits down. They praise that the dog has to keep sitting. Then comes your “Okay, go ahead” or “Go ahead”. Failure to resolve a command is the most common parenting error. The dogs understand the praise as “dissolution” and immediately do what they want again. This can lead to a dog immediately sprinting on “Here” and racing away again just as quickly.
Always use praise, cheers, rewards and play only when the dog has done something as requested. Constant praise and reward wears out and is “expected”. Praise for failure is also counterproductive, because the dog cannot see any connection. If he doesn’t bark at the postman, that’s natural and not worthy of praise. Just like not pulling on the leash or failing to rush off to a dog. If you want to praise this right behavior, quickly put your wish in front of it and then give praise.
A “no!”, “Ugh” or any other word of rebuke, used incorrectly, can destroy trust. If your dog does something wrong or too late, save yourself and him any comment. So if he stays seated next to you on “Voran” or comes back to your “Here” in a roundabout way, this is neither a reason for rejoicing nor for reproach, but rather for a correction. Do an in-between exercise that he’s guaranteed to master, and then give praise. A “ugh” or “no” is appropriate when the dog is actively doing something it shouldn’t: eat something it has found, bark at a jogger, etc. Then you can also praise for the subsequent failure to do so.
Before you express one of your wishes, draw the dog’s attention to you by giving his name. So “Santos, here” and not just “Saaaaantos” or “Hiiiier”. In this way, the dog quickly learns that he is meant and that you also want something from him. Used correctly, this combination of name and desire is an unbeatable educational tool.
Dogs are not robots that save everything they have learned forever. They are also not in a good mood every day, and relapses will occur again and again. It’s really bad when you end up grumpy and end the walk, the game, the training session. Before you devote yourself to other matters, let the dog do anything on request that he loves and where he can really shine: Give five, get the ball, play dead … Then you think that’s great, he has his sense of achievement – and the one Day is saved
This article was published in our magazine issue 9/2015.
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