Posted by: Linda Trunell | April 14, 2013

My Favorite Training Tips – #1 and #2

Expanding on my post “My Top Ten Favorite Training Tips”


1. Every time you interact with your dog, one of you is being trained.

This is one of the first things I tell new dog owners. It is important to be aware of how you respond to your dog and what he is learning. Dogs are learning all the time and not just in training sessions. Pay attention to how you respond to your dog because you could be strengthening unwanted behaviors by positively reinforcing them.

One obvious example is how you greet each other. If your dog jumps on you and you enthusiastically talk to him and pet him you are positively reinforcing that behavior. If you are responding by telling him “no jumping” and pushing him down you are also positively reinforcing that behavior.  In both cases the dog is getting what they want – your attention.

Which leads me to ….


2. Behaviors that get rewarded get repeated.

That goes for all behaviors – not just the good ones.  If your dog snatches your sandwich from the counter when your back is turned, he was rewarded for counter-surfing and you can bet he will try it again.  If he gets to where he wants to go by pulling you on the leash, the pulling was rewarded.

We must set our dogs up for success by making it hard for them to make mistakes.   Take the time to train and positively reinforce the behaviors you want. Interrupt and redirect the unwanted behaviors by showing the dog what they should be doing instead so you can reward and reinforce that behavior.

In my next post I’ll cover #3. Aggression breeds aggression and #4. There are no stupid dogs – but there are uneducated trainers.

Here’s to being our dog’s best friend,



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