My dog is stupid
How many times have I heard: “My dog is stupid, he understands nothing! Well no. There are no stupid dogs, there is only bad communication or a lack of motivation.
Is your language clear? What tone of voice do you take? Dogs are very sensitive to the tone used. A deep voice shows our discontent. An acute voice will show our satisfaction.
Is your command always the same? Always use the same word for the same command. A ” DOWN ” and a ” LIE DOWN” is not the same thing. Choose a single word and always use the same one. If possible, choose words that are not similar to others for your other commands.
Does the whole family use the same commands? If you are several at home, make sure to use all the same words. It will only simplify your task.
How is your body language? Never give up. Some dogs are very sensitive and he could interpret this sign as a disappointment on your part and it would put him in a non-receptive state. Dogs are often more receptive to signs than words. Put a gesture on your order and always the same, it will be easier.
When to reward? Here you have to be precise. You only have a fraction of a second for your dog to associate the reward with the behavior. If your reward is a cookie, I suggest you use a clicker, but a nice YEAH! could just as well, do the job when the desired behavior happens. Then you can give the cookie. Why? Because the time to give the cookie, you may be a little late and it will take longer for your dog to understand why he is rewarded. Watch for excess weight always. That’s why I recommend a Schum-Tug. It will last for years and it has 0 calories. Only agitate the schum-tug in front of your dog just when he gives you the desired behavior, he will only want to repeat this behavior knowing that the schum-tug could reappear. When the session is over, hide it, create the desire to see it again soon.
Are you interesting? What do you use as a reward? Take something your dog loves. His favorite cookies, cheese, his favorite toy. If the reward is not interesting, you will have more difficulty getting the desired behavior. Would you work for free? So isn’t your dog. The more interesting is the reward, the more it will work well for you.
Make it happen. You can always force your dog to obey. But a dog that offers itself a paying behavior will be more motivated to repeat
Every request has its price! Know that you must always make yourself more interesting than his environment. A simple cookie in your living room can work, but expect to pull heavy artillery into a park with birds, children, cars and squirrels. Start gradually and the greater the distraction is, the more interesting the reward have to be.
And most importantly, have fun!