As a professional search and rescue dog handler since 2001, and having owned and trained my own personal pets over the years, I understand how important it is to create a trusting relationship between dog and owner.
Stuehrmann’s Service Dog Training offers services as a professional dog trainer throughout the Rancho Cucamonga area and other nearby Southern California areas in: Obedience Training, Behavioral Problem Solving, and Management.
The key to dog training involves four key components: Patience, persistence, consistency, and lots of love! Every dog really does want to know what is expected of it and is eager to please. Your job is to teach it to understand your language and give it guidelines for behavior in your pack.
No matter what you are trying to teach your dog, you will always use the same technique. This consistency will help your dog to understand that you are trying to teach it something. Give the command and as soon as you get the desired behavior, reward with a treat. The better you get at rewarding immediately when the dog does what you tell it, the quicker your dog will learn. Train in 15-minute increments and always end your training session when you have been successful. Don’t end a session with an unsuccessful activity. You may have to take a step back to an already trained behavior, but make sure that both you and the dog feel good about the session. Do not use your command words unless you plan to enforce them. For example, do not ask your dog to sit unless you have a treat in your hand and can reward your dog when it sits. Practice only giving a command ONCE! If you tell your dog to sit four times and reward it on the fourth time, you are training it to sit after you have given multiple commands. You want your dog to respond the first time you ask it to do something.
As an instructor, I train all my handlers to teach their dogs that they (the handler) begin and end each command. I tell them to teach the dog a release word such as “break”, “release”, “free”, “all done”, or another word of their choosing (as long as it is not a word or term used in normal conversation, for example “OK”). I have them practice using the release word in all aspects of their training. The dog is taught that when it is instructed to perform a behavior, it is expected to comply with that behavior until it is either released or told to do another behavior.
For instance, the dog is told to “sit”. The command is given once and the behavior is elicited. The dog is praised and rewarded and either told to “release” or to perform another command (heel, down, etc.). Once the dog understands that it must comply with the behavior and that it will not be allowed to get up, it will sit politely until told otherwise.