The 'Five Things That A Person Should Keep In Mind When Training' that Chelsea Lives By. (For both trick and obedience training)
Be consistent with your training! Don't let your lovable companion get away with jumping up on you when you come home and then get upset at your pouchie when your dog comes in from outside with muddy paws and jumps up on you! Thats not fair to the dog as it sends mix messages to him. Why should one time be different then the next??
Get all that live in your house and interact with the dog on the same page too. I found this to be a big problem before I had a good old sit down with the family, now things are sooo much easier! We all use the same hand signs when it comes to tricks, they all follow the rules I have put do for Wilson like he's not allowed on the couch unless he is invited up. No more doggie confusion when he is told "nop, not allowed ham-ham" when moments earlier my mother was letting him get away with it.
2. Find what motivates your dog and use it as a reward.
For Wilson (and a lot of dogs that I meet) food is the thing that they LIIVVEE FOORR, human or other wise! But here the thing, I don't use treats all the time with Wilson. I've noticed with some friends dogs that they will not do tricks or listen to the basic commands such as sit, come, stay unless they see that treat in their owners hand. I found myself thinking how useless that is. I mean if your dog got off leash and was running towards traffic and you had no treats on you...I would want him to hear me say "COME!" and do just that.
So here's what I do instead, cause not only is Wilson food driven but he loves me and loves getting petted and played with. This is a great reward for most dogs too! To get him to learn the trick I use treats then once he's got it I start alternating between giving him the treat, getting down on the floor and spending even five minutes just playing, or even a "Thank you, good job pup!" and a pat on the head works great with Wilson. It may not with your dog since no two dogs are the same but you never know till you try ;) Most dogs just want your time and I'm not the only one doing this either! I've seen that a lot of agility trainers use tug toys as a reward for their dog for doing a great job, and one trainer roll around on the ground with his dog after he did the obstacle course. That just warms my heart.
3. Make it fun, for the both of you. Go with the flow.
This ties in with number 2 I guess, but always remember that learning tricks should be fun for the both of you, if its not then things could get pretty frustrating fast for everyone involve. The dog doesn't learn anything in the end and just isn't happy after being told they are doing things wrong.I think anyone thats ever played with younger kids can understand this rule pretty well. LOL. If he's not getting it then don't worry, he'll get it in the end. Just move onto something that more fun for him or his attention will wonder and he'll not be into it anymore.
4. Patience and self-control.
Pffh this one ties into number three. I also think this is one of the hardest things EVER! Normally I'm not very patient at all, oh the things we learn from having animals I tell ya. A trainer should not get upset that the dog isn't learning the trick right off the bat, if you get upset then the dog will too and then the training session isn't fun anymore. Give him time, he's not a rocket scientist. It took you sometime in school to learn stuff too ya know.
5. Try to save the word 'No' for more more serious things
If he does something wrong when learning then use something like, nop, natta or something. It wouldn't think it sounds good when someone is saying a word to me for not getting something that is normally used when I'm doing something really bad like attempting to make a new hole in the curtains.
"Mum loves my face and taking pictures at different angles of my face"
I also suggest short training sessions too. I find that dogs learn and retain better if you spend anywhere from 5 to 20 mins on teaching tricks then over an hr. I almost wish my classes where short like this too, I think I would remember more if that was the case. Hahaha. And clicker training! If you haven't heard about clicker training then take a look at this article on wikipedia
I found this post hard to write... Dog training is such a touchie subject in the blogging dog world... I'm no where near being the best writer around blogville and find that putting my thought into writing is sometimes hard so hopefully everyone gets what I mean *cross fingers* And I know a lot of people are hard core into treats but I think that Wilson should listen to me whether I have a treat or not, I'm not a fan of bribing your dog with food into listening to you. Like how children should listen to what their parent have told them instead of demanding a chocolate bar as a reward....
Anyways, thanks for reading. I'm thinking about tapping one of Wilson's training sessions and showing it off but I'm not sure anyone might be interested or not.