By Nan Talleno
KYW’s Pet Reporter
Training your dog should never be a tedious activity. Rather, turn it into a fun and exciting venture. It’s important to remember that the energy you put forth during the training routine will always be picked up by your dog, so make it a positive experience for both of you.
Always train using positive reinforcement methods, which is praising and rewarding the new behavior. Practice each new tasks such as “sit” “stay” “focus” “take it, “leave it,” etc., for just a few minutes several times a day. It not only teaches, but gives your dog stability and confidence and a better focus on you as a responsible leader. It also helps give them a "job" to do daily, as dogs love and need to “earn” and all beings need a purpose. And this also creates a stronger bond for both of you.
If you see your dog exhibiting unacceptable behavior, immediately correct with a gentle but authoritative “No” in a calm but firm tone. Then proceed and gently lead your dog to show him/her the appropriate behavior. Do not correct at a later time or the dog will not associate the correction with the behavior.
Never train using force, physical punishment, isolation or fear. It’s not only unacceptable and inhumane, but it will also have dire effects as it will cause your dog to become potentially aggressive and to quickly develop extreme fear and anxiety with a potential for higher end behavioral issues. If you ever feel angry or frustrated, immediately stop, take a break, and try again later. It’s important to note that you can never successfully lead a dog out of any type of anger, frustration or stress.