Training a dog can be as simple or as complicated as the owner or trainer wishes it to be. For the more basic techniques, it is important to remember telling the dog to do the command and making certain the dog follows through with it. This helps the dog associate the command with the action that is to follow. Adequate praise is needed in order to provide the positive reinforcement that will encourage the behavior. Knowing the limits of the dog’s attention span will also allow the trainer to effectively time when to start new techniques or to practice old ones. Keeping the training simple is important at first when initially teaching a dog the fundamentals of obedience.
Proper follow through is the foundation of a dog’s learning capability. If the dog learns that he or she does not have to obey the command then giving the command becomes useless. The dog must learn to associate the command with the behavior when the command is initially given. It also shapes the relationship between the owner and the dog in the sense of who is the, “pack leader.” Establishing this pecking order is important to gain the respect of the dog without being overly assertive.
As time goes on, training can become more complex as the dog moves beyond the early stages to the more advanced techniques. Judging when to do this can be difficult as there is no set time frame that the dog will be ready. It is up to the owner to decide when it is time to move forward. For this reason it is best to spend time with the dog in order to learn at what pace they learn best and when they are ready to move on. In the end, knowing your dog is the single most important part of being a good trainer. The dog will love you more for it and you will be much more successful in training.