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What Should I Not Do When Training

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Why should you not shove the dog during training?

If you push the dog into sit or down, they did not do it themselves. They do learn to sit, but they learn it to avoid the discomfort of being pushed rather from the enjoyment of doing it. You want to help him succeed on his own and get the very best for the dog. Pushing on the dog can also cause pain if he is injured or has arthritis.

Is physically moving my dog into a position a good training tool?

Training can get frustrating and we may be tempted to “show” our dog what we mean by sit and lay down by physically putting them into those positions. Never force your dog or puppy into any position when training. If you force your dog or puppy into a sit, they learn to sit to avoid being hurt. You do not want that kind of a relationship with your dog. You want your dog to sit when asked because he is happy to do so and enjoys it. Pushing a dog into a sit or down can injure him especially if he has arthritis or old injuries.

There is a movement in police dog work of using only non-compulsive techniques. From Deborah Palman “What does non-compulsive training mean? It means not using force on the dog. No corrections, no physical manipulation of the dog with hands, leash, whatever. It means showing the dog a reward or motivator and teaching the dog a behavior that results in the dog getting the reward”.

Victoria Stillwell does work with police dogs and military dogs using only positive reinforcement.  If they do not need harsh treatment, your dog does not need to either. Remember we want them to like and want to follow commands and not fear of what will happen if they don’t.