Communicating With Your Dog

“There’s 1000’s of ways to train a dog to sit.”

Which one will work best with your dog? There are lots and lots of excellent training schools, methods and systems out there. The very best ones are those that are fluid, and allow the system to shift to meet the needs of the individual dog instead of trying to force every dog to rigidly follow a specific set of steps.

I started my training career back in the 1990’s. Let’s just say that a lot has changed since then; what we know about dog behavior alone has altered drastically in the intervening years. Dogs, indeed all animals, are increasingly demonstrating surprisingly complex traits such as empathy and intelligence. We can and should use this new information to develop and enrich the bonds with our animal companions.

In years past to get your dog to sit, you yanked up on the leash and pushed down on his butt while telling hims to “Sit!” Training methods were sometimes harsh and usually involved the physical manipulation of the animal. The animal learned through negative reinforcement doing this meant avoiding that. That being the push of a hand, tug of a collar, pinch of an ear. There was not a whole lot of consideration of the dog’s thought process or emotional state. The dog was simply expected to comply or else.

I’m happy to say that things are different today. We’ve come pretty far since then, finding better, gentler methods to communicate what we want our much loved dog companions to do with us and for us.

“Communicate” is the key word here. When we train our dogs, or any animal, we have to communicate with them. And communication is a two-way street, between you and your dog. When you train your dog, you’re going to have the greatest success if you not only teach your dog to understand your signals, but if you learn to read and understand what your dog is saying.

Yep, your dog talks. Oh right, he’s not discussing particle physics or critiquing the latest Avengers movie, but if you take the time to observe and learn dog body language and behavior you’ll find very quickly that you can understand exactly what he’s saying, and convey your meaning to him. Once you’ve got that, there’s no limit to what the two of you can do together.

I detail exactly how to develop these lines of communication in my book, Dog Care and Training for the GENIUS. I hope you’ll take a look at it once it’s published.

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