There’s nothing wrong with a tummy rub, but they’re just not as rewarding as that coveted, freeze-dried liver or a tasty doggy treat. You just need to find out what treat your dog loves when performing new or preferred behaviors.
Just make certain that these treats aren't part of your dog’s daily food allotment, or you might end up with an overweight puppy on your hands.
2. Train in a Boring Environment
If you have ever tried to teach your dog something new at the park or while interacting with people, you probably found that it didn’t go as expected. This is simply because there’s too much distraction. Therefore, when teaching your dog new behavior, you’ll want to begin in a boring, non-distracting environment – maybe a room inside your house with no toys, and with your dog on a leash.
Are you walking your dog or is your dog walking you? If it’s the latter, forget about yanking on the leash as it won’t work. The reason for this is that dogs have an opposition reflex – you pull back, they’ll pull forward.
In other words, if a dog pulls and gets to where it wants to go, the dog has been rewarded and will continue adopting this behavior. So, what’s the solution? Head back inside for some walking on the leash time. After your dog has walked successfully next to you many times, advance to the backyard, then the front yard, then a few houses down, and so on.
4. Paws on the Floor
Everyone is a sucker for cute puppies, and they’re just as happy to jump on us so that they can receive the attention we want to give them. It might seem rude, but it’s important to tell everyone that your puppy comes into contact with that it is in training and they should only pay attention to your puppy when they have settled down and have all four paws on the floor.
Digging is a natural and fun activity for dogs – we just don’t enjoy it when they do so in our yards. The solution for dogs that love digging is to give them a place to do it. You can set up a sandbox or designated area where you encourage and reward your dog for digging. This will also keep them out of your flower patch or vegetable garden.
6. Teach Them where to Poop
You’re a good dog owner and always have poop bags handy, but it’s still embarrassing when your dog leaves a parcel on your neighbor’s front lawn while they’re sitting on the front porch. Luckily, there’s a simple solution to this problem – just teach them where to poop.
Guide your dog to an area where you want them to poop, wait a couple of minutes, and don’t play or speak with them. Allow them to sniff and carry out their business, and reward them heavily for eliminating by immediately giving them a treat.
Believe it or not, but dogs generally don’t like being patted on the head. Being patted on the head is a punishment for most dogs and the majority of them merely just tolerate being patted on the head. You should try rubbing the side of your dog or behind their ears instead.
8. The Reward Must Equal the Joy
What type of reward is it if the command “Come!” is followed by going inside and being told to lie down? The reward simply has to equal the joy of the activity that your dog is leaving behind. For example, chasing cars is fun, especially for herding breeds, but since they’re not exactly herding sheep in a field, it’s not safe. Instead, pair your “come” command with a squeaky ball or toy and have your dog chase you. When they reach you, play tug for a minute and then let him have the ball.
Teach your canine companion to go to their spot during mealtimes to prevent obnoxious barking or begging during dinner. Once your dog is in their place, you can give them some scratches and a treat. If your dog comes over to the table during dinner, just politely lure them back to their spot. Be consistent and you’ll get the results you require.
10. How to Play Nice with Others
Socialization skills are best taught during puppyhood, but regardless of their age, the experience has to be fun and not forced. Attaching positive associations is the best way to make new friends. If your dog loves tennis balls, reward social interaction with a quick game of fetch.