Most dog training is more easily done by following a specific sequence of steps, done in a specific way. What you are looking for is the best way for your dog to learn. One that is easy for them. We want to communicate clearly; in ways they can understand. We also want to respond to how the dog is catching on to what we are doing and change course when they are not catching on. This requires us to watch the dog carefully for signs as to how they are “understanding” what we are asking of them.
It might be helpful to think about how a 1 or 2-year-old relates to words and how we might teach children of that age. I’m reminded of Denzel Washington in the movie Philadelphia saying to Tom Hanks “Explain this to me like I’m a two-year-old, because there’s an element to this that I can’t get through my thick head”
If we were trying to teach a toddler the word “ball” for example. We would probably first get eye contact. Then say “BALL” in a clear perhaps, exaggerated, friendly tone of voice while showing her the ball in our hand. Then we might hand her the ball and say “this is a BALL”, do you want to play with the “BALL”? And we would patiently do this over and over again. After many repetitions you might ask “where is your BALL “? And the little girl might look around in search of her ball indicating that she had made the association between the object and the word.
If she wasn’t catching on you wouldn’t say BALL, BALL, BALL, BALL, FIND YOUR BALL.
You would probably start over, showing the ball, saying the word ball and and patiently doing that many times. Then go back and see if she now had made the association.
Well guess what? Dogs learn words in very much the same way by association, through repetition.
My suggestion is to teach your dog like they were a toddler. They might just learn much faster.
9/24/2020 11:48:57 am
Loved the article.
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I am a dog trainer in Riverside California. My specialty is Companion Dog Training. Helping your dog to live in your home.