Basic Obedience Training for Dogs

The world is a crowded place. Every dog must be able to fit into the social system around it without causing problems. Dogs may have all sorts of functions and duties, but the first, and often the only, basic necessity is that they are sufficiently trained and biddable not to cause problems for their owners. To achieve this the dog must learn basic obedience to his owner's commands.

This does not mean that the dog should be beaten into submission by a dominant owner. Apart from the cruelty of such a regime, it doesn't achieve its objective: the dog will be cowed rather than obedient, he will run away rather than respond to his owner's commands.

Basic training and obedience should be a happy experience for dog and owner. Dogs are happy to work for rewards, from a tidbit to a pat on the head in praise, but they must know what you are seeking from them. Rule one is do not confuse your dog.

Dogs react to the immediate, not to something that happened ten minutes ago. Several other things will have happened since. Let's take as an example recalling a dog that is running free. You call him. He doesn't come back. You get cross and call him again in an angry voice, and he still doesn't come back. So you chase after him, catch him and give him a slap, or even a beating with his lead.

What does the dog learn from this? If I hear my owner calling me, I run away because if he catches me he will beat me. If I see him with the lead, I also run away because if he has the lead in his hand he uses it to beat me.

The dog shows impeccable logic in his reactions, rather than the reasoning that you might wish him to use. Rule two is think like a dog, not like a sophisticated human being.

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