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Balanced Dog Training

Let me explain the way I train and the way I see how training a dog should be done. As I sit and look at the way life is, in a general sense, I think about balance: the good & the bad, the positives and the negatives, pros and cons, rewards and punishment. As a child, your parents would reward you when you do well and discipline you when you would act up. When you do good, good things come to you. When you're bad, well, (shrug of shoulders) negative consequences are applied to correct and teach. If you think about it, nature is the same way. There is a balance. We teach our children that when they make good decisions in life, they get rewarded. We also have to teach that bad decisions will achieve the opposite result. When you correct your child, you do so because it is in their best interest and for their safety. The same principle applies to your dog; when your dog gives good behaviors make sure you promptly reward them. We as a parent or dog owner have the duty to teach our child and/or dog that consequences can happen and for their safety, they need to listen, or a correction is applied.

A balanced approach as applied to dog training can start with teaching that when "you do good, you get the GOLD". The "gold" is whatever the dog's heart desires. The question is, what drives that dog? Food, toys, affection? A reward can be different depending on the scenario. If I'm playing with a toy and I give you a command, when you apply the command, I reward with the toy. If I'm teaching a come command, then the reward starts with food and eventually turns to affection. You can mix it up, have fun with it. Bounce around to different rewards. Teaching positively is a wonderful approach. It gives you the opportunity to build a wonderful loving relationship with your dog. Sure, you can teach a dog a lot without using rewards but how unfair and how much does that truly suck for the dog and you? I want the dogs happy to work, I want eagerness, I want drive to learn!

Work on finding that balance where your dog will not only listen, but love to do so out of the bond you have with them. When you correct your dog, you want them to understand you are doing it for them, not to scare them. A correction can be anything that a dog sees as a negative or unwanted action. Again, finding balance is key. Every dog is different, finding that sweet spot where the dog responds well and not out of pain and fear is your goal.

Having that well trained companion takes work that you have to put in with your dog. Your dog doesn't just magically understand you; you need to teach your dog how to understand you. You owe it to him/her! You brought them into your life now teach them how to behave in the wonderful life you are providing.

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