First Steps in Dog Training – Praise and Correction

by Cherie Stirewalt

If you are reading this article, you are either living with, or
thinking of living with, an unruly dog or puppy.

You can’t properly live with a dog unless you give it some basic
training. An untrained dog is a recipe for disaster. And you
can’t blame the dog for its bad behavior! If you come home, and
your dog about knocks you over in its exuberance to greet you,
that’s nobody’s fault but your own. If you haven’t taught him to
sit and stay, too bad for you!

Lucky for you, dogs are not that difficult to train. So with a
few basic lessons from you, your dog should be listening to you
in no time!

Before you can get into teaching your dog the five basic
obedience commands such as sit, stay, heel, down and come, you
need to show your dog what actions are acceptable, and what
actions are not.

You achieve this by constantly reinforcing good behavior by
praise and correcting bad behavior in a mild and nonviolent way.

For example, if after throwing a tennis ball, your dog happens
to return it to you without you having to chase him around and
prying it from his mouth, this is good behavior, and should be
rewarded accordingly.

Most dogs need nothing more than a simple “Good Dog!” offered in
your most supportive, warm voice. Others might appreciate a pat
on the head, or maybe a little treat. But start off with nice,
simple vocal praise.

However, if you throw the tennis ball, and your dog thinks it’s
funny to watch your chase him around the yard trying to retrieve
the ball from him, a simple “No!” in a loud, firm tone will
work. Don’t sound angry, panicky, or annoyed, this will only
baffle the dog.

When your dog finally drops the tennis ball at your feet, praise
him to let him know you approve of this behavior. Quickly, your
dog will learn he will be corrected for doing something wrong,
and praised for doing something right.

So in short, correct when wrong, praise when right.

If your dog does something wrong, like getting in the trash
while you are at work and stringing garbage all though your
kitchen, you can’t correct him AFTER THE FACT! You can only
correct a dog if you catch him in the act of doing wrong. A dog
will forget the “bad” event just a few minutes after the event
has happened. So scolding him at 5:30 p.m. for something he did
at 8:30 a.m. will do no good (if the trash thing has ever
happened to you, I suggest putting your trash inside cabinets,
under sinks, and out of site!). Don’t hold a grudge against your
dog, it’s destructive.

Don’t ever hit, or threaten to hit your dog. This means with
your hand, a stick, a rolled up newspaper, or anything else.
This will only result in a dog who is afraid of all human hands.

So what have we learned again? If your dog does something right,
praise him. If he does something wrong, and you catch him in the
act, correct him and then praise him when he stops the bad

If you are looking for more information on dog training, go to
our labrador dog article directory . The site is dedicated to
Labrador Retrievers, but can be utilized for any dog breed.

Good luck!


About the author:
Cherie Stirewalt is a Labrador dog enthusiast and writes about
useful products, training tips, and health issues associated
with Labrador Retrievers. Sign up for her free 7 day Labrador
dog training course at

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