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Consistency is Key

Consistency is key when it comes to dog training. Dogs do not communicate and learn like we do and they do not speak english no matter how much we may talk to them. Dogs learn by pattern recognition and association. A+B=C it’s that simple.

They hear you say “A” or see you make gesture “A” They do B and they get reward C. It is your job as the handler to figure out how to communicate what A means or what you want them to do as B when you say or make gesture A.

This is where the consistency comes in. When you are teaching them a behavior or you’re trying to get them to stop doing a behavior you need to reward/correct it every time. You cant correct them one out of every 4 times they pee in the house and expect them to learn that it is not ok.

With that you cant have only one person in your house correcting/rewarding a behavior because they will think it only matters to that person. Depending on the situation you may not necessarily want your dog listening to just anyone but we will cover that in its own post.

This is best handled by when your pup is young or if you rescue an older dog and they are early in their training. Only one person should be doing the training of the dog until the training foundation is firmly set. This should be the primary person that dog belongs to because doing this will bond the dog more to that person than anyone else. For safety sake until the dog has his training foundation solid you want to limit handling by other people so avoid any dangerous situations such as them getting out and not coming when told and so on. We our selves have multiple dogs that can be off lead with one of us and other needs them to be on a long line because they don’t listen near as well to them.

Once the foundation is set then you can introduce other family members and after making sure they are on the same page as what is expected of the dogs behavior they can start to be involved in handling and giving the dog commands and you as the primary handler can make it known to the dog that they are to obey when those people give them commands as well.

To be on the same page, everyone needs to know what the specific command words are for the dog, and know what is expected when the dog is given that command. For instance when you say “Sit” they need to stop and drop their butt completely to the floor not hover it over it.” They will also need to understand that they need to make sure the dog does the expected behavior when they are instructed to or the command will loose its association in the dogs mind and they will not as reliably complete the desired behavior. They cant just say sit and let the dog continue to run around because the dog will learn to think that they don’t have to listen to them.

Another thing to consider is that most dogs when you introduce new people are going to test everyone involved to some degree to see what they can get away with, this will especially be true when you are initially introducing because they are looking to see where they fit in the pack. If they let the dog push them around, then the dog will push them around from there on out and getting them to listen can be a struggle if not impossible after that especially if you have a more alpha male/female type dog.