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Dog Training Page - Promoting the fair training of sport and working dogs

Four Basic Principles:  Motivate - Clearly define the task - Give feed back - Train repeatedly

Angus av Stavanger Aka Curly - German Shepherd Fussing - heeling

Dog training - luring - imprinting - Menlo Park Schutzhund Club training with Michele Hansen

  Click on the links below for more dog training information

 Dog Training Links
 Clicker Training
 Clicker Myth
 Compulsion Defined
 Training with Rewards
 Living with a High Drive Dog
 Dog Training Books

High Scoring Female - 2008 Northwestern Regional Championships - Gjeter av Xazziam & Michele Hansen

Dog Training Foreword

Our dog training page was developed to share the methods we currently use for training dogs in the sport of Schutzhund and for living with the high drive working dog.  Our hopes are that this site will bring greater awareness about how to develop a strong working partnership in the performance dog and to also be a helpful training guide for anyone looking to improve their dog handling skills through training methods that are respectful of the dog.

Over the years, we have learned, a solid working foundation will be the result of balanced training methods that include well defined rules and clear feedback. Our intention is to help visitors understand how dynamic dog training really is. General training concepts, recommended dog training books (references) as well as dog training videos are available through out the site.

Although this is not a step by step, online dog training course, we do want to provide the following insight; dog training requires the same basic principals humans use to achieve skilled abilities (see chart below). They are as follows: Motivate to perform the task, clearly define the task, give feed back and train repeatedly. The best training results are accomplished when we focus on our "relationship" with the dog; i.e., respect and what is best for the dog. Trial readiness and desired scores will be the result of learning what the dog truly needs and dedicated training.

 Dog Training Chart

Basic Principals

 Motivate to perform the task

The opportunity to perform a task can be
a form of motivation!
Positive Reinforcement

Reward based training

*The genetic working dog often shows self-motivation when given an opportunity to learn or perform a task. Rewards (toys/food) further enhance the dogs desire to perform.

Negative Reinforcement

Compulsion & Force Training

  A dog showing lack of motivation to perform a specific task may require an alternative to reward based methods. The motivation of choice for this exercise may require a balanced use of compulsion 

Clearly define
the task

  • Keep things simple - Working dogs thrive on challenges, they are often more motivated to learn and perform when tasks are broken down into easy steps.

Through specifically designed training challenges that do not require physical force or compulsion, the dog will usually require more time and practice to learn commanded tasks. However, this same dog will most likely require less maintenance training in the future and develop greater reliability for working tasks! 

When corrections are used as a motivation to achieve desired behavior, dogs do best when Praise and/or rewards are used in combination to relieve pressure and let the dog know he or she is performing the task correctly


 Give feed back

Clear communication helps the dog understand exactly which behaviors are correct & incorrect. As well as reminds the dog to stay on task

Define rules by using consistent verbal praise, cues and rewards

  • Use verbal praise, such as; "good dog" to help the dog know he is showing the correct behavior and is on course to correctly completing the job 

  • Cues, such as a clicker device or verbal "Yes", before rewarding the dog will help them understand exactly which behaviors are correct.

Define rules by using consistent verbal warnings and cues

Compulsion in the form of collar corrections may be necessary to guide the dog and/or maintain control.

  • Give the dog a chance - always use a verbal warning; such as, "no" when the dog's behavior is not correct and remind the dog to stay on task by repeating the command; i.e., "No" *Give Correction* "Sit".


Train repeatedly

Always ask yourself

 - Am I using the right motivation for this dog?

- Am I clearly defining the task?

- Am I giving the dog consistent feed back?

A training program using Positive Reinforcement will help the dog become proficient at performing tasks. 
Leash corrections maybe necessary  as a slight collar guide or a reminder for control.

When the dog shows training problems we should ask ourselves where we  have gone wrong and not simply blame it on the dog!

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