Dogs engage in a behavior because it is a reinforcing behavior. For example: The dog jumps in the pool so as to feel cool, the dog scratches on the food bowl so as to get fed. Also, the dog stares at you and barks so as to get you to feed him from the table, or the dog jumps up on you so as to get your attention. These examples are about a dog doing something to get a desired consequence. At one point in their history, the action paid off with a desirable consequence to them, and so they do it again.
In dog training, we take advantage of this fact of life and teach the dog that a particular action on their part will result in a positive consequence. In other words, we reinforce that particular behavior. So, in training, we will be strengthening the behaviors we want by rewarding them with food, praise, toys etc.
When training your dog, you are essentially teaching him a new language- the language that will serve as a communication bridge between you and him. What this means is that you must always be clear and consistent. The rules being taught must always apply so as to not confuse him. Think of dog training as a black and white concept, as opposed to a gray one. Gray areas are obstacles to the bridge we are building because they don’t give the dog sufficient feedback.
The amount of time it takes a dog to associate the consequence of an action with the action itself is approximately 1.5 seconds. In other words, you have a 1.5 second window of opportunity to teach a dog something. For example: the dog sits beautifully, right after he is told to do so- the reward should come at or very close to 1.5 seconds so as to show the dog you are happy with his actions. The longer you take to react after this, the more unlikely it will be that the dog associates the action he preformed, with the consequence you provide.
When training your dog, there is really no room for anger. Anger tends to frighten a dog, which will only set you back in your training and get in the way of your bond with him. When the dog behaves in an undesirable fashion and we feel anger, then it is best to leave the training for a later time when we feel more even-tempered. It is important to have fun with your dog during training. Indeed, it requires discipline and attention on both of your parts, but it should be a happy, entertaining activity that you both enjoy. That will only increase the likelihood of your dog’s full attention during training and help strengthen your relationship