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Dog Training -- Keeping It Real: Training Your Dog Should be Easy


by Robin MacFarlane



10 Tips from the Slacker's guide to dog training.

I use an electronic dog collar when I train my dogs. I've been accused of being lazy because of it.

I'm not 100% certain of why people say that, but my guess is because it is a faster way to accomplish the task than some of the other methodologies that people espouse as the 'right' way. It gets a bit like religious or political discussions when you talk to other professionals about 'how to train a dog' and thus the "lazy" accusation pops up from time to time.

Personally I consider myself industrious and efficient when it comes to the task of teaching my dogs and my clients dogs to be mannerly, responsible members of the community. But I'm willing to carry the label of lazy if it means I get to teach people how to get the job done in a fraction of the time they thought it would take to teach a solid recall to their pooch. Heck, I'll even embrace "goof-off" if it means my clients come to understand that dog training isn't really all that difficult, and most any pet owner can do it if they take just a little time each day to practice the basics.

Actually, I am going to it a step further and encourage we dump the idea of practicing our dog training all together (sounds like drudgery anyway, doesn't it?). Let's adopt integrate instead of practice, and I'll show you just how easy it really is to train your dog to be a companion you can enjoy and live peacefully with.

Whether you are training with an e-collar or not (but yes, e-collar training will expedite your dog's reliability particularly when off leash) integrating training into your routine day is an ideal way to train and teach your dog that manners and obedience are a way of life, not just some trick to perform during training class or when you are 'practicing'.

So if you are lazy like me ;-) and despise practicing, let's learn to integrate instead!

Here are 10 Tips for training your dog to be a mannerly companion:

1. Teach your dog she must 'Sit' in order to have the leash clipped on. For dogs that get excited about going for a walk, this prevents all the jumping up, barking and darting away from you that often accompanies the idea of going out the door.

2. Enforce a 'Down/Stay' during your morning breakfast or coffee.

3. Insist that your dog walk on a loose leash. Stop letting your dog drag you. Even if you don't get very far the first few walks, those 30 minutes spent teaching the loose leash idea to your dog are as mentally draining as logging that mile and a half.

4. When you play fetch, add in a few obedience commands to keep your dog's skills sharpened up. Having your dog Sit before you toss the ball or Down/Stay while you go pick up one of the tosses helps to teach your dog patience and learning to listen to you even when they are excited to chase.

5. Use feeding time to your advantage. Rather than just pouring all the kibble in the bowl and setting it on the floor, take the ration and hand feed as rewards for cycling through behaviors like Sit, Down, Stand, Shake, or other tricks your dog knows. This allows you to teach using food without adding extra calories to your dog's diet. After the kibble is gone, your dog can finish the other half without having to work for it.

6. Have your dog remain on her Place (dog bed, pillow, rug) while you eat your dinner. If your dog routinely gets off the bed to come beg at your feet, use a leash to anchor her to a piece of furniture so 'staying' becomes the implied behavior until you give permission for her to get up.

7. Microwave training. This is one of the key ways I train my own dogs. I love popcorn, so while I wait for the 3 minutes and 15 seconds for my bag to inflate, I take the treat jar (conveniently located next to the microwave!) and work on the new trick my dog happens to be learning that week.

8. Washing dishes, yard work and taking the trash out are all routine things we do throughout our week. Why not make double duty of that time and have your dog Come to you and then Lie Down nearby while you get the chores done?

9. Doors, gates and stairs are perfect places to teach your dog that she must remaining sitting until given permission to move. Use the opportunity each time you are at one of these key passageways to enforce this expectation, and you will no longer have a dog that bolts the door, charges past you up the stairs or slips out through the gate. This is an ideal habit to establish that helps keep your dog safe.

10. The doorbell is the nemesis of many dogs. Instead of being caught unprepared each time, ask your mail carrier or other regular delivery people to ring the bell each time they drop off. Now you know a set time each day to be prepared to enforce Quiet, Leave it, Go to your bed or whatever other command you prefer to redirect your dog's attention from the door to a more appropriate behavior. A couple weeks of this set up arrangement and your dog will learn a new routine that will give you peace for years to come.

There you have it. Welcome to the Slackers Dog Training Club of well behaved pooches!

-- Robin



Robin MacFarlane is a professional dog trainer and owner of Thatís My Dog in Dubuque, Iowa. Her best-selling dog training DVDs, JUST RIGHT and JUST RIGHT 2 have helped thousands of dog owners teach their dogs basic obedience and fix problem behaviors through a system of training that you can easily work into your daily routine.



Robin's Obedience DVD

FREE or only a penny with the following collars:
  • Sport PRO
  • Delta XC, Delta SPORT XC
  • PRO 550
  • Dogtra COMBO
  • Dogtra IQ Plus
  • SD-425, SD-825
  • and several more...

    FREE Dog Training Videos

  • Here's Why You Should Train Your Dog
  • Does Your Dog Know her Place?
  • Teaching a Recall? Start Slow and Make the Dog Successful
  • Teaching the Down Command
  • House Manners
  • "Pay Me!"
  • How to Strengthen Your Dog's Understanding of "Stay"
  • How Long Does My Dog have to Wear the E-Collar?
  • Consistency Without an E-collar
  • Skills Every Puppy Should Learn
  • Dogs and Doorbells -- Oh My!
  • Stop Your Dog from Bolting to the Door!
  • Use Food Lures to Shape Your Puppies Introduction to Sit, Stand and Down
  • Puppy Training 101: Play Biting Problem
  • Teaching Your Puppy to "Kennel Up"
  • Dog Tricks: How to Teach Your Dog to Walk Backwards
  • Want a Standing Ovation? Teach Your Dog to "Take A Bow!"
  • Want Your Dog to Come to You? Try Moving Away from Him.
  • "Catch me if you can!"
  • Tired of Fido Stealing Your Snacks?
  • E-Collar, Leash, Treats, Toy, and the Dog. How to Manage it All!
  • Dog Tricks: Teaching Your Dog to Dance
  • Before You Expect a Dog to Stay on a Place, Teach Him to get on Willingly.
  • Adding E-Collar Prompting to your Place Command
  • Impulse Control Games are a Time Well Spent Playing with your Dog!
  • Juggling All Your Training Equipment?


  • How to Train Your Dog

  • FREE Dog Training Videos
  • Proper Fit of E-Collar
  • Is Your Dog Collar Wise?
  • "How long does my dog have to wear the collar?"
  • Pressure Necrosis
  • Using Treats in Training
  • Can I Use an E-Collar on My Small Dog?
  • I Need a Shock Collar!
  • Dog Training: Keeping it Real: Training Your Dog Should be Easy
  • Why Would I Want to Use an E-Collar on My Dog?
  • A Tired Dog is a Good Dog
  • Three Things You Must Know to Have a Reliably Trained Dog
  • Are Remote Collars Punishment, Negative Reinforcement, or Motivators?
  • The Best Way to Rescue a Dog
  • It is More than Just Pushing a Button: Part One
  • What About the Leash?
  • Tennis Ball, Tug or Cookie? What do Rewards Have to do with Good Training?
  • The More Important Tool: Part 4 of "It Is More Than Just Pushing a Button."
  • Do You Need Impeccable Timing in Order to Use a Remote Collar?
  • What Does Your Dog's Future Look Like?
  • 6 Essential Things to Teach to Have a Good Dog
  • The Top 3 Reasons Your Remote Collar Doesn't Seem to be Working
  • How Long Does It Take to Train My Dog?
  • Put a Plan Into Motion for Dealing With Your Dog's Behavior Problems!
  • Why are You Grateful for Your Dog?
  • Are You Struggling to Get Your Dog to Stay? Try This.
  • There are Only 3 Levels on a Remote Training Collar?
  • The One Thing You Must Know if You Want to Train with an E-Collar
  • How to Help Your Dog Understand What You Want
  • Photos: One Great Reason to Teach a Place Command to Your Dog
  • New Puppy Tips
  • Sit? or Sit! -- The Case for Intonation When Speaking to Your Dog
  • Number of Commands
  • So Your Dog Knows Sit. Now What?
  • 20 Reasons to Teach a Place Command
  • E-Collar Use: Training vs. Enforcing
  • Know How to Train a Dog, Know How to Use a Remote Collar?
  • 5 Ways to Enhance Feeding Time
  • "But my dog doesn't like it."
  • Outwit Your Dogs if You Want Better Behavior
  • Weaning Off E-Stim: Tap, Tell or Help
  • Proofing: How to Help Your Dog Really "Get It."
  • Should Your Dog Sleep on the Bed With You?
  • Human Body Language
  • Good Health: The Missing Link for a Happy and Well-Adjusted Dog?
  • Are You the Center of Your Dog's World?
  • E-Collar Training: Be Sure to Do This Before You Go Off Leash
  • What Behavior are You Rewarding the Most?
  • The Importance of Routine Nail Trims for Your Dog
  • When is the Right Time to Start Training My Dog?
  • Is it Important that a Dog Learn to Heel?
  • 3 Things to do Right Now to Avoid Separation Issues with Your Dog
  • Training Your Dog to Stop Barking
  • How to Use a No Bark Collar

  • Pull-Quote= 10 Tips from the Slackers Guide to Dog Training



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