A point that I always stress when I am teaching someone how to train his or her dog is this: Training does not happen without motivation. You need to motivate your dog if you want him to perform.

I also stress the fact that there are two forms of motivation: Positive and Negative. Both forms of motivation can produce results.

For a long time dog trainers would not use food or other forms of positive motivation because they had the silly notion that a dog is supposed to work for its master PERIOD.

So dog trainers of the past would put a choke chain on the dog and use negative motivation to get the dog to comply with the command. The pain motivated the dog. In order to escape the pain the dog would comply.

A very bad way to train.

Whenever a trainer uses negative motivation he will get side effects. A killer whale trainer once said: If you put shock collar on a killer whale you will have a very short training session because there is a good chance that the whale will eat you when you get in the pool.

He went on to say that aggression is caused by negative training methods.

I always stress that using food is only one part of the training process. I always make sure that I show dog owners how to use what we call life rewards.

A life reward is anything that the dog likes or wants. Think of the last time someone demanded you to do something.

Here is the secret of compliance:

1. Ask
2. Motivate
3. Reward

But there's still more - let's continue...

The Premack Principle

This brings us to an important point in our training. It is also where I always get the question: “What happens if I don’t have food with me?”

This is where you can start to use the Premack Principle, also known as Grandma’s law.

David Premack was a behavior psychologist who discovered a useful principle in his research within behavior modification. The principle goes like this: You can increase the frequency of any low probability behavior by making it contingent upon a high probability behavior.

Or to put it another way: A higher probability behavior can be used to reinforce a lower probability behavior, a little wordy but let me explain.

Grandma would use the Premack principle by telling you that you could not watch TV until you have washed the dishes. Or that you could not have desert until you eat all your vegetables.

You see, Grandma would not let you watch TV, (high probability behavior) until you cleaned the dishes (low probability behavior). The same thing can be done with your dog.

I always teach dog owners how to apply and use the Premack Principle. When you understand and apply the Premack Principle you can get your dog to perform in any situation with or without food.

M.O.B. Rules

An extremely important aspect of dog ownership is effectively managing your dog’s behavior. Management Of Behavior or M.O.B. is something that every dog owner needs to do.

A young puppy like a young child requires a lot of management. Some management tools for a puppy would be the crate, baby gates, a leash, etc.

As your dog gets older and learns the rules of the house you don’t need to manage as much. My sheltie Sam was in a crate for the first six months whenever I left the house.

As she got older I would test a little at a time. I would leave her out of the crate for ten minutes, then increase to twenty minutes until eventually she did not need the crate.

There are a lot of dog owners that think a crate is a cruel piece of equipment. I totally disagree. I think it is cruel to give a dog to much freedom in the house when they are young.

Dogs have no concept of electrical wires, chicken bones, or dangerous chemicals like rat poison. A puppy can get into a lot of trouble if left unattended.

It is a good to crate train dogs even if you don’t like them. At some point in your dog’s life they may have to, go to a groomer or spend a night at the vets all of which require the dog to be in a crate.

Conclusion – Having a well trained dog really boils down to a few important steps. Learn how to motivate your dog, effectively manage your dog’s behavior and make sure you give your dog enough exercise. Following these steps will make it easier for you to live with your dog, and easier for your dog to live with you.

Author's Bio: 

Eric Letendre, the author of The Amazing Dog Training Man, invites you to visit http://www.amazingdogtrainingman.com for leading edge dog training tips, instructional video clips and articles that will help you train and understand your dog. You can also get weekly dog training updates with a free Smart Dog Newsletter subscription, available at http://www.amazingdogtrainingman.com/newsletter1.htm