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What You Need to Start Dog Training

Learn what you need to start teaching your dog tricks from professional dog trainer Andrea Arden in this Howcast dog training video.


Training tricks is a great way to enhance your relationship with your dog while exercising them mentally and physically with brain games and in some cases physical challenges, and it really helps to improve your skills as your dog's trainer all while having fun. When you get started with tricks training you want to choose something that's going to be manageable for you to train, as well as for your dog to learn.

The best tricks to usually start with are what I would call "single-action tricks", meaning that the dog has to do one single action and/or tricks that come naturally to your dog. Before you get started, you're going to need some tools, however, because remember you're your dog's trainer and teacher, and so you need to be prepared and have some skills of your own.

You're going to want to have rewards for your dog when they get things correctly, and so you'll want to cut treats up into tiny, little pieces, especially if you have a little dog because you're going to want to be able to give them a lot of information for when they get things right. So cutting your food up into tiny, little pieces to use as rewards, and then having that stored somewhere like a hands-free treat pouch. Or if you have a sweatshirt, you can put the baggie in there.

But you want to have your training treats all cut up and prepared for you. Then you also need a way of communicating to your dog that they did something correctly. I like to use a clicker. That's what it sounds like because it's a very precise marker. When I say the word "marker" I mean it marks the moment in time that your dog did something right and communicates with them that that's what they're getting the treat for.

If you don't like the clicker, and a lot of people do feel uncomfortable with it, you can always use a verbal marker like the word "good" or "yes" when your dog gets something correct. So your skills as your dog's trainer would be to see or see it, and then to mark it and then to reward it. What I mean by that is having good observational skills as to what your dog is doing right, communicating with your marker that they got it right, and then rewarding them appropriately.

If your dog loves toys, you can also reward with toys. In the case of Walter, he likes food. We're going to be using food rewards for him.

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