Coach Interview – Part 2
Coach Interview – Part 2
We’re back with more answers on dog training and obedience from Joan Lekas, owner/operator of Happy Dog Behavior Training in Waltham, MA.
Mrs G: Joan, what is the biggest training mistake people make when training or communicating with their dog?
Joan: Well, the first thing that comes to mind is to speak to your new puppy in English and expect him to understand what you want him to do. Staring at him saying “Sit, sit, sit” will not teach him how to sit.
You must first obtain the behavior, usually with a food lure, and once you predictably achieve the behavior, THEN add the command just before the behavior occurs. Following this order will ensure that your puppy gets the association between the action and the command that goes with it.
The second biggest mistake is ignoring your puppy when he’s being good and giving him all kinds of attention (even negative) when he’s doing things you don’t want him to do. Reward spontaneous acts of good behavior and these are the behaviors your puppy will soon choose to do on their own without prompting from you.
Ms. G.: How should one approach choosing a training location?
Joan: Whenever possible, use personal recommendations and observe a class.
Ms. G: What if a dog owner can’t afford lessons and/or can’t fit them into their schedule?
Joan: Other good options are books, DVDs, dog training websites, YouTube, and even some TV shows. Look for shows that use positive reinforcement training.
I am happy to give reading recommendations to anyone who wants to contact me.
Ms. G: What is your favorite training experience?
Joan: I love teaching puppy classes. Nothing is cuter than a room full of puppies playing. But most of all I love to enlighten and help new dog owners. My day is made every time I get an email telling me about a client’s good progress with their little ones or telling me that things have improved since our session.
Mrs G: If you had one thing to say to dog owners about dog obedience, what would it be?
Joan: Be patient and kind to your dog. Don’t try to exercise when you’re tired or frustrated. Don’t get mad at your puppy. If you feel frustrated, take a break and play.
If he does something wrong, teach him what you want him to do instead. If your puppy doesn’t respond to you, consider that you’re probably dealing with too many distractions. Consider how you can make things easier for your puppy by starting in a quiet environment and moving to a more distracting environment as they learn what is expected of them
Thanks, Joanne! It was enlightening and very helpful for our readers.
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