|Once I clearly understood the framework within which Mariah and all wolves
and dogs operatethe social structure of the pack and all of its
ramificationsI was able to develop training techniques to work within that
framework. These techniques will help you train your dog in a positive way,
a way your dog will understand. Ideally, you and your dog will eventually be
able to communicate and act in harmony instead of indulging in a clash of
These are the tools and techniques I've developed for you to use when you train
Try To Put Yourself In
Your Dog's Place and See the World
the Way Your Dog Does
One of the first things I tell my clients is: Try to figure out what your
dog is perceiving and feeling. This is the beginning of being able to reach
an understanding with your pet and learning how to communicate with it.
Dogs, like wolves, have acute, highly developed sensory perceptions
through which they observe the world around them. To be a successful dog
owner/trainer, you need to work with these perceptions and use your dog's
keen senses to help you train it.
When you work with your dog, you need to communicate with it in a
language it can understand. Wolves and dogs use an elaborate system of body
language and facial expression to communicate with each other. If you can
teach yourself to read this language you'll know what your dog is trying to
tell you. At the same time, if you can emulate this language, your dog will
understand what you're trying to tell it.
Throughout the following chapters I"ll suggest ways you can use your
voice and your body to help your dog understand who you want it to behave.
Establish a Schedule
It is very important to develop a schedule in the beginning of your
relationship with a dog or puppy. Life within a wolf pack is highly
structured and orderedeach individual member of the pack knows its role and
what is expected of it. Domestic dogs share this need for order.
For a dog to understand what you want it to do, it has to know what's
going to happen, when. It should be fed, played with, exercised, and
allowed to sleep on a regular basis. Then your requirements will seem
logicalthe time for elimination, for example, will follow the time for
eating, or sleeping, and so forth.
Scheduling is probably the most important tool you can use with a dog
while you're training it. I'll explain more about this as we go along. I'll
also tell you how to use a crate to help develop a schedule. When used
properly, a crate will provide a puppy or new dog with security and keep it
out of trouble when you're not around.
Use What I call the "Three P's",
Patience, Persistence, and Praise
Physical force will only seem like a challenge to most dogs, and you never
want to indulge in a clash of wills with your dog. But at the same time, you
must develop a foolproof way to let your pet know what you want. If you can
stay calm and patient at the same time you insist, or persist, in making your
wishes clear, and then praise your dog lavishly when it does what you want,
you can teach it without ever having to resort to anger if you use the three
P's you'll be successful in teaching your dog.
Use Reinforcement and Reward
Hand in hand with the three P's, you need to continueously reinforce every
lesson you give your dog. In order for a dog really to learn a command, you
have to repeat it for reinforcement many, many times.
Every time your dog performs correctly, reward it with praise, which will
further reinforce the lesson. Constant reinforcement accompanied by rewards
for good behavior will make any training lesson stick.
Develop A Sense of Timing
Correction and praise mean nothing to a dog unless they're timed to occur at
the exact moment of a transgression or a proper action. Teach yourself to
read your pet's body language and anticipate its actions. Then you can
correct your dog as it reacts to stimuli. Otherwise, it will be too late.
If you do this with your dog, you'll soon develop a wonderful rapport.
Make Your Dog Focus On You
This is a great tool to use at times when your dog becomes distracted, upset,
or wild. When Mariah was frightened or her strong instinct made her
aggressive, for instance, I found that if I immediately forced her to look at
mefocus on meI could calm her down and then make her listen to me. If
you plan to go on to off-leash work with your dog you must learn how to do
this to avoid potentially dangerous situations. I'll tell you how to use a
number of different sound stimuli to help you make your dog focus on you when
These are the basic techniques and tools I've developed to train all dogs.