It is a bit ironic that this is the recommendation that I repeat most to my clients. But, this makes a HUGE difference in training. Any animal learns faster if there are clear instructions.
If you ask your dog to do something and they don’t do it, there are a few reasons that they did not perform:
- They did not hear you
- They don’t know the cue
- They don’t want to do the cue
- They are distracted and lost focus on what is expected of them
It doesn’t matter which of the above reasons a dog doesn’t perform. You should pay attention to being a good teacher and achieving a reflex response by asking your dog to do something, wait for a moment, help gently – if needed, and then reward after your dog does the behavior.
Don’t worry about your dog getting something for “nothing” by rewarding if you help your dog by gently helping. The key is to get repetitive actions that eventually turn into a reflex response.
An example of a helper is gently pulling the leash after saying, “Come”. Eventually your dog will do the behavior on his own.