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Poppy - A Havanese
(This is Lily's Sister, in a Festive Mood!)

Avoid Pattern Training

One secret to training your dog for practical application is to avoid pattern training your dog. Pattern training is when you always teach your dog to do something in a certain way, place or under certain circumstances. Some dogs have an easy time generalizing what you have taught them and others do not. A common example of pattern training is teaching a puppy to sit for a treat. The problem occurs when the puppy learns to always sit in front of you, looking at you for the treat. When you try to get your older puppy to sit by your side, he will scoot around to look at your face. This is an example of pattern training.

To avoid this, be sure that you teach your dog to do all of his exercises in all places in all positions when it is practical to do so. If you want your dog to sit and come no matter where he is, practice having the dog sit with his back to you and come to you when you are in different positions. Teach your dog to sit-stay and come while you are out of sight. These exercises can be accomplished with the dog on a long lightweight rope. You can give your dog a sit-stay on one side of a building while you walk around the corner and wait. Then call your dog. Use your imagination to invent ways to show your dog that he must listen no matter where you are in relationship to his position. Not only is this is practical dog training, but it will build your dog's confidence so he will not get upset in new and unusual situations. However, for certain circumstances, you can use pattern training to your advantage. For example, if you always want your dog to heel on your left side, do not let him heel in any other position. Be sure to think about what you are doing and what you are teaching your dog. Always try to determine if what you teach your dog today will hinder the use of the training later. It is almost impossible to go back and explain to your dog that you made a mistake.


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Copyright 2001 Susan Bulanda. All Rights Reserved.