No Free Lunches

When I was going to dog trainer school, they drilled into us a “No Free Lunch” policy when it comes to dealing with dogs. This description is particularly useful.  When you give your dog a treat, feed him his regular meal, or even, table scraps, you are in effect saying, “yes” to the behavior at that moment. This is why I advise all my clients never to give their dogs food unless they respond to a command. So if Rover is jumping around at mealtime, he needs to display a little more self-control. Before he is given any food, have him obey a command. This sends the message "yes, this is what I want you to do.”  For example, my dogs have to sit quietly before I put food in their bowl. Then, they have to wait for me to release them. Whenever I choose to give them a piece of left over cheese or meat from dinner, it is not given until they do something such as roll over, shake hands or down/stay. The message the dogs are receiving is "yes, but I want you to do something for me first." Having this one concept in mind will strengthen the relationship with your dog and teach him that you are in control.  A trained dog is a happy dog and a happy trained dog can be truly enjoyed by everyone.