TIP #1: WHAT'S WITH ALL THE BARKING?
Sometimes undesirable behaviors (barking, growling, lunging, snarling, snapping) are caused by fear or discomfort - this happens when the dog learns that growling or barking will make something move farther away from her.
In such cases, the dog is expressing her fear, but many people react by punishing the dog. While this sometimes stops the behavior, it doesn’t change the way the dog feels, which means we now have a potentially dangerous situation: A dog that no longer shows she is upset. Push such a dog beyond her comfort level and her only option is to bite. If you have ever heard anyone say, “I don’t understand what happened. She seemed fine. Then she bit,” these stories are often about dogs that have been punished for making their discomfort known.
Dogs don’t growl or bark to be naughty. It is how they express fear, discomfort, or a desire for distance between themselves and another object, animal, or person. The best way to stop the behavior is to change the underlying emotion. A dog that loves something doesn’t growl at it.
TIP #2: KEEP TRAINING SESSIONS SHORT
As you train with your dog, it is important that you don't overdo the amount of training. Science has shown that animals retain better when taught in short (five to fifteen minutes) spurts, rather than long, drawn out sessions. Dogs not only fill up on treats, they also get bored during long training sessions. If you over train, your dog will not be as excited about doing an exercise the next time. If you stop before he gets full or bored, leaving him wanting more, you will have a cooperative dog the next time you train him
If you find yourself overtraining because you are excited about your dog's progress, simply count out 20-50 tiny treats and stop when they are gone. That will keep you on track with limiting the amount of time you train.
- excepted from Chill Out Fido!
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI