Ten Natural Steps book coverTen Natural Steps to Training the Family Dog: Building a Positive Relationship

Visualize working through the ten training steps as climbing up a ten-rung ladder. Like a ladder climber, you cannot reach rung ten without stepping on rung nine first. Each rung is your support as you reach for the rung above it. I suggest that you read the entire book before beginning actual hands-on training. Reading through all ten exercises will help develop the proper training mind-set and aid, I hope, in showing you where you are going.

Like a knitted blanket, every strand is connected to each other. So too is true for dog training. Since we’re dealing with self-control exercises for our dog(s), we need to focus our attention on each goal separately until we feel comfortable. Some of our clients say my dog doesn’t have that issue, our reply is usually “great”, then it should be a breeze.

Like a child in school, they may excel at a particular study but have difficulty in another. However, that doesn’t mean we skip English class to only focus on math. Every exercise that we teach increases overall self-control and only helps in our ultimate goal(s). As dog trainers, our most prized trait is patience and it’s a trait that we try to convey to our clients. The tougher a dog is, the more patience is needed for that exercise to be successful.

The come command — one of the most useful and sought-after commands — is a perfect example of why we say each exercise supports the other. If I want sweet Bella to come to me, then I must make sure she can ignore food, dogs, people and much more. If she only comes to me when there are no distractions, then my come command is not worth a hill of beans. Once you complete an exercise, don’t forget to revisit often to keep it solid.

Training should never stop; it only gets easier.