There’s a few rules you need you understand before teaching a dog tricks. If you keep those few rules in mind firmly before you try to teach a single trick, you’ll have less trouble and you will be amazed at what you can teach most any dog.
Keep your temper. That means that if you have an excitable, nervous or irritable disposition, you’d better just forget about teaching the dog tricks because you’ll never succeed at it. In order for you to get the dog to learn easily you have to make a game out of it and not work. The minute you get impatient and angry, the dog feels it and his joy is all gone. Even when the dog seems dumber than a box of rocks, don’t lose your temper. Even if he seems totally stubborn, keep your cool. In fact, in training a dog you do more than train the dog! You actually train yourself. You have to teach yourself self-control or you’ll ruin your dog.
Don’t spank the dog. This comes under the heading of making the lesson play and not work or fear. Did you ever hear of a truly great man or anyone of any importance that you admire who was beaten into what they are? The same with dogs. Use loving persuasion. Use a certain degree of physical strength to put the dog in the position you want them to be in gently but firmly. Keep some little sweet in you pocket like a little dried chipped beef if the dog likes that, or some little pieces of dried fish. Use them only sparingly and only when the dog has made a step forward. Instead of smacking him when he seems dumb, simply reward him when he seems clever, all the time being friendly with him. Don’t however, be frisky or playful during the lesson. Let it be a quiet, pleasant lesson.
Don’t make the lessons long. A half an hour twice a day is perfect. This comes under the head of making the lessons pleasant for the dog. Dog minds are like the minds of very young children and have short attention spans. They can’t concentrate for any major length of time. So have the short lessons, but have them every day if possible.
Teach only one trick at a time. If you want a dog to retrieve, teach him just retrieving and nothing else. If you try to teach him more than one thing at a time, his mind won’t grasp it, or if he does get it, it’ll only be incomplete. Teach him one thing completely before moving on to the next thing.