1. Be fair with corrections. Make sure your Beagle understands what you want before you correct him for not doing it. And let the punishment fit the crime. A correction should not be a release of anger, a clearing out of pent-up feelings by unloading them on the apparent cause of the problem, your Beagle. Instead, a correction is another way to communicate with your dog, to foster in him a clear understanding of his place in your human pack. As such, a proper correction is another way to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. At its mildest level, a correction is the absence of praise. Remember to always ask yourself if you’re being fair before you give in to the knee-jerk reaction to leash-jerk.
2. Be positive. This tip refers to having the right attitude, of course, but it’s more than that. Praise that’s well timed and appropriate is essential to your Beagle’s learning process. If all you ever do is tell your Beagle “no,” your relationship isn’t going to be a very good one. How would you like to work with a boss like that?
Praise is cheap and free – so use it, lots! Use praise when your Beagle tries to get it right. Use it more when your Beagle succeeds. Use it when your dog just pays attention to you, because that’s the first step in the training. You don’t have to be some gushing goof, but you do need to let your dog know when you’re proud of her.
3. When training your Beagle, be on the same team. Don’t think of training your dog as a you versus your dog endeavor. Think instead about the two of you being on the same team, albeit in different positions. Consider yourself the quarterback, if you like: You call the plays. Winning is a team effort. Of course, your Beagle has to learn the plays first, and you’re the one to teach him. And this relationship is still not an adversarial one. You show your Beagle the things he needs to learn, and you do so with love and respect, which your dog will return in kind.
To bring your Beagle onto your team and show him the plays you’ll be calling, you need to spend time with him. Bring him into your life. Let him sleep in a crate in your bedroom, practice his “sits” in the kitchen. The more opportunities for interaction and practice you have, the faster and more reliably your Beagle performs.
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