Training your Golden Retriever doesn’t happen overnight as it is a process.
You can’t just tell your dog to sit and expect him to do it. Until he has been taught what the word ‘sit’ means, it is merely an unfamiliar sound. To confuse training even more, he has no idea why you would want him to sit, nor does he know why it is so important to you.
Thus, training occurs gradually. You need to show your dog what it is you want him to do. Help shape him into the sit if that is what you are teaching, or move him off the furniture if that is your focus. Then, as you are helping him, teach him the word, “Sit” or “Off the furniture.” Praise him when he does it right, even if you have helped him.
In fact, praise him every time he does something right. Your dog will work harder and do more for you when you use a lot of praise. That doesn’t mean that you should give undeserved praise; even your dog can figure that out. Instead, give enthusiastic praise when he makes an effort and does something right for you.
Interrupt incorrect behavior or actions as your dog is thinking about it or starts to move. If you have asked him to sit and he does, but then starts to sniff and act as if he is going to get up, interrupt him by saying something such as “Don’t do it!”
Do not correct your dog for not cooperating until you are sure he understands what it is you are asking him to do. Once he understands and is willing to do it, then when he chooses not to, you can correct him with a verbal correction or a quick snap and release of the leash. Only use as much correction as needed to get his attention and no more. With corrections, less is better except that it must be enough to get his attention. Your dog will quickly learn to ignore nagging little corrections and they will then become useless.
Interruptions and corrections alone will not teach your dog; they are used only to stop undesirable behavior at that moment. You will find that your dog will learn much more when you reward his good behavior. In other words, stop the behavior that you don’t want, but generously praise what you do want.
As you train your dog, timing is extremely important. Praise him as he is doing something right and either interrupt or correct him as he is making a mistake.
Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book. This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.