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Rewarding the dog when it does something good and correcting it or ignoring it when it does something it shouldn't is the key to learning to distinguish between what it can and cannot do
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How dogs learn

Learning behaviors is closely related to its consequences. Depending on whether these consequences are positive or negative for the well-being of the dog, it will tend to repeat the behavior that has led it to achieve that consequence or, on the contrary, will avoid it.

The possible consequences that may occur when a dog does something are as follows:

  • Let something good happen: The dog sits down and receives an award. The dog will want to sit down again.
  • Something bad happens: The dog on a leash will run away and we pull on the leash. The dog will never want to run again while on a leash.
  • When something good disappears: The dog bites the hand and the owner stops petting the dog. The dog will not bite the hand again.
  • Let something bad disappear: The dog cries and the owner allows it to leave his park (the isolation disappears). The dog will want to cry every time he feels alone.
  • That nothing relevant happens at all: The dog is bored and barks at its owners but the owners do nothing. The bark has not generated anything, the next time it is bored it may try something else.

These consequences that cause a specific behavior contribute to the dog to establish a predetermined behaviour in a specific situation, although the dog does not always reach an immediate conclusion. You have to repeat the same behaviour in the same situation to achieve learning and want to repeat or avoid a behaviour.


A reward helps a behavior to be repeated. This is the basis of teaching the dog, reinforce him with rewards when he performs a behavior to increase his tendency to do it. The rewards are relative and are subject to the tastes of each dog that gives a different value to each type of reward. Therefore we must choose which are the rewards that have a greater value for the dog because their motivation to achieve it and, therefore, their intensity and concentration will depend on it.

If we want the dog to be motivated we must find a type of food that is very appealing to him, because the motivation to get it will be greater.

Our verbal approval is stimulating and comforting for the dog. Usually it is a reward that is used in association with other rewards, for example congratulating him while we offer him an edible prize. For our voice to be a reward, the tone and energy we transmit must be in accordance with what we want the dog to understand (which we congratulate him on), since a dog does not understand the words with which we articulate our voice. Therefore we must try to put a lot of emphasis to correctly transmit the message to our dog.

Throwing him a ball or offering him his favorite toy is a great way to reinforce something he has done well. This reward is very playful and increases the bond with its owner.

Petting him or touching him serve as a sign of approval and affection. This reward increases its value according to the strength of the bond between the dog and the person.

We don't reward the dog, but that we get him out of a situation that makes him uncomfortable, and that becomes a reward.


Corrections are consequences of an action the dog has taken and can help to get a behavior to stop or not to repeat itself. In general, corrections or punishments are not usually used to teach a dog, but are a wake-up call and a way to establish a hierarchy about the dog by showing that we are going to demand something of it. Correction serves to stop it from doing what it is doing, but on almost no occasion does it serve to make the dog learn something, but rather it will lead it to do what we expect it to do and it is not occurring.

A reproachful tone of voice will have an immediate repressive effect on the dog, which they know and will know the meaning of our voice.

Our body communication can influence our dog and make him understand that what he is doing we do not like, for example when we stare at him and lean towards him, being a threatening posture the dog will quickly understand that we want him to stop what he is doing . To apply gestures as a correction, you have to know canine communication well, because you have to speak to them in their language and know how to read their response.

The strap is a means of communication in itself. As a rule, the leash should be loosened and only tightened to make small corrections that divert attention from what the dog is doing. The correction of the leash is done through the tension of the strap suddenly, always assuming that the leash is loose. The strap is pulled to immediately relax and redirect the behavior towards the desired one.

Isolation or lack of attention
When a dog behaves badly, one of the most effective corrections is to deprive them of our company or attention. It usually works when the dog is highly excited or has a bad gesture towards us. At that time, removing all attention from him or forcing him to calm down for a few minutes in a room or place without access to where we are can serve to restart what we are trying to teach him from a new state of mind.

A scare or something unexpected happening can be a good correction for the dog to stop the behaviour it was doing. Instant and controlled "fear" can quickly make a negative association between the behaviour and unpleasant surprise and make the behaviour cease to exist.

Teaching them what they do well and wrong

When our Australian Cobberdog does something right, we should always reward him. When learning, rewards should be very special so that the dog learns from the first moment that what he has done has many benefits. As learning is more constant, praise, patting, and occasionally a treat may suffice.

When our Australian Cobberdog does something wrong, we can correct it, but a correction should never be applied without a reason. After applying a correction there should always be a reward. The correction will give the dog the opportunity to change its behaviour, and once the correct answer has been executed, we will apply the reward. This way, the dog learns what consequence each of the behaviours has, good and bad, and thus has the possibility to choose. In this way it will tend to repeat the behaviour that brings benefits and to eliminate those that are punished.

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