The Three “T’s” Make Dog Training Easy

HELP! This dog is driving me crazy!

Is your dog too much? Does she need training but you just don’t have the time? What will happen to her if you don’t train her? Are you thinking about bringing her to a shelter or off-loading her on to someone else?

Before you send Fi-Fi packing, we want to change the way you think about dog training.

Remember the three R’s – the foundation of the basic skills-oriented education program in schools: reading, writing and arithmetic? All learning was built off of these three basic skills.

Certified Dog Trainer, Kevin McClendon wants you to consider the three T’s – the foundation of getting the behavior you want from your dog: touching, talking and treating. “Using these three basic skills allows you to be the leader and drastically change the relationship you have with your dog”, says McClendon. “Rather than learn new ways to train your dog, the three T’s simply use what do every day to reinforce good behavior”, he adds.

McClendon knows a thing or two about this training technique. As the Canine Supervisor at PAWS, Kevin spends time each day working with behavior issues that range from poor social skills to kennel aggression. Kevin is also owner of Top Dawg Mobile Canine Training and is a volunteer trainer with Dogonexpress, an organization that trains therapy dogs for veterans with PTSD.

McClendon insists that when you make the choice to either lead, or to be lead, you pre-determine the behavior issues you will or will not encounter with your pooch.

“When you lead using the three T’s, you create a healthy, happy pet that understands their place in the family”, says McClendon. “If you allow your pet to be in charge, you create an unwieldy pet and you are at the mercy of how he chooses to run the household. Nobody is happy”, Kevin adds.

Let’s examine the three T’s:

Touch – Dogs exist to please you and to be with you. When you take away what they want – to be acknowledged and touched – they will respond with the behavior you want. For example, if you pet your dog when he pushes himself on you, you reinforce poor social skills. Your touch tells him that to get what he wants, he must be pushy. If you require him to sit before you will touch him, he learns that to get what he wants (to be touched), he must deliver proper social skills.

Let your dog demand when he gets your attention and you become the subordinate. If you engage with your pet as the leader you can correct any bad behavior. The use – or restraint – of touch can easily place you as the leader.

Talk – Dogs translate high-pitched, sweet-talk as playful and may construe your words as “let’s run and play!” Conversely, if you talk to your dog while you’re standing and with a firm voice, you command respect, he will listen and respond.

Give it a try. Using a high-pitched, sweet-talking voice, ask your dog to sit. How quickly does she put her butt on the ground? Now, use a firm, commanding voice and tell her to sit. Is there a difference in her response time?

Treats – Think of treats as grades in school. The better your pooch does and the faster he responds, the better the grade/reward. For example, if Fido’s favorite treat is a Puperoni, when he immediately responds to what you’re asking then, BOOM!, he gets a Puperoni. If he does what you ask but it takes some coaxing, then perhaps the “treat” is a pat on the head or scratch on the chin. The more the reward matches the response, the better the responses will get naturally.

Treats should never be doled out like peanuts at a Texas Roadhouse. Your dog needs to earn the reward. Give treats sparingly – when they earn it.

Making it real.

McClendon knows that, just like people, each dog is different and says, “Take the time to learn what your dog likes. Does she prefer that Puperoni or is she a toy freak? When you know, you can use this knowledge to your advantage and teach her anything.”

Once you get the hang of this simple style, it’s a breeze. Getting used to it might require some help. Never fear… Kevin is committed to helping rescued dogs be successful in their adopting homes. If you have rescued your dog and need help, Kevin offers the following:

  • One free phone consultation
  • 50% off all dog training services

PS: Remember, shelter dogs need time to acclimate. Their lives have been turned upside-down and they’re trying to figure it all out. They need you to lead.

For more information on the three T’s or to contact Kevin for training assistance: