Training is the best investment you can make in your relationship with your dog. But first you need to learn to communicate your desires in a way that your dog will understand.
All dogs benefit from training. It goes beyond learning tricks that will impress your friends. Training will help your dog stay safe in a variety of situations, from being in the yard to being monitored in an emergency.
The mental training your dog gets can help him stay sharp, burn energy, and even reduce unwanted behaviors. Be consistent and patient, reward your dog for getting it right, and remember, you can train a dog of any age.
No matter what you are trying to teach your dog, from house training to “heel”, there are a few basic guidelines to make the process easier for you.
Make the workout consistent
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Use the same cue for the same command every time.
If you use “Come here” one week, “Come here” the next, then “Come here buddy”, you are confusing your dog. If your dog is allowed to pull on the leash at times but the collar is pulled at other times, you are confusing him.
Make sure everyone around your dog follows the same rules and uses the same pointers.
Also, don’t expect that once your dog learns something, it will learn it for life. Your dog can lose his or her new skills without regular exercise.
Use praise & rewards
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Almost all modern dog trainers believe that dogs learn better and faster when we praise and reward them for getting it right, rather than punishing them for doing it wrong.
The best motivator is usually a combination of a small treat, especially if you exercise before you eat, and enthusiastic praise.
Don’t worry about ending up with a dog that only works to eat. Once your dog has an idea of what to ask of them, start rewarding them sporadically, and eventually you’ll be able to stop the treats entirely.
If your dog isn’t that keen on food, try praising it without the treat or a favorite toy or physical reward like a good scratch behind the ears or a belly grater.
Set up the rewards properly
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The praise and reward must come immediately after your dog does what you want when he wants to make the connection. For example, you might want your dog to think, “Hey, if I pee outside, I’ll get a treat. I’ll do that more often!”
Clicker training – training your dog with a device that makes a “click” sound – is based on this philosophy. You make the click as soon as your dog shows a desired behavior and follow him with a reward. In this way, your dog learns exactly what behavior a treat will bring him.
Keep the workout short and sweet
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Exercise works best when it’s fun and you stop before either of you gets bored or frustrated.
Keep the mood, not serious, and keep the sessions short. Five to ten minutes is enough to get started, or you can do lots of mini-workouts throughout the day, especially if you have a puppy. Like children, they have shorter attention spans.
Make it easy for your dog to get it right
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If you let a dog who hasn’t pooped all day run free unattended around the house, you’re asking about a mistake that can become a bad habit.
When you practice the “come” command in a dog park with a million distractions, you are also asking about a mistake that can become a bad habit.
Exercise slowly, starting in a quiet, familiar place with no distractions, and gradually making it harder for your dog. Do not proceed to the next step until your dog has mastered the current step.
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Screaming, hitting, and tugging your dog around on the leash will not teach him how to sit on demand, pee outside, or do anything else he is supposed to learn. It will Teach them that you are scary and unpredictable.
Training fairly, calmly, and consistently is the best way to get your dog to obey and respect you.
To go to school
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Getting personal advice from an experienced trainer is the best way to get a well trained dog.
Obedience classes are relatively inexpensive, they are a great way to learn how to train, and they will get your pooch used to being with lots of other dogs and people – good for all dogs, but especially important for raising safe, friendly puppies .
If taking classes or hiring a dog trainer is not on your budget, check out our dog training page, which is full of articles with helpful advice from experts and other pet parents.
Some dog lovers also have success with dog training videos on YouTube; However, you need to proceed with caution as anyone can post a video and it may not contain accurate or helpful information.
Adapt your training to your dog
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Every dog is different and more responsive to slightly different styles of training.
Some dogs are so sensitive that a sharp tone of voice or even lively praise can rattle them; they need calm, calm guidance. Others are thick-skinned and need a lot of repetition to learn all of the rules.
And some clever pups will try to figure out what exactly your rules mean: Can’t I sleep on the couch in this house or in all of the houses?
There are also these dogs who occasionally push back when you push them instead of giving in to what you ask for.
Your dog’s behavior, not its breed, is the best indicator of its personality. Remember that although different dogs thrive with different approaches to training, they all need a benevolent leader.
Shouting, hitting, and other techniques that cause pain or fear are not the solution for any dog. In fact, they can cause a behavior problem or make an existing problem worse.
Do you train your dog regularly? What tips do you have that could help other animal parents? Let us know in the comments below!