General Guidelines And Tips For Training your Dog
While it may seem like a monumental task to train your dog, taking the process one step at a time actually produces amazing results. Most dogs only need you to invest time in them and show that you care for them to eagerly undertake their training. This sets them apart from most other animals and demonstrates why they are considered man’s best friend.
Beginning Dog Training
The first thing that you need to do is to ensure that you are consistent in your training methods and times. If you can’t set aside enough time each day, you will find that your training methods fail. This applies to everything from potty training to more advanced training for tricks and agility methods. The time you put in usually translates directly into results, with training being easier in the first year of a dog’s life.
Potty training is usually the first goal and is one of the easiest undertakings. Always take your dog out every 2-3 hours in the beginning, letting them know that they will always have access to the outside for their bathroom needs. If you find them soiling their cage, or if they have an accident, avoid yelling, and take them outside. Yelling scares and confuses your dog, making them more secretive about their behavior and building bad habits.
There are a number of different products available on the market to help with training your dog, but potty bells might be one of the most effective. These bells are placed on the door, and you ring them as you walk out each time. Your dog will begin to associate the sound of the bells with bathroom breaks, and they will eventually ring them to signal a need to potty. This is when you can stop taking them out every 2-3 hours and can begin taking them out every 6 hours or when they ring the bells.
Setting Up Expectations
Once you have completed potty training, the real training process can begin with your dog. You first need to sit down and really think about the expectations you have for your dog and the rules that you want to set for your home. If you don’t want your animal on your furniture, then you need to give them that expectation from the start. Make sure that anyone coming into your home is aware of your requirements as well.
If you want your dog to learn tricks on a regular basis, you will need to come up with a reward system and may want to look into using a clicker to indicate what they should be doing. This allows the dog to understand when you are training them, and also ensures that you are following along with the current best accepted practices. There are other methods available, and if the clicker doesn’t work with your dog, you may want to look into those methods.
Many people don’t like working with food when training their dogs. They feel that it creates an expectation that good behavior will always lead to treats, creating dogs who only behave when there is food involved. Others choose to use food once in a while, but generally try and keep the dog guessing, and avoid relying heavily upon food as a training agent. No matter what you decide, you need to build up a standard expectation for your dog. Be consistent, be firm, and always be fair with your dog.
Dog Training Classes
Many people find that they get the best results from their dogs when they attend training classes with a professional trainer. This is because these people have spent their lives learning what dogs need, and how to gain their obedience. Even one session will give you access to a number of different training methods and will show you how to truly set up expectations with your dog.
There is always an option to continue on with lessons, and many different institutions offer obedience, agility, and skill training for your dogs. Depending on the breed, you may even have access to breed specific classes. These classes all build on a number of specific commands that are designed to be easy for the animals to recognize and for their trainers to remember as well.
These classes are generally conducted in a group setting, but particularly spirited dogs may benefit from individual lessons as well. The group sessions ensure that your dog gets positive socialization and learns what is expected in a situation where there are a large number of dogs around. This helps you work on training in a situation where there are many distractions, and will generally lead to a much more obedient dog.
Establish Yourself As The Center Of Your Dogs Life
While some people pass off their dogs for training with someone else, this is generally not a good idea. Your dog is going to bond with you and look to you for instruction. If you allow someone else to create that bond, you are only going to make more work for yourself. On the other side, if you have multiple family members, you will want to include them in the training process.
You are the center of your dog’s world, and you need to recognize this fact if you want them to meet their whole potential. Your dog understands when you are disappointed, angry, sad, and pleased. This ability to pick up on your emotions is generally behind their desire to perform and to meet your needs.
Your dog needs to understand that they belong to you and that you are there no matter what stimulus they are receiving. This is why taking them out and training them in a number of different places is important. It’s good for your pet to behave at home, but you really need them to behave when you are in public, and this can be a problem when they are not used to being around other animals, or when training has only ever focused on their behavior in a home-based setting.
Focus Your Love On Your Dog
One of the best ways to train your dog involves praise and love. Be sure to encourage your dog and build them up when you spend time with them. Pet them, tell them they are good, give them treats and toys, and show that they are loved. A dog who feels loved will show greater loyalty to their master. This makes them easier to train and will make the training process fun and rewarding for everyone involved.
This applies to everything in the training process, even learning their own name. Create positive associations with their name and with different commands. When they appear to understand and are responsive, you will know that they have learned what you need them to.
Make sure that you are always scheduling time to be with your dog. While this may seem like a lot of work, you will see better results when you spend at least 20 minutes a day working through different problems with your dog. Try and complete training at a set point in time, allowing your dog to look forward to your sessions, and segmenting their day. You should follow this formula with their feeding times and bedtimes as well.
Start each training session with their name and any old tricks, letting them know that training has started. Then start introducing new tricks, once they have gotten into the right mindset.
Working on old tricks helps keep them fresh in your dog’s brain, and also helps get you into the right head space to teach your dog as well. You need to use commands outside of this time frame, but this is where the bulk of your work will take place.
Once your dog has learned a behavior, enforce that behavior, even outside of your training sessions. This means you need to keep an eye on their actions and hold them accountable, even when you are going through your daily motions.
Reinforce Their Behavior
The work doesn’t end when your dog learns a trick, you need to make sure that they understand the expectations that you have for them as a whole. Try and work through all of their tricks and actions at least once a month. While many dogs will retain tricks for years on end, they will react better when they are used on a regular basis.
Remember to keep your dog in a set routine, allowing them to thrive and truly get the most out of their training. Everything from a morning jog to going into their crate at night is a training opportunity and a way for you to get a better behaved pooch at the end of the day. Don’t skimp on the attention, always make sure that you are being fair, and remember where you have set your expectations.
Your dog will be your companion for many years, treat them with the respect that you would hope others would give you, and you will find that your relationship blossoms and grows over time.