Dog training is a complex job but it is essential for the well-being of your pet. A well-trained dog is a happy dog who knows the rules and the boundaries of its home. Dog training at some level is essential to dog ownership and you will want to have at least a basic grasp of some dog training skills when you decide to get a dog.
Dog training always works best when done consistently and with clear expectations. Your pet will thank you for being clear about what you want from them, and they will enjoy the boundaries that you are imposing. Dogs think that you are part of their pack and when you lead them toward the right behaviors, and they will thank you for being their pack boss on a daily basis.
What to Keep in Mind While Training a Dog
Always remember that your dog will need to learn different skills at different times in its life. The skills that a puppy needs to know are very different from the ones that older dogs require practice for. You will want to be sure that you are not throwing too much at your puppy too soon and you will need to make sure that you are not making life too strict for the happiness of your older dog. Balance is required to make sure that your dog’s training efforts are fair and reasonable for your dog’s needs.
1. Be Patient
This might seem obvious to you, and you might think that you are being patient every time you work with your dog. This is hard to accomplish sometimes, however, and you will need to be certain that you are not being emotional when your dog is having a tough day with a lack of focus. When your dog is not doing any of the things that you expect of them, getting angry will just make them scared and shut down their ability to reason through a problem.
Be patient, but firm when you are correcting your dog for distractions or behaviors that you don’t like. A pack leader would be firm but not emotional and your dog will respond best to this objective approach to discipline for misplaced energy or distraction.
2. Provide Consistent Rewards
If you are trying to teach behavioral rules or tricks, you will need to be sure that you are consistent in your rewards. This is just as important as being consistent in your discipline. Dogs are routine—based thinkers and they appreciate consistency in every interaction they experience. If you are consistent in your praise for all instances of behavioral success, this will help reinforce the things that you are trying to teach.
Make sure that you don’t confuse your dog by ignoring times that they are successful in their efforts. These are the goalposts that they use to learn new skills and you will be cheating both of you out of learning opportunities by ignoring times that your dog has been compliant or obedient.
3. Learn Dog Body Language
The body language that your dog is displaying can go a long way toward helping you understand how they are feeling. You will find that dogs can say a lot with a simple tilt of the head, or a wag of their tail and you might be encouraging the wrong outcomes by ignoring what they are telling you. Being sure that your dog is understanding you and being attentive is crucial for effective training and you will need to learn some dog body language to make sure that you and your pet are on the same page.
Dogs are easy to read, so this shouldn’t seem daunting. You will be able to learn all of your dog’s non-verbal communication with ease once you apply yourself to the task.
4. Use Consistent Commands
Verbal commands are very effective for your training plans, but you need to be consistent in how you use them. You can’t expect your dog to learn three words for the same command and you will want to be sure that you are always using the same tone of voice when applying commands as well. We already know that dogs respond best to consistency, so you should use this same tactic when training verbal commands.
If you are using the same verbal cues with your dog consistently as you teach them skills, they will easily add these verbal cues to their understanding of their job. You can train a whole variety of unique commands based on verbal cues if you are patient and consistent while you train them. Dogs are able to understand a wide range of subtle and verbal indicators, and these can all be trained with ease if you are consistent during the training process.
5. Don’t Try to Make Your Dog a Person
Dogs are not people, and people are not dogs. You and your pet should work together as a pair who understand one another but you should not be trying to erase your dog’s “doggyness.” Your dog will perform all of the tasks that you set before them if you train them like a dog. Being sure that you are using your dog’s instincts and his understanding of the world to your advantage can make all the difference in your training plan’s success.
Training Your Dog Can be Easy
Training a pet can be really easy if you use the right methods for their needs. Being consistent and fair can make a huge difference in your dog training success and patience is a key element as well. Your dog has been bred to want to work with you and see you as the leader of the pack in your home, so you can use this instinct to help you to train your dog to do all kinds of amazing things.
Training your dog helps them to bond with you and to become your partner in all of the activities of your lives together. Making sure that you are providing fair and consistent training can make owning a dog a real pleasure that will change your life for the better.