A dog’s natural instincts and behavior are not ideal in a domestic setting. Therefore, dog training is one of the best things you can do for your dog. It builds a strong relationship between you and your dog, lets your dog know exactly what acceptable behavior is and what is expected of him, identifies you as the pack leader and can even keep your dog safe. Whether you have a new puppy or you’re trying to teach an old dog new tricks, we have listed a good reference to start with a guide for basic obedience dog training.
Say his name.
The first step for successful dog training is to make sure the dog knows his name. Throughout the day, say your pup’s name and reward him with a small food reward every time he looks at you. Food rewards should be small, bite-sized training treats that you can carry in your pocket and is quick for a dog to eat. Training treats will help you in the beginning stages of dog training.
Get on a schedule.
A consistent schedule will help your dog understand what is expected of him. By working with your dog the same time during the day, your dog will know when it’s time to work. It’s the same as a human getting up every morning at the same time and punching in at 9am to start their work day. It’s routine.
Don’t overwhelm your dog.
One of the fundamentals of dog training is teaching one command at a time. If you try to teach him too many commands in one day, the dog may get confused and you will do more harm than good. Be patient and consistent. Remember, just because your pup sat down on command one time, does not mean he will always sit on command. It takes a little time to completely associate the commands with the actions.
Start with dog training basics.
A few basic commands to begin dog training with include “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “come,” “leave it” and “drop it”. “Watch” is another good command for getting the dog to look at you. You want to make sure you have a command to break the dog’s focus in case he tries to run away, bolts in front of a car or is chasing a bunny out of your garden. Every time you say “watch”, hold a training treat to your nose and give it to him when he looks at you. Eventually, he should look at you anytime you say “watch” without the training treat.
Only give positive reinforcement.
Most bad behaviors are learned from pet owners not providing the dog with clear structure and boundaries. You may think you should yell at your pup if he eats your favorite shoe, however, what you see as a negative reinforcement doesn’t always appear that way to a dog. For example, you may chase your dog if he won’t come to you. What your dog sees is a really fun game. You may yell at your dog because he is barking while you’re trying to watch your favorite TV show. What your dog sees is that by barking, he can get you to stop ignoring him and talk to him. Ignore the poor behavior and eventually they will stop. If something doesn’t get a response, it’s not fun. Positive reinforcement for the preferred behavior are most effective.
Seek help from dog training professionals.
If you are having a hard time dog training and getting the dog to listen, consult your local veterinarian to make sure there are not additional issues, such as hearing loss or vision loss. If you decide you need some help from professional trainers and want to take your pup to doggy school, make sure your dog is up to date on all his vaccines. There are also products on the market to help you get the results you would want. The products include gentle leaders, leashes, training collars, dog whistles, and so much more!