There are a number of reasons why you may need to train your dog. He may be mature or you may have picked him up from a shelter. He needs to learn house rules. You may have moved to a new location and the new surroundings may be confusing.
Dogs are intelligent. They are fast learners and enjoy being trained. Training your dog can be rewarding and easy. Here are 8 practical tips for training your dog:
You need to use the same words and apply the same rules all the time. If you want to train him to get off the couch, choose one word. If you opt for ‘off’, stick with it. Don’t use ‘off’ and ‘down’ sometimes. It might help to tell other members of your household the specific words that you are using to train your dog to ensure consistency.
Do not repeat commands. Repeating teaches your dog to ignore commands, as it sounds like you do not care whether he obeys them or not.
When your dog does the right thing, you need to give him even more attention. Praise him generously, give him a treat, play a game with him, massage his ears, or go for a walk. Be careful with treats. Your dog will not love just any treat. He may be selective and may opt for soft, chewy treats, rather than hard, crunchy ones.
4. Realistic expectations
You need to have realistic expectations with regard to your dog’s progress in his training. It will take some time for your dog’s behavior to change. Behavior that is ‘natural’ to dogs, for instance digging, jumping, and barking will take some time to unlearn. You need to be patient with your dog. If your dog has rehearsed the behavior for a long time, it will also take longer for them to unlearn it.
Reinforcement can work for or against you. Your dog will learn what you reinforce. If you reinforce a behavior that you do not like, the dog will learn it, and vice versa. If for instance, your dog barks to get what it wants, this negative behavior will be learned. If you realize that you have been reinforcing unwanted behavior, begin to ignore his barking, for instance or ask for some positive behavior, for example sitting before doing what he wants.
6. Start early
If you can, start training your dog when he is still a pup. They need not be 6 months or older before you begin training. Younger dogs are faster learners.
7. Use a warm, friendly voice
Use a warm, friendly voice when training your dog. Dogs are sensitive to your voice’s tone and body language. These 2 aspects should be combined to show your dog that you will be pleased if he does what you want him to.
A crucial aspect in training your dog is observation. You need to observe your dog’s behavior when they meet another animal, dog or another person. If he does not appear comfortable meeting them, just respect that and don’t make him say hello. Observation will also help you to know the type of rewards that work and those that do not.
All in All
The above tips for training your dog should help you make the training period easier and rewarding for both you and your dog.