Training your dog can be quite fun, especially if you do it right. It also provides your dog with a lot of benefits like mental stimulation and learning proper etiquette and discipline. If you plan to teach your dog a trick or two, you’ll need to remember the 5 Golden Rules to dog training. These rules will serve as your guide in providing what your dog needs. They also help you ensure that the training goes as smoothly as possible, allowing you and your dog to enjoy every step of the way.
#1. Get to know your dog
Every dog has a different temperament, learning style, and drive for certain things. One dog might have a hard time picking up new tricks, while another has no problem at all. With this in mind, you need to pay extra attention to your dog’s needs and learning characteristics. Here are a few things that you’ll need to assess:
- Obedience – A good way to test your dog’s potential for obedience training is by lifting him/her with the legs dangling in the air. Then, maintain eye contact and see what response you’d get. If your dog bows down or lowers his/her eyes, you won’t have a hard time instilling obedience. On one hand, if your pup tries to wiggle away, you’ll need extra patience during training.
- Sociability – Training your dogs to be social is critical to creating a strong bond. Unfortunately, not every dog is sociable. Some had a tough time in kennels, forcing them to become aggressive or anxious when they’re around people. Be sure to assess your dog’s social skills before you start introducing them to other dogs or other members of the family.
- Openness – This refers to how your dog perceives changes. It could refer to his/her curiosity levels, excitability and resourcefulness. Generally, curious dogs are relatively easy to train because they always want to try out new things.
- Neuroticism – A study shows that a dog owner’s neuroticism can significantly impact a dog’s behavior. Most of the time, dog parents with high scores for neuroticism have more aggressive dogs. It may help to look into this aspect if you want to build a harmonious relationship during and after the training.
#2. Make it an enjoyable experience
Just like in teaching young children, you need to keep dog training sessions fun. Otherwise, it becomes a source of stress for your beloved fur buddy. At the same time, you must find balance in incorporating discipline and proper behavior.
For example, instead of sticking to the usual routine where you say a command and hand over treats, why not try to improvise a bit? You can alternately use treats, verbal praises, or even belly rubs to reward your dog. Using dog games to teach lessons may also come in handy. Whatever approach works for your dog, we recommend continuing it. Then, you can experiment all over again until you create a fun yet effective system.
#3. Consistency is vital to your training success
Consistency matters a lot in training your dog. If you want to teach a lesson quickly and effectively, you need to ensure that you’re using consistent actions or commands. For example, if you’re going to teach your dog how to sit, make sure to stick with the same verbal or physical cues. Otherwise, you end up confusing him/her. It’s also helpful to maintain a schedule, especially for feeding, playing, and walking. It helps create that routine that will guide them every single day.
Another way you can maintain consistency is to keep everyone in your family up to date on the training progress. More importantly, they have to know the rules you’re trying to set for the dogs. For example, everyone needs to avoid petting the dog whenever he/she jumps or whines. This will only reinforce destructive behaviors.
#4. Learn when to call it a day
Dogs get tired too! Eventually, when attention span lapses, they no longer feel interested in listening to your commands or following your instructions. They either get too bored or feel overworked, decreasing their ability to perceive your lessons.
While it’s tempting to keep each training session longer, you need to keep it brief each day to ensure that you don’t overwhelm your dog. Ideally, each lesson should last no more than 15 to 20 minutes each day. If you go beyond the suggested duration, your dog may no longer be as receptive. Give your dog ample time to rest. To reinforce what you taught him/her, you’ll need to repeat the routine each day.
#5. Avoid punishing your dog at all costs!
The last thing you want is to push your dog to his/her limits through punishment. It’s not going to help in instilling the lessons needed to improve your dog’s behavior. It can turn even the most well-mannered dog into an aggressive one. Additionally, it won’t help you cultivate a harmonious relationship with your fur baby.
Instead of resorting to punishment, use positive reinforcement to teach your pup. It’s proven more effective in training any breed of dog. Encourage them through verbal or physical cues. For example, you can give them a belly rub or shower your pup with cuddles and love. You can say “good boy!” or “good job!” to show your approval.
The better cues you use to associate with a particular action or command, the faster you can teach your dog new tricks and skills. Find the best approaches to use, and feel free to modify them according to how your dog responds.
Get the best training for your beloved fur baby today!
Providing quality training for your dog can make a lot of difference in your relationship. You can help your dog feel comfortable around other animals and socialize with other people around them. Teaching them good behavior also helps them stay away from trouble. We hope that the top 5 golden rules for dog training we shared above can help you get on the right track.
Need a hand in training your dog? Delaware K9 Academy can help! We’re here to help you bring out the best in your dog through our different training programs. Contact us today for more details!