Having a well-mannered dog can make a huge difference in your life. For example, you can go out for walks or socialize with other fur parents and their dogs without worry and fear. Good dog training allows you to enjoy seamless dog boarding if you need to leave town for a few days. It also helps you build a close relationship with each other.
However, it’s no secret that instilling obedience and basic dog skills don’t happen overnight. It takes time, patience, and some innate dog owner instincts for your dog to learn properly. If you’re serious about teaching him/her the essential skills, below is a short guide to dog training with plenty of expert tips and tricks.
Getting to know your student
Like with teaching children, you need to gauge your dog’s learning capacity and temperament before you start training lessons. It’s a crucial step regardless if you’re working with a puppy or a newly rehomed dog. By being attentive to your dog’s needs, you can help him/her learn better.
It may also come in handy to know your dog’s personality and preferences. For example, how long is his/her attention span? How fast can he/she figure out what a command means? What forms of positive reinforcement can you use? Does he/she have a favorite toy? Will using dog treats help you grab his/her attention?
Also, you need to have a clear set of goals. Think about what sort of skills you would like your dog to master. How intensive do you want the training to be? Are there behavioral concerns you need to address? How serious are the issues? Does your dog need professional help?
By learning everything you can about your student, you can identify areas of improvement and determine if you need to tweak your approach. It could also help you decide if you need to enroll your puppy in intensive programs like dog bootcamp training.
No time to lose! Start as soon as possible
When it comes to training your canine buddy, it’s best to start early. Ideally, you can begin training when your dog is around eight weeks old. Besides knowing the do’s and don’ts when bonding with your pup, it’s the perfect time for you to introduce simple cues like sit, come, or stay. Here are some useful tips you can use when training a puppy:
- Calm down your dog before the lessons so he/she can be more focused
- Set up a quiet and distraction-free play den
- Help your dog get used to his/her name.
- Make sure to include potty and crate training in the routine.
Training an adult dog is achievable
Contrary to the famous saying, you can definitely teach an old dog some new tricks. If you’re bringing home an older dog, here are some tricks you can use to assess his/her skills and introduce new commands:
- Be mindful of your dog’s physical health. Older dogs aren’t as agile and spry as a pup.
- Older dogs often pick up new skills fast, so don’t hesitate to introduce something new.
- Be quick to notice any signs of bad experiences. Your dog may need to undergo re-training to help him/her cope.
- Give your dog time to adjust. It could take a few days to a whole month, so you need to be extra patient.
- Enlist the help of a professional who has experience in working with a variety of dogs.
Punishment vs rewards – which yields better results?
Once you know what your dog needs and how you can help, your next priority is to create a routine that works. It’s essential to find balance between punishments and rewards and there has been a long and varied discussion between the two training approaches.
The majority insists that positive reinforcement through rewards and praises delivers better and more desirable results. It establishes trust and encourages the dog to repeat good behavior until he/she can respond to specific commands. To maximize the benefits of positive reinforcement training for dogs, take note of the following:
- Look for healthy snacks to reward your pooch.
- Maintain a consistent reward system to avoid confusing the dog.
- Choose to use simple words like sit, stay, off, and stay down when commanding the dog.
- Offer rewards that your dog genuinely enjoys such as belly rubs or yard access.
- Besides offering toys or treats, be sure to give your dogs lots of compliments.
- Strive to create strong positive associations by rewarding your dog after he completes the task.
Don’t hesitate to call for help
Training your dog to become well-behaved can be an arduous task. Without prior experience in raising and disciplining dogs and the right equipment, many things can go wrong during each training session. In such instances, it’s better to ask for help.
Trained dog specialists can work with a wide range of dog breeds. No matter if you have a large fur baby like a Great Dane or a teeny-tiny one such as a chihuahua, rest assured, Delaware K9 Academy can lend you a hand. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.