A dog can be a wonderful addition to your family. If you want to enjoy your time and have fun together, it is essential that your dog is properly trained. An untrained dog will bark excessively, have accidents in the house, chew things, and even bite.
If you are planning to train your dog yourself, there are a few techniques you should use to do it properly. If you use the techniques and are patient, your dog will be very well behaved.
Positive Reinforcement Techniques
Positive reinforcement is the most effective way to train a dog. There are several tips you should follow and several things that should be avoided, which we will get into later.
Positive reinforcement training focuses on rewarding your pet for good behavior rather than punishing for bad behavior.
For example, when your dog does something good and follows your commands, a reward should be given. On the other hand, if your dog is barking excessively or jumping on guests, acknowledging the behavior or giving in will reinforce bad behavior.
When training your dog using positive reinforcement, there are a few tips you should follow.
Find the right reward
Many dogs respond to dog treats as rewards. When your dog does something good or is following your directions during training, offer a treat. If your dog isn't interested in treats, praise, petting, a quick play session, affection, or their favorite toy will work as well.
If you are going to train your dog successfully, consistency is a must. You should always use the same commands to get your dog to follow your instructions. Using different commands will confuse your dog. You should also use the same reward and make sure everyone in the household is on the same page.
Frequent, shorter training sessions
Several short training sessions each day is more effective than one long training session. According to The American Kennel Club, keeping your dog's training sessions to five minutes a day is best. If you try to train longer than that, your dog will become distracted, bored, or frustrated, making the training process ineffective. In addition, it is best to train your dog at different places, around different people with varying levels of distraction. This will give your dog a well-rounded education.
Increase the level of training in stages
It is best to start your dog's training with simple things, like teaching the sit or stay command. When your dog masters simple commands, you can move on to more difficult training. When you have moved up to commands to keep your dog from jumping on guests and barking, be sure to continue with the simple command training, so your dog doesn't forget.
Make training fun
To successfully train your dog, you need to make training fun for both of you. If training feels like work for either of you, it won't be as successful. It is best to mix up the training sessions to keep them interesting. Play sessions during the training will also help. You can also train your dog to do tricks, which will make things fun for you.
Praise everything, even the small things
Your dog deserves to be rewarded for any improvements, regardless of how small. If you get caught up in the end goal of training, your dog won't be as receptive to the training. Rewarding your dog for every good thing, even the small things, will help keep you both motivated.
Work training sessions into your daily life
You don't need to schedule certain times for your dog's training. Working sessions into your daily life is actually more effective. For example, when feeding your dog, use the sit and stay command. Your dog needs to understand how to respond throughout the day; therefore, working training sessions into your dog's daily life is essential.
Use hand signals
Hand signals can be very effective when training your dog. When you use a combination of voice commands and hand signals, your dog will respond better.
Things To Avoid When Training Your Dog
Now that you know what to do when training your dog, it is time to learn what to avoid. Making mistakes can confuse your dog or make training sessions miserable for both of you.
Don't overuse commands
Although commands are necessary for training your dog, repeating the same command over and over is a mistake. This is an issue that the American Kennel Club calls “command nagging.” If you give your dog a command over and over, the command will begin to lose meaning.
Don't exaggerate greetings
After being gone all day, you will be tempted to make a loud entrance and be overly affectionate when you return home. While this is fine if your dog is fully trained, you should avoid exaggerated greetings during the training process. You are trying to train your dog to be calm when people enter your home, and exaggerated greetings will cause your dog to bark and jump on you, which will set their progress back.
Don't train sporadically
Sporadic training is ineffective. If you are training your dog only once or twice a week, he will not remember what you have been teaching him. It is best to train your dog for five minutes several times a day, every day.
Don't lose your patience
Training a dog isn't easy, and it can be frustrating at times. As long as you don't let your dog see your frustration, the training sessions should be effective. Getting angry and yelling will create a hostile environment, and your dog won't be as engaged in the training sessions. If you think you are showing anger or frustration, take a few minutes to calm down and then resume training.
Don't confuse the crate
Many people use the dog crate when they are away from home to prevent accidents. A crate is often a comfortable place for your pet to sleep. If your pet uses the crate for these reasons, don't use it as a form of punishment. For example, if your dog chews on a shoe and gets put in the crate, it will associate that with punishment, and won't want to use the crate for the purpose it is intended for.
Successful dog training doesn't happen in a few days. It will take plenty of time and patience to train your dog fully. When your dog is fully trained, it will be well-behaved and a pleasure to be around; therefore, you should follow the do's and don'ts listed above. If you start training your dog properly right when you bring your dog home, there is an excellent chance that the training will be successful.