Do-It-Yourself Dog Training Tips
Having a dog as a pet is one of life’s pleasures. They make wonderful companions and give unconditional love to their owners and families. However, you don’t want your beloved buddy chewing your brand-new shoes or going to the bathroom in your house. For the best interests of you and your dog, you need to create and stick to a training plan to help your new puppy understand what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. You both will benefit from having a well-trained dog.
Train Your Dog For Good Behavior
It’s important for you to focus on acceptable behavior and help your pet to comprehend the expected habits (and maybe a few fun tricks along the way). One of the first questions to ask yourself is if you should use professional training classes or try to set up a training routine on your own? There are pluses and minuses for both. Enrolling your dog in training classes will allow you to use the professional services offered by that trainer. The down side will be the cost and the hassle of taking your dog to the class site and blocking out time on a regular basis. If you decide to set up a training schedule at home and on your own you will save the expense of a commercial trainer but you may not know exactly what to do or how to do it.
There are many commercial and professional dog training options available in almost every city. A basic but useful option might be a beginner’s obedience class that you can take through your local human society, pet stores such as PETCO, neighborhood veterinarian offices and even some colleges. These sessions can be great starting points, especially if you have never been involved in training a dog before. Both you and your pet will learn some basic commands and reactions, and it allows your dog to interact with other dogs and people.
Should You Use A Dog Trainer?
For many people it is best to employ a personal dog training instructor. While there will be a cost associated with this process, you will be able to learn with your dog all about proper behavior, commands and reprimands from someone who is trained to teach. There are many reasons for using this type of service. If you aren’t able to create and execute a training plan on your own you might benefit from a trainer’s experience. Often times people have tried to train their pet on their own, only to find that the pet won’t respond to commands, praise or reprimand and both parties get frustrated. Some people aren’t comfortable with reprimanding their pets and need the guidance of a third party (the trainer) to make sure that the training is consistent and that the dog is understanding what is expected of them.
A quality dog trainer won’t just grab your pet and get started. They will spend time with both you and your dog, analyzing how you react with each other and spot any strengths or weaknesses that will need to be addressed. Often your pet will respond better to training in a neutral location than at home. There will be fewer distractions and their attention can be focused only on you and the trainer.
Commit To Your Dog’s Training
Deciding to pursue dog training on your own can be rewarding for both you and your pet, but it will require a commitment on your part. You will need to have a planned routine ready and know how you are going to teach each part of the training sessions. You must be patient, consistent and committed to make the training work, you can’t start and stop on a whim. All that will do will be to confuse your dog.
If you have decided to do the training on your own you will need to explore pet training books, guides, videos and other resources before you being any sessions. There are also quite a few training products that will help you such as special training collars, training leashes and muzzles. YouTube has thousands of videos revolving around dog training. Granted, many of them are worthless but there are some excellent videos that can be very helpful. You can also find training guides online, at your local vet office or at any school that has vet courses offered.
Here are some guidelines to help you get started on the path to having a well-trained, happy and healthy dog. Every dog is different, just like every dog owner is different. Be flexible while you are being persistent.
7 Very Good Dog Training Tips
Training Tip #1: Start your pet’s training off on good note by registering them in a basic, free standard obedience class. This is an excellent place to start as it will allow you to learn how to teach the three basic commands every dog needs to know and respond to. Those commands are sit, stay and heel.
These classes will teach you how to use both verbal and physical actions to indicate which behavior you want your dog to do. The basic technique to teach the command “sit” is to state the word “sit” clearly, then carefully push your dog’s rear end down onto the ground and settle them into the sit position. You then must instantly praise them verbally (the word “great” works well here} and smile so that they see your face when they hear your praise. Give them a yummy treat of some kind and rub them on the head. You want to reinforce positive behavior consistently so that your dog understands what is expected when a command is given.
Training Tip #2: Always remember that your dog, especially if they are a puppy, will absorb quickly any information about what is acceptable behavior and what is unacceptable. This is why consistency is so important, your dog is going to remember what you let them do.
By reinforcing good behavior you will remind the dog that this is what they are supposed to do. You can reinforce the behavior easily by smiling at them while petting them, give them a treat while praising them, or just by letting them know you are proud of them. Showing them support and praise will greatly speed up the learning cycle for your pet.
Reward And Praise Good Behavior
Training Tip #3: It’s okay to use food as a motivator while you are training your dog. Food is always a powerful motivator for dogs, just like it can be for people. Make sure that you keep regular and strict meal times for your dog while you are training them. If you let your dog eat anytime during the day you may find that the use of dog treats to reward training will not be as effective. If your dog is a bit hungry during your training sessions they will be more inclined to respond to your commands in the hope that a food treat will be the reward.
Training Tip #4: Don’t try to do too much at one time. Like people, dogs can only handle so many new ideas and commands at one time. Plan your training routine around the idea of adding only one or two new ideas over the course of a few days. The training sessions should be progressive and include a lot of repeating the activities covered and perfected during earlier sessions. Give your pet time to understand and learn commands, they won’t be perfect at the beginning and will probably act like they have never heard the work “sit” for the first few sessions. Don’t get discouraged and don’t reprimand the dog, simply go over what you covered in earlier sessions and make sure the dog is comfortable with the basics. Later you can slowly add more complicated and brand new commands to the training.
Training Tip #5: While it is important to have regular training sessions, you don’t need to have them at the same time every day. This can put too much pressure on both you and your pet. If you usually train at 5:00 you may feel stressed because you can’t get home by 5:00 and worry that all of your work has been for nothing. Don’t be too rigid. Work on the basics every day but by flexible when you do it. Don’t have the sessions last for more than 5-10 minutes. Your dog’s attention span isn’t that long and they may quickly lose interest.
Training tip #6: Training your pet at home may be comfortable but it also may offer too many distractions to both you and your dog. Try to have your sessions in a part of the house that will offer a quieter environment. Keep other pets and family members away from the training area and make sure there are not external distractions like music or television noise. You really need to keep your dog’s attention on you and your commands, a busy atmosphere will be far too distracting.
You will often find that your pet seems distracted even if you are in a quiet area. They may seem like they have forgotten everything that you have worked on or they may seem completely unwilling to work with you. This will be a time that requires patience and perseverance on your part. Spend some time bringing their focus back to the lessons and reward them when they respond favorably.
Training Tip #8: Watch out for programs that rely too much on fatty treats or special reward meals. Some training programs encourage you to buy their packages that include special treats and meals. While these items may be presented as being specially designed to help you during the training cycle they often are loaded with fillers and preservatives. You may end up with a trained dog but you may also end up with an obese dog who now is very fussy about what they will eat. It’s important that you have consulted with your vet about the best food for your dog and don’t change what you feed them while they are going through training.
Dog Training Requires Patience
A well trained do is a happy, comfortable dog and you will benefit as well. Keep in mind that your responsibility is to be consistent, persistent and patient. The results will be worth it.