Author: Sujana Marie
When it comes to training your dogs, there’s a lot that can go wrong, and the process can be incredibly challenging. As such, it’s important to be aware of some top tips for training your beloved canine companion – and today, we’re looking at some of the top training tips and guides you should follow to make the most of your training efforts. Hopefully, these will help you have a good experience with training your dog and – critically – help avoid him developing naught and unwanted habits.
Before you Start Training Your Dog
Before you can begin training your family dog, it’s crucial that you start off right. To this end, you must have developed a strong relationship with your beloved canine friend before you can get started. Indeed, if your dog doesn’t start its training in a trusting position, you will likely struggle to see quick progress and results from your training.
In addition, you’ll need to choose an appropriate training method. There are supporters of both of the two types of training methods, although positive rewards-based methods are more common and popular.
Indeed, while there are some supporters of an aversive-based training method (which uses positive punishment principles), most often, a reward-based method will usually be more appropriate for training your dog. Indeed, while there are rare occasions where an aversive-based training method may be necessary – for example, telling your dog off if they act dangerously – most dogs will respond better to positive reinforcement methods as these will not induce fear in the owner or people in general.
Tips for Training your Dog
So, we’ve clarified the importance of establishing trust with your dog and choosing a training method before starting. However, that alone isn’t enough to be successful with your dog’s training – and so, we’ve listed some of the top tips you should follow to be successful with training your beloved canine companion!
Understand the Basics of Training Your Dog
The first tip we can give is to ensure that you understand how your dog learns. Indeed, this can be a crucial part of improving your training approach, as it can help you get into the right mindset for your training. Remember, your dog has roughly the intelligence of a two year old child.
As such, when training them, it’s worth keeping this in mind. Of course, your family dog can still be successful in learning words – potentially as many as 250 words. However, like a two year old child, their learning will likely be slow, and they will be limited in how much they can learn in one go. What’s more, you’ll want to pace out your training sessions.
Keep the Right Rewards to Hand
The next tip we can give for training your family dog is keeping the right treats to hand when using a positive reinforcement training method. For example, clicker training can be a successful training method – but only once your dog knows that the clicker is praising him! As such, trying to train your dog with a clicker when they don’t know what it is won’t be effective! Similarly, if you’ve chosen treats that your dog doesn’t entirely love, you will likely struggle with training again. So, always do your best to ensure that you’ve got the right rewards for your dog – it will make training a whole lot easier if your dog is fully engaged!
Combine a Mix of Positive and Negative Reinforcement Methods
We’ve already mentioned the importance of choosing a training method. However, you will need to ensure you have a mixture of both training methods for optimal success for best results. For example, when using a rewards-based training method, it’s still important that you ensure any negative behaviors are discouraged. Similarly, with an aversive training method, you’ll want to ensure your dog knows when they do the correct thing, even if your training relies primarily on discouraging negative behaviors.
Keep Training Sessions Short
As we’ve already mentioned, your beloved canine companion has the intelligence of roughly a two year old child. Of course, for anyone who’s ever had anything to do with two year olds, it’s easy to see how this can impact your dog’s attention span! Just like a toddler, your dog will grow tired if you attempt to continue training for too long.
So, most training sessions should fall within fifteen minutes or less for the best success. Of course, if your dog is still engaged after this time, you can continue the training session – but be aware that your dog could rapidly get bored. Trying to push them to train when bored will likely only leave them unenthusiastic for future training sessions. Little and often is usually better.
Master the Basic Commands First
Most family dog owners’ guides will recommend that you start off by mastering basic commands before training your dog to do anything more complex. Indeed, when we say about mastering basic commands, you should ensure that your dog is performing these commands perfectly, every time, before trying to advance their training. These commands, at minimum, should include come, heel, sit, stay, and (lie) down. You should also ensure your dog understands what leave and no mean before progressing your training.
Be Patient While Training your Dog
This might seem like a slightly redundant tip, but it’s easy to forget when your dog training attempts don’t seem to be working. However, your dog will get bored and tired of training quickly, and mastering even basic commands can take many hours, days, and weeks of training. So, make sure that you pace out your training sessions and stay patient. With the right training and enough time, your dog will get there!
Dog training is an exciting process for many people, however, new dog owners often don’t realize how much work is involved. As such, before you start with your dog training attempts, make sure that you read our top tips, and ensure you’ve picked a suitable dog training method for your pooch. And remember – you will get there with time and patience, so don’t give up!