Every dog owner looks for good tips to help them train their dog. The key is to understand how your dog learns so you can be effective in training it. Don’t over-think the situation or expect your dog to be smarter than he is. Dogs learn by watching, by reacting to their leader. The training is solidified when they are rewarded for obeying and when they experience negative consequences for failing to respond appropriately. It’s really that simple. Dogs have a long genetic history as instinctual animals living in a pack where they learned through positive and negative responses from their mother, the pack leader and other dogs.
Your role is to tap into those instincts to be accepted by praising and rewarding them for the desired behavior. Remember that inherent truth about your pooch and you will soon have a well-trained, wonderful canine friend.
Foundational Training Tips for Lasting Success
There are a handful of training tips that form the foundation for all of your dog’s future training. If you and your canine friend master these everything that follows will be easy.
Embrace the alpha position:
Your canine’s pack animal instincts lead it to want a strong leader to follow. In the absence of such a leader the dog may be confused or may even seek the position himself out of concern for its well-being. Effective dog training begins with you making it clear that you are in charge and that you will protect your dog and provide for it when it follows your directions. When the dog is confident that you are in control it will be content and much easier to train.
Employ crate training:
Many dog owners think putting their dog in a crate is unkind. It doesn’t have to be. If fact, the crate replicates a dog’s hole or den where it can be safe and secure. The crate gives your dog its own space and it will appreciate that. Make sure you don’t punish your dog by sticking it in the crate or it will have negative associations that will destroy its effectiveness. Start using the crate when you first bring home your dog and place it in the crate often when you are there. This helps the dog know that all is well and that the crate is a good place. For training purposes it will assist in house breaking and will reduce anxiety and unrest along with the barking and whining those feelings produce.
Make good use of the leash:
The value of the leash is that you can use it to train your dog to relax and to keep itself under control. You accomplish this by expecting the dog to sit while you put on the collar and leash and before going through the door or gate, for starters. On a walk you then teach the dog to walk at your pace without straining or pulling. If it does, you make it stop and sit so that it associates its behavior with the negative consequence of having to take a time out.
Consider taking an obedience class:
These classes are great places for both you and your dog to learn. All the essentials of alpha leadership, basic commands, leash training and more are usually covered. Dogs young and old will benefit from these classes and you will gain mastery over your own dog training skills. You’ll also meet other dog owners to share tips and pointers with, plus you may find it convenient to schedule time at a local park to meet and allow your dogs to continue the socialization process. Should we also mention that such classes have produced more than a few wonderful romances for dogs and masters? Perhaps not. But we will encourage you to practice at home the valuable lessons you and your pooch are learning in class for ongoing reinforcement.
Be Consistent and Your Dog Will Respond
Inconsistency creates confusion in any dog. The tips we’ve mentioned all require consistency on your part to take deep hold with your furry friend. The old “do what I say, not what I do” adage won’t work with Fido. He will do what you do and what you consistently expect. Establish clearly defined rules and then follow them every time. For example, if getting on the couch is a no-no then don’t ever allow it. If the dog needs to sit before being fed, stick to it. It is important to get everyone in your household to buy into the rules so that your dog remains clear on the expectations. The result will be a contented, secure dog. While dog training requires you to be disciplined in your approach it will pay great dividends in helping your dog be a wonderful pet and companion.