Having a dog can be one of the great joys in life. But when they aren’t acting the way you want them to, they can also be the most frustrating. Don’t lose heart; there are some effective ways to get your dog to behave. Here are some good ways to start training your dog.
Your training sessions must be long enough for your dog to learn the desired behavior but no so long that he becomes bored. Begin with small sessions and increase the time daily. You will see how long your training sessions should be before you lose your dog’s attention.
Do not train your dog through fear of physical punishment. Teaching your dog to respect your commands and dominance will create a healthy and stable pet. Dogs learn to respect the pack leader in the wild by being dominated, not attacked. Physical punishment can lead to an irrational and often violent pet.
Make sure your dog’s diet is appropriate for him. If your dog is a lazy dog who likes to lounge around all day, you don’t want to give him the high protein food a dog who herds sheep would receive. This can cause problems and high vet bills down the road.
Crate training is a good skill for a dog of any age to have. Teaching your dog to stay in their crate quietly takes time and patience but can be a valuable tool while potty training or a safe place for him to stay while you are away from the house.
When training your dog for specific commands, be sure to use the exact same wording during everyday life as you do during training sessions. If you select “down” for “lie down”, use “down” every time you want the dog to lie down. Changing up the terminology can confuse your dog and interfere with training.
When training your dog to specific commands, don’t mix in pleasantries and other extra words. Give the command word sharply and alone. Your dog doesn’t understand words like “please”, and won’t be upset at your lack of manners. Keeping the commands alone and clear makes it easier for your dog to understand and obey.
Most dogs respond better to positive reinforcement rather than negative punishment. If you’re trying to train your dog, reward him for good behavior and only scold him if absolutely necessary. Your dog will remember the reward for good behavior more distinctly than the punishment for bad behavior, making rewarding more effective.
Next time your dog jumps up on you in excitement, tell them “Off” in a firm (but not angry) voice, gently push them off, and turn your back. The verbal command and action of moving them reinforces what the command means, and turning restricts their access to you. This accomplishes two things: a) your dog can’t jump on you anymore, b) your dog feels he loses your attention, which is the exact opposite of what he wants. This teaches him quickly not to jump on you.
Remember that sometimes patience is key, don’t become frustrated if your dog doesn’t catch on right away. It would be nice if every dog could understand your every command but you have to remember they can’t. Just try and be sure you are aware of your dog’s emotions and when they do follow your command reward them so they know what they did was right.
When you get a new puppy, the best way to train it is to remove the temptation to behave badly in the first place. For example, if you have a puppy that is inclined to chew on shoes, store all of the shoes in the house out of reach of the dog. This way, the behavior doesn’t have to be trained out of the dog later.
Spend time each day training your dog, even if for only a few minutes a day. Dogs respond well when they get to practice what they are learning and what they have learned. Practicing at least 15 minutes a day on commands your dog already knows keeps the dog in practice.
Spend time training your dog in a variety of locations and with different distractions. Once Fido sits reliably at home without distractions, teach him to sit outside, at the dog park, and in places with lots of people. This helps your dog obey commands reliably in any situation regardless of distractions.
Get your dog’s attention the same way every time. Start each command by calling the dog’s name. Use your dog’s name to get his or her attention. Once you do this, tell your dog your command. Dogs know their name and will be attentive when you speak it.
To teach your dog anything, you need to be consistent. This means you should give the same order every time, and reward or punish your dog in a similar way, all the time. This will help your dog assimilate certain concepts much faster than if you were using a more complex and diverse way of communicating.
For your dog to understand what you are punishing them for, you need to catch them misbehaving. If you reprimand a dog for something that happened hours ago, chances are your dog will not make the connection. And if you choose to ignore your dog to show that you are mad, do not ignore it for more than a few minutes.
Be mindful of exactly what behavior you are reinforcing, so stand your ground and don’t give into your pet’s persistence. A dog will generally repeat whatever action has previously earned him a reward. Thus, if you give a dog food so that it will stop begging at the table one night, you’re only making the dog more inclined to beg for food again, the next night.
Try these tips and see how well they work. It will not happen overnight, but sooner or later your dog will start responding. This will mean you can relax a little. A great dog can be a great friend, but you’ve got to take a little time to train him first.