Dogs are a man’s best friend and for a good reason too. Loving, friendly, and loyal, they are an absolute joy to have as pets. However, they also have an uncanny ability to be rascals as well. From chewing your shoes down to the bone to jumping on unsuspecting visitors to simply barking for absolutely no reason at all, your best friend can easily turn annoying. The only thing these behaviors are indicative of is a lack of training.
Pets are like kids; they don’t know better. And just like children, they need to be taught right from wrong. With a bit of (tough) love, patience, and a whole lot of treats, your dog will be a source of joy to have.
Whether it’s a young puppy or an older dog, whether it’s your first-ever dog or you’ve had ones before, training won’t be an easy task, and you mustn’t give up. To make things easy for you, we’ve made a guide on the best ways to train your dog.
Before we dive into training methods, there are certain things to keep in mind.
First and foremost is choosing the breed of dog. Different breeds have different personalities; some dogs are more hyper than others, and so if you’re not a very patient person, you might want to get a more docile dog. The last thing anyone wants is for you to get agitated with your dog and end up abandoning it for being true to its breed.
Secondly, give yourself and your dog time to bond. Take time to learn about your dog’s personality and their likes and dislikes and give your dog time to adjust to their new surroundings and their new life. The best way to bond is to cuddle and pet your dog constantly. Bonding takes time, so be patient.
A prevalent method amongst dog trainers, the positive reinforcement method is pretty straightforward. It follows the belief that when a dog is offered a treat for a certain (good) behavior, they will repeat those actions. And if your dog is misbehaving, they will have to show disapproval for their actions. This could be done in several ways, such as the lack of acknowledgment, taking away rewards such as treats, or their favorite toy.
However, this requires quick action. Your dog should be rewarded for good behavior within seconds of their action. That way, your dog will be able to associate their good deed with the treatment offered.
Rewards can include a favorite treat, a toy, lots of love and praise as well as patting them. This method is especially excellent for command training.
The tone with which we speak to our dogs can give a lot away to them, which is why the tone and volume we speak in plays an essential part in training your dog. Have a firm and steady voice when reprimanding your dog for bad behavior so that they know two main things. Firstly, you are the one in charge, and they have to listen to you, and secondly, you are displeased. If you let your voice waver, your dog will believe they are the dominant one in the relationship and will not listen to your commands. Similarly, don’t reward bad behavior with a laugh, no matter how cute it may seem. This will make your dog believe that that particular bad action is getting them the desired attention, and it will become difficult to teach them otherwise.
Tone doesn’t mean an increase in volume. If you want to show displeasure, yelling won’t do the trick, and your dog will tune you out. This will only work against you, especially in the case of an emergency if you yell out to your dog for help, rather than be alarmed by the sudden increase in volume, they’ll ignore you.
If your dog does a good deed, praise them with a loud cheerful voice to make them feel happy and loved. Your dog will respond to your happiness with perked up ears and the wagging of their tail. You can also show your dog concern with a low and soft tone if they get hurt while doing a good act to encourage them to continue despite any setback.
It is an essential part of the training that you teach them basic commands such as “No!” “Sit,” “Come.” These basic commands are what will pave the way for training. It will help establish you as the alpha in the relationship and will be the basic directions that your dog has to follow if nothing else. Dog trainers suggest starting with “Come” in particular to establish dominance since your dog will be coming to you. To master this command, use your dog’s name, get down on to their eye level, and then reward them for following the command. First, try to teach this to them as an exclusive command and then teach them to come even when they are busy doing something else.
No one enjoys cleaning up a dog’s poop or pee, and if not trained about where to take their nasty business, that’s what you’ll end up doing all the time. This is especially important if your dog stays indoors.
This training is heavily dependent on the pet owners. You’ll need to set a feeding schedule and also plan potty breaks accordingly where you’ll have to take your dog out to poop. Start with taking your dog out every two hours and then start on extending the hours.
Reward them with praise when they are done with their business. Make the whole process appealing to learn for your pet.
Dogs essentially want to please their owner so training them isn’t too difficult. With the right amount of love, patience, and treats, your dog will be a good boy in no time!