How does it feel to have a dog for about 8 months, and it doesn’t respond to your most basic gestures like sit, come, and the rest. Alright, I shouldn’t be asking that because I know how it feels. It’s practically frustrating.
But do you think it’s the dog’s fault that it doesn’t know what you’re trying to communicate? Even the smartest of dogs need to be taught before they can respond as you desire.
And so, in this article, we’ll be looking at how to train a dog and talking about some important topics when training dogs.
Here’s what to expect:
- What Does It Take To Train A Dog?
- What Tools Do I Need To Train My Dog?
- Why Should You Train Your Dog?
- How Do Dogs Learn?
- When Should Training Begin?
- 10 Timeless Tips for Training Your Dog
- 5 Basic Commands Every Dog Should Know
Let’s dig in, shall we?
Honestly, when I started the journey of training my first dog, I was practically discouraged on my first try. I’m pretty cool with dogs, they love me, but there is more to training a dog than wearing a smile over your face.
I’d ask her to sit, and she would wag her tail instead, leaping for joy. It made me feel like Kevin Hart or some other comedian that was cracking up her ribs with cool jokes. Let’s just say the entire training stuff wasn’t really working out as I planned.
I wanted her to learn everything in a day and become the smartest dog on the planet, smarter than Chaser or Hollywood’s Benji. I soon discovered that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that progress is a step at a time.
If you want to train your dog to become really smart, you’ll need the following:
Patience is a luxury that is too expensive for a lot of folks. Everyone wants quick pizza, tea, meal, and results; including me. But it doesn’t work that way when it comes to dog training.
You need to see your dog as a toddler who is learning the basic behaviors of life. You may teach it one thing multiple times before it learns. So you’ve to cultivate as much patience as possible
You can spend some quality time with your dogs, bringing her up to speed with all the basics you need her to learn. But you can make it an easier ride by hiring the services of a professional dog trainer.
Their experience and expertise will make it a smooth ride, and your dogs will tend to learn faster.
Screaming “sit,” “walk,” “come,” and the rest is never enough to get the job done. Just as kids need learning aids in class, dogs also need certain tools that will make them learn faster.
A dog is a companion and friend that you can take around for outdoor activities. You’ve got to start training yours for such occasions by making it comfortable with leashes.
If you don’t train your dog with leashes, it may end up disappointing you when you step out in grand style. You should know the one that your dog is most comfortable in.Whistle
Not everyone uses whistles, probably because of dogs respond differently to it. But I’ve come to see it as a very priceless asset in dog training. There are different whistling techniques you can try out with your dog until it clicks.
A “long line” is not like a straight line drawn on the floor. It’s a long leash of about 15 feet. If you need your dog to practice some training tips without allowing it stray far away, then you need a long line.
Every organization and place have different pet policies. Some prohibit pet owners from visiting with dogs on leashes. For such a place, you may have to see a carrier or crate to transport your dog.
A target stick is as simple as it sounds. You will need it to train your dog to walk up to your desired target.
Virtually anything can pass for a target stick. You can use a real stick or anything visible enough for your dog to aim at.
Everyone loves to be rewarded, and dogs aren’t different. When they show good behaviors, reward them with gifts. You don’t need to give them a large lump of meat.
A soft, small-sized, meaty treat will serve. I really need to emphasize it, treats help dogs learn faster.
There are literally a bunch of other tools you need depending on what you set to achieve. You can also use portable mats, toys, and food puzzles.
Tools are as relevant as the training goals you set. What you need for scent detection training is obviously different from what you need when you want your dog to stop chewing on things.
For the security of your property
Imagine an intruder manages to find a way into your house, and instead of your dog to bark at it, it wags its tail in excitement. How would you feel?
I can imagine how disappointed you’d be. But the thing is that dogs are as good as they are trained. So, if you want your dog to protect your home, you’ve got to teach it to do so.
For your dog’s safety
Your property is not the only thing worth protecting. Dogs are very precious animals and deserve as much protection as humans. When there is no security in an apartment, they are the first target of burglars’ onslaught.
Training your dog will teach it to stay far from harm’s way and to stand firm and defend itself when the need arises.
To make your dog more sociable
Dogs often exhibit anxiety behaviors when they are in the midst of unfamiliar people. If you plan to take your dog out more frequently, then you’ve got to teach it to be calm among your friends and loved ones.
Also, there are basic commands dogs should be accustomed to know that a “some stranger” are “friends.”
To aid ease of transport
Another tough spot with pets is transportation. It’s most common to use crates or carriers to move your dog around. As simple as it may appear, dogs are naturally not used to being in a “cage.”
They find it restraining, to say the least. To show their discomfort, they whimper or bark. But if you can get them to love it, you will gain sufficient ease when moving them about.
If I have to say this a billion times, I’ll do it – “dogs are not humans.” If you remind yourself of this regularly, it will help you relate with them better. Also, it will enable you to understand dogs learn in a very different way from you and me.
Among the various methods of dog training, the principles of “correction” and “rewards” stand on a league of their own.
This means pointing your dog to its errors immediately they are performed. Some pet owners resort to beating, which is not advisable. Dogs don’t often understand why they are spanked.
It makes no sense to them that you’re hitting them for something they probably did about 10 minutes ago. It doesn’t add up in their head. So they just assume that humans are often crazy and act up at times.
Since they don’t understand your “crazy” behavior, they may wear a sorry face and run away in fear. But don’t be deceived, they’re still confused. Violence is not the best way to train a dog.
Reward entails applauding your dog’s good behavior by giving it treats or something it loves. When dogs are rewarded, they immediately connect it with the last thing they did. That way, they know it was the right behavior.
There is really no hard and fast rule for training. Experts have varying opinion on the question, but the sooner you engage your pet in training, the earlier you’ll begin to see the benefits.
Nonetheless, it’s good to start at age three months. This is because puppies are very curious and learn fast. When you start training them early, there is a great chance they’ll pick up new skills and words in no time.
Training your dog requires a number of skills and tools, some of which we have discussed. Likewise, there are different kinds of dog training, all of which will need the following tips:
#1. Understand How Your Dogs Learn
Dogs may be different from humans, but not in this case. Back in junior high, I loved the idea of keeping wake late at night just to study. My friends, on the other hand, aren’t nightcrawlers. So they preferred to study in the day and rest at night.
Let’s bring this analogy to dog training. Don’t expect your dog to learn just the way others do. You need to take some time to study its behavior, taking note of the best time of the day when training will work.
I’ve got some other tips listed out in this section. But all of them depends on this basic principle.Treat your dog as a unique entity with its peculiar behavior, characteristics, and learning habits. In all you do, seek for the best of your dog.
#2. Keep Training Sessions Short and Interesting
Do you remember how difficult it is to wait for the school bell to ring during a seemingly boring class in high school? That is how it often feels when training lessons are long. If you don’t want your dog to get bored and lose its excitement, you should keep your sessions short and fun-filled.
#3. End Every Session on A Positive Note
There is a positive energy that is dissipated when a training session ends well. If it ends in negativism, your dog may transfer its sadness to other aspects of its life. Even if it is making lots of mistakes, ensure you end the session on a high note.
#4. Dogs Weren’t Born by An English-Speaking Lady
It’s fascinating each time I see pet owners getting mad at their dogs for not understanding “simple” commands. I’d be like, “are you for real?”You’ve got to appreciate the fact that English isn’t a dog’s native language.
Yet, they make so much progress in a short while. They deserve an accolade and patience.Just as it is difficult for you to learn a second language, so it is for dogs to understand “sit” and “come.”
#5. Break Skills into Tiny Bits
If you’re teaching your dog a complex skill, try to break it into smaller steps that it can grab easily. Rehearse the small bits one at a time before progressing to the next one.
#6. If You Fail A Step, Take Three Steps Backward
Suppose you divide a particular skill into steps A to F and your dog encounters a problem in step E, you shouldn’t start rehearsing from step E.Rather take a few steps backward to step B or C and work it up back to step E where it faced the hiccup.
This is because concentrating on one step for long will make the dog forget its association with the previous actions.
#7. Repeat Training Everywhere With Everyone
If you teach your dog to lie down in the living room, it will associate that lesson with the sitting room and may fail to repeat the same action in the lawn.In the same manner, it may fail to repeat it if someone else asks it to do so.
For best results, you’ve got to repeat the same training lessons with your dog everywhere until it sticks.Also, ask other members of your family to try it out as well.
#8. If Your Dog Does Well, Reward It
Earlier, I said that the principle of rewards is one of the best strategies for training a dog. I’ll emphasize that here. After breaking your training into steps, try to reward your dog when it masters any.
You necessarily mustn’t reward it for all the steps it takes, but ensure your dog gets rewarded during training sessions.
#9. If Your Dog Misbehaves, Remove Rewards
When a dog is denied rewards, it can quickly attribute the reason to something it did wrong. I know you need to be firm at times, but you’ve got no need to yell at the top of your voice and strike your dog with a cane. It’s quite inhumane.
#10. Don’t Punish Your Dog
Speaking of punishments, there are other ways you can punish your dog without using a cane. And they are just as wrong as whipping its ass. One of the popular mistakes pet owners make is locking up their dogs in a crate as a way of punishing the dog for its wrong behaviors.
The side effect with this is that your dog will associate crates with negative experiences and would not want to ever be in it. If you’re passing the dog through crate training, this singular act will give you a significant setback.
Besides, it increases anxiety in dogs and can make them chew on things. Punishments won’t make a dog learn faster. It will only give you a false sense of accomplishment from the confused look on your dog’s face.
Among all the dog training lessons you can try, the easiest of them are these commands. With the right motivation and patience, your dog can learn it in the shortest possible time.
#1. The “Sit” Command
I don’t think there is any command as important as this one. It’s the first lesson every dog should learn. It’s quite simple. Just follow these steps.
- Show your dog a treat in your hand to win its interested.
- Bring it close to its face, then squat or kneel before it.
- Lift your hand above its head
- Ask it to sit by saying the word “sit.”
- Then help it to sit down.
- Allow it to take a bite of the treat while sitting.
- Repeat the steps again until it becomes perfect.
#2. The “Come” Command
The come command is one of the most important commands you’ll use when spending time with your dog.
- Ask your dog to sit.
- Walk about 10 feet away.
- Show the dog some treat and shake it around.
- Say “come” when it stands to approach you.
- Give it a treat and repeat the process at different time. Change your distance from the dog each time you try it.
#3. The “Down” Command
- The down position is quite different from sit. When a dog sits, its forelimbs are erect, but when it goes down, all limbs are bent. The The downosition it in its front.
- Lower the treat until the dog gets into the down position.
- Say “down.”
- Allow it to remain in that posture for a few more seconds, then praise it and give it the treat.
- Repeat the steps daily.
#4. The “Stay” Command
Suppose you want to step out and your dog wants to tag around, you can allow it to follow or ask it to go back. This lesson will come in handy here.
- Ask your dog to sit.
- Stretch your arm facing your palm towards the dog.
- Say “stay.”
- Step backward.
- If it doesn’t follow you, reward it with a treat.
- Repeat the process, taking more steps backward.
- If it doesn’t get it right, don’t yell at him. Not giving a reward is a sufficient lesson.
#5. The “Leave It” Command
Tired of your dogs taking what they ought not to? This command will put an end to it. It may require continuous practice for your dog to learn. Just be patient with it.
- Hold two different treats on your palms. One should be of high value, while the other should be of relatively low value to your dog.
- Drop the low value treat on the floor and cover it with your palm.
- Say “leave it” and step backward.
- If it looks up at you, ignoring the treat, reward it with the high value one.
- Repeat the steps over and over again.
Dog training is a very exciting journey. It has lots of ups and downs and reasons that will make you want to use curse words. But in all these, the virtues of patience and commitment are priceless.
You shouldn’t fail to treat your dogs with all the love and care they deserve. A journey of a thousand miles progresses with one step at a time. Dog training is a journey of an infinite number of miles, take it slowly.