Most can agree that they are probably as many methods for training dogs as there are dog owners. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Training a dog is very crucial to their overall development and it will make them much better-rounded. But remember that training a dog isn’t going to happen overnight. To achieve the desirable traits that you’re searching for, you’ll need to persist. Let’s take a look at the top 10 ways to train your dog.
10. Persistence and Patience
Above anything, you should be patient and you should persist when teaching your dog new tricks or commands. As we previously mentioned, dog training will take some time. As smart as they are, dogs can only learn so much within any given amount of time. As an owner, be patient with their progress and continue to persist in your teachings.
9. Be the “Pack Leader”
Dogs are pack animals and knowing this will provide you with a huge advantage when training your pet. Basically, you need to let your dog know that you are the Alpha Dog. Encourage them to lick the backs of your hands and continuously rub their bellies. Whenever a dog reveals their belly, it means that they are submitting to you. Being the pack leader will ultimately make dog training sessions much more effective and less of a hassle.
8. Expect Mistakes and Fix Them
Remember that dogs are a lot like humans- they make mistakes. Knowing this, you cannot expect them to perfect a technique or command the first time around. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t expect them to catch on in the first few tries. Instead of getting frustrated that your dog isn’t catching on, simply correct them while the mistake is happening. With dogs, fixing a mistake later is considered too late.
7. Reward Positive Behaviors
Almost every single animal on this planet works under the same principle: in order to continue receiving good things, you need to continue acting a certain way. The same concept holds true for dogs. Whenever they do something that is good, you should reward them. This will reinforce that positive behavior and cause them to continue acting that way. Eventually, they will start acting that way without requiring an award.
6. Keep Training Sessions Short
Dogs have very short attention spans. If you try to take them on a two-hour training sessions, chances are good that they won’t learn much. For most dogs, 15-minutes to half an hour is usually enough to learn a command. In general, you should be doing several short sessions instead of one large one. Spread out these short sessions throughout the day or week and try to avoid marathon sessions. This will ultimately allow them to absorb more information and remember more commands.
5. Make Training Fun and Positive
If a dog isn’t having fun then they probably won’t enjoy their training sessions. While it is perfectly fine to be strict and want your pet to succeed, it is also fine to allow them to have fun while training. Remember that this is a positive experience and a perfect way for the both of your to bond. If your dog grows to hate training sessions then it will be harder to teach them new tricks later on down the road.
4. Train Frequently
While we did cover this a little bit, let us emphasize that your dog training sessions should be short and they should be frequent. If your dog has no previous experience with commands then you should consider training them twice per day. However, if you already have a command-savvy dog or one that doesn’t need much help then training them once per day should be just fine.
3. End Training Sessions on a Positive Note
You should always be ending your training sessions with your dog on a positive note. If your dog isn’t feeling up to par or is distracted, consider cutting the session shorter for that day. Try to practice things that you dog will enjoy and don’t continuously make them struggle. Make sure that you are starting your sessions with more difficult tasks and ending them with simpler ones. This will allow both you and your pet to leave a positive state of mind.
2. Reward Works Better Than Punishment
Some people believe that hitting their dog or punishing it will cause them to behave better. In fact, the opposite is true. Whenever you punish a dog for bad behavior, you simply reinforce or “anchor” that behavior with something negative. This in turn, causes your animal to subconsciously hold a grudge against you. On the other hand, positively shaping your dog’s behavior will ultimately make them a better pet and allow you to develop a much healthier bond with them.
1. Correct Behaviors from the Beginning
This is probably one of the most important tips you should remember. A dog’s behavior is typically determined by how it was raised. If the dog was allowed to do whatever it wanted as a puppy then it will likely do the same thing as an adult. Likewise, if you train a dog how to properly act when they’re young, they’ll likely carry the same features with them as they get older. This makes training them much easier and it will also make certain commands “stick”, since they’ve been adapting them as a puppy.