Dogs are phenomenal companions. They are loyal, friendly, and always happy to see you. However, dog ownership comes with a lot of responsibility. If you want to have a well-behaved dog that doesn’t wreck your house or bark incessantly, you need to train them properly. This blog post will discuss the top dog training tips and commands you should focus on teaching your dog!
Dog Training Tips
Training your dog is one of the most rewarding and beneficial tasks you can undertake as a pet parent. And one of the biggest reasons families bring dogs to shelters is lack of training. So, with January being National Train Your Dog Month, we wanted to share some helpful dog training tips to assist you in beginning this journey with your pup!
Consistency is Key
Consistency during dog training is incredibly important. You need to be consistent with commands and the consequences of those commands. That means that if you give your dog a command, they should expect the same outcome every single time no matter who gives it. This is especially important when it comes to commands like “sit” or “stay.” This consistency includes always using the same word and even the same kind of intonation, when asking them to do something.
It is also very important for everyone in your home to be on the same page when training your dog. To learn new habits, dogs need consistency. So if you never let your dog on the furniture, but your partner or other family members do, your pup will end up confused.
Train in Small Spurts Often
Short, frequent training sessions are the best way to teach your pup. Generally speaking, dogs can only focus for short five-minute bursts before needing a break. This means that you should train in multiple sessions throughout the day rather than one long session all at once. The American Kennel Club recommends keeping sessions to around five minutes. This is because five or ten minutes here, and there is better for teaching new skills as it helps keep your pup focused.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Veterinarians unanimously agree that positive reinforcement training is the most successful way to train your canine. This technique relies on rewards for good behavior instead of punishing wrongdoings.
Whenever your pup displays positive behavior and obeys your commands, reward them! Doing this will help to solidify the point that good behavior leads to great rewards. To ensure you’re not inadvertently reinforcing negative habits, avoid rewarding undesirable behaviors such as barking for playtime or jumping up during greetings. It’s best to wait until they’ve settled down before giving them attention. You’re reinforcing the association between good behavior and good things by rewarding good behavior.
Find the Right Reward
You don’t have to just use treats as your reward during dog training. Anything that captures your pup’s attention and encourages them to engage with you is a great reward. This can be anything from vocal praise, playtime, belly rubs, toys, or anything else they love. The key is finding something that motivates them to continue your desired behavior.
Handle Dog Training in Stages
When you’re teaching your dog a new behavior, it can help to start small. This is especially true for more complex behaviors like “stay” or for behavior modification (when you’re trying to get rid of unwanted behavior). Try breaking the behavior down into smaller parts. For example, when you’re first training your dog to “come,” praise and reward them when they take even one step towards you. Once they start to understand what you want, it will be much easier to add more steps and build up to the whole behavior.
Make it Fun
Training should be fun, both for you and your dog! Always keep it positive and mix things up to keep it interesting. You could also consider training your dog to do tricks in addition to regular obedience training. Dogs naturally respond more enthusiastically to tricks than they will to a plain old sit—so they love to perform tricks for us! Remember to praise your dog when they do something good, even if it’s small. Getting caught up in the end goal of training is easy, but every little bit helps!
Integrate Dog Training into Your Daily Life
Dog training doesn’t need to be separate from your normal daily activities. Find ways to reinforce good behavior throughout the day as you cuddle, play, and walk with your pup. This will help keep them engaged in learning while maintaining their enthusiasm and interest. For example, ask your dog to sit or respond to another command before you give them their dinner, take them out for a walk, or play with them.
Use Hand Signals
In addition to verbal commands, you can also incorporate hand signals into your training. While not all dogs respond well to hand signals, many do, and they are a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your pup. For example, if you want them to sit, try using a downward pointing finger as a signal instead of just saying, “Sit.” Your pup will eventually start understanding the signal and associating it with the action.
Attend a Training Class or Consult a Trainer
If you’re having trouble teaching your pup or need some guidance, consider attending a class or hiring a professional trainer. You can learn valuable tips and tricks that will make training your dog more manageable, as well as get advice from an expert on how to handle certain behaviors.
You can also look for group classes in your area where you and your pup can practice together and get to know other people and their dogs.
It’s important to remember that consistency is key when it comes to training your pup. The more you reinforce good behavior, the better they’ll understand what you want.
Be Patient During Dog Training
Dog training can be a long process, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t happen overnight. There may be times when your dog doesn’t respond to commands as quickly as you’d like. Don’t get frustrated and give up. Just focus on being consistent and patient. With enough practice, your pup will start to understand what you’re asking of them.
Training your dog is an integral part of having a happy and well-behaved pup. You need to use patience and consistency when teaching them new behaviors and make sure to keep it fun and rewarding for you and your furry friend. Consider attending a class, consulting a professional trainer, or integrating dog training into your everyday life. With enough practice and patience, you can successfully train your pup to become the best canine companion they can be!
Good luck with your dog training!