Every dog and every dog owner has his or her own unique dog training challenges. Each breed of dog has a different temperament as does each individual dog. And dog owners are no different. Despite the differences, there are some basic things in common for training all dogs.
No matter why you have a dog, he should at least have some very elementary dog training. No one wants a dog who isn’t housebroken, who runs away or into the street, who won’t sit, come or stay when you want him to. Both you and your dog will be happier with a little common ground on obedience training.
One of the first things to take into account when dog training is that dogs are programmed for a world of leaders and followers. You have to be the leader in your relationship. Signs of a leader are absolute consistency. Know what you want your dog to do and keep that constant from day to day and training session to training session. Don’t shout. That is a sign that you have lost control. And keep your dogs attention focused on you during the entire training session.
Attention is the second important thing to keep in mind for dog training and one of the hardest to maintain. It has been said that ninety percent of dog training is getting and keeping his attention. Dogs are very much like small children and have short attention spans. Keep training sessions short – 20 minutes is fine, or even a couple of 10 minute sessions. Work with your dog in a quiet environment that is free of distractions. Talk to your dog in a quiet voice. Use his name and explain what you want him to do. He may understand no more than, “Blah blah blah, Toby”, but your voice will keep him focused in your direction.
Experts have found that positive dog training is more effective that a system of rewards and punishment. A dog who looks forward to training sessions as fun and full of rewards is a dog who will learn faster and better. Reward accomplishments with treats or words of praise or pats. As your dog learns new skills, you can reward him for each step along the way. If he doesn’t respond the way you want, rethink what you are asking him to do and how you are asking him to do it. What worked as a dog training method for one dog may not work as well for the next. Your dog may need to review some more basic dog training lessons before going on to new lessons. Rather than punishment, a stern NO, blocking a movement with your hands, or withholding rewards when he doesn’t perform, and remaining consistent are the best ways to encourage your dog to exhibit the behavior you want. Remember that it is in his nature (as well as yours) to want to test limits and see how much he can get away with. Consistency in dog training and rewards are what get positive results, not punishments.
Dogs are very much like us. They want to follow a leader they respect. And dog training is just like school. They like to do things that are fun and make them feel good, where they get rewards for accomplishing what is asked of them. And they want the same thing their owners want, a happy and safe relationship with the ones they are love. A little dog obedience training will go a long way in making this happen.