Dog Training Introduction (Here’s What You Need to Know)
Thanks for stopping by to read our dog training introduction. Equipping your dog with discipline and skills is an invaluable gift that you can share with your pet. It helps your dog with confidence while, at the same time, providing adequate mental and physical stimulation.
Dogs love the constant challenge of learning new things, so your pup will look forward to training. Besides, it’s more enjoyable living with a well-trained canine.
How Should You Train Your Dog?
You might be asking, Can I train my dog myself? or is it best to leave training to a professional dog trainer? Many dogs receive their initial training from home, much like how kids learn it from their parents and families.
Coincidentally, dogs also have a learning mechanism similar to kids where they anticipate immediate consequences and learn from repetitive actions. So, yes, you can train your dog.
The next thing you need to identify will be the training methodology for your dog based on how it responds. Here are two of the usual methods to train dogs to get you started.
The first method on the list is aversive-based or discipline-based training. With discipline-based training, you react to what your dog has done right or sometimes wrong.
Example: When your dog pulls on the lead, you respond by automatically jerking your pup back. Therefore, when you pull or jolt your dog back, you let it know that pulling is not acceptable behavior.
In theory, aversive is an unpleasant stimulus whose objective is to change the behavior in the form of punishment. The idea is if you reprimand your dog because of something it did wrong, chances are your pup won’t repeat the action.
Many animal advocates do not favor this technique because part of the training includes using physical force, brute words, and even unpleasant devices like shock collars to yield results. Although you can train your dog this way, it will leave lasting psychological damage to your pet.
Also read: The Pros & Cons of Electronic Collars
An opposite system compared to aversive training is the rewards-based technique. The name suggests that it uses rewards, but only for the behaviors you want your canine to follow and learn.
Rewards can be in the form of belly rubs, treats, or other actions that are pleasing to your dog. This method sets your dog for success and is similar to applying positive reinforcement.
Usually, dogs enjoy this event sequence training because they associate you with happy consequences. As a result, your canine will do the correct behavior, knowing that doing so results in something nice.
This training also involves ignoring unwanted and unpleasant behaviors, so your dog can associate that bad behavior means they will receive no treats or attention from you, thus stopping the behavior altogether.
Different dog trainers might have other recommendations on how to train your dog. It’s up to you, finally, to choose the method. However, as in the aversive-based technique, instilling fear bears more negative consequences for you and your dog.
What are the 5 Steps to Train My Dog?
Once you’ve decided to take responsibility for your dog’s training, you might ask, how do I start training my dog?
Here are five steps that you can adopt to train your canine. Top it with plenty of practice, creative thinking, and some problem-solving skills, and you can prepare your dog to do anything practically.
Step 1: Decide on the Objective
Yes, you want to train your dog, but what do you want to teach your best bud? This step is essential because it would be impossible for your dog to see or do what you want if you don’t know what you want.
When you know what you want your dog to achieve, you can prepare the action plan and appropriate training to make it happen. But what is the first thing you should train your dog to do?
Professional dog training would recommend the following as your dog’s first lessons:
- Potty Training
- Basic Obedience Training
But when it comes to actual commands, what are the basics of training a dog? It’s learning the commands come (or recall), heel, sit, and stay.
Step 2: Demonstrate the Behavior
Dogs are not too keen on understanding human language, so you have to illustrate the behavior you want your dog to learn. So if you are teaching your dog to “Sit,” give the command and follow by physically guiding your dog on how to do it.
You can gently nudge your dog’s bottom so that it sits, or you can be more creative (and silly) and demonstrate how your dog should do it.
Step 3: Show the Motivation
Always make it a point to show your dog a reward waiting for doing something well. The more your pup gets excited about the treat, the more motivated it will be to work hard.
Set clear boundaries too. Let your dog know that you’ll give a treat if it does everything as told. Further, don’t get swayed by your dog’s huge brown pleading eyes.
Step 4: Share Your Dogs’ Enthusiasm
Be happy and excited when your dog does well and executes the command perfectly. Give your dog some TLC with head rubs and cuddles.
Soon, your dog will understand this cycle and would happily get to training in anticipation of all those cuddles and treats.
Step 5: Repetition and Consistency
Try not to tire of doing the same commands repeatedly, even when your pup has mastered them. Whether your dog is just starting or has progressed to newer commands and tricks, make training a part of the daily routine, provide the same verbal and non-verbal cues and stay consistent.
10 Quick Tips to Train Your Dog
Although it sounds simple, training can be complicated and overwhelming for both the trainer and the student. Your dog, undergoing training and constantly learning, feels the burden of meeting expectations and wanting to do well too.
Not all days are the same. Sometimes, you may feel that you and your dog are not progressing and are stuck on the same lesson for days.
It happens. And when it does, here are some tips to steer you both to success:
- In the initial stages, understand you are training a puppy, so set the right expectations and consider your pup’s mental and physical boundaries.
- Eliminate possibilities of your dog forming bad habits and destructive behavior by puppy-proofing your house with crates and baby gates and providing toys that are safe for your pup.
- Show your puppy what you mean because dogs are not born with an innate understanding of the human language.
- Observe and learn more about your dog’s body language.
- Appreciate and reward your dog for trying.
- High-value treats can motivate your dog to work harder.
- Consistency plays a critical role in training, so you must accept that the two of you will be practicing “Sit” or “Come” for a very long time.
- Learn to be quick to praise and slow to reprimand.
- Maintain a positive attitude with plenty of patience.
- Remember that your dog is a dog and not human.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Best Dog Training Method?
Of all training methods, positive reinforcement yields excellent results and makes the training process enjoyable for you and your dog.
Positive reinforcement is when you use the “reward system” every time your dog does something “right.” These rewards can be praises, treats, toys, or a longer time in the dog park.
And the principle behind this methodology is simple. Your dog will continuously repeat good behavior when it knows you have a reward for it. Lousy behavior means not getting any form of acknowledgment or compensation.
Physical punishments are no longer needed with positive reinforcement because your dog will take it upon themselves to “be good and do good.” Remember that training methods that incorporate punishment can gradually lead to aggression.
Is it Ever too Late to Start Training Your Dog?
No, training can begin at any point in your dog’s life. There is no such thing as too late for dogs – even senior dogs. In their teenage years, you can train your adopted dogs better socialization skills with guides on behaving in the park. You can even train your senior dogs on new tricks.
Dogs love to learn, and as long as you are focused on training, age is not an issue.
What Age is Best to Train Dogs?
It’s always best to introduce training to your dog when it’s still a puppy. Most breeders would have initiated basic training already, so all you need is to continue what has been started and be consistent.
The ideal age for puppies to start training is 6 to 16 weeks. This age is considered one of their critical development stages, so incorporating the basic training can build a solid foundation for your pup.
Puppyhood s is also the time when your pup starts to explore – new people, animals, and the environment – and it pays to have them discover their world while learning basic commands and the proper way of socializing.
Dog Training Introduction Final Thoughts
Dogs will do everything to please you, so return the favor by sharing your time and dedication to train them and teach them good behavior.
Training can foster a better and stronger bond between you and your dog. Nothing makes your canine happier than being with you and pleasing you, so training allows your pup to get that positive attention it craves from you.
Please be sure to leave a comment or share with your fellow pet parents that will benefit from our dog training-introduction 🙂