While dogs are excellent at sensing our emotions and responding accordingly, they do not come pre-trained. The good news is that these furry animals are incredibly smart with a knack for learning new skills. They need the right motivation and guidance to get them there.
But at the same time, dog training takes time, patience, and practice. Also, armed with the right knowledge and techniques, anyone can successfully train their dog. The best dog training methods incorporate the principles of operant conditioning, which uses positive reinforcement and negative punishment to change your dog’s behaviour.
These dog training tips for beginners will help you feel more confident as you get started on the path of training your new best friend.
When training a dog, it is essential to remember that you are in charge of the situation, not your dog. Dogs respond to the emotions of their humans, so if you become anxious or agitated, your dog may pick up on that and respond accordingly.
If you are impatient or want to rush through the training process, your dog will pick up on these emotions. Dogs thrive on consistency and clear direction. This means you may accidentally miss some necessary steps along the way if you’re in a rush. So, stay calm, take a deep breath, and go at your dog’s pace.
You want to use positive reinforcement above all else when training your dog. It is the process of rewarding your dog for doing the right thing. You can use a wide range of rewards, from tasty treats to praise from your voice.
For example, if you are trying to potty train your dog, you can use a clicker or verbal marker to tell your dog that they are doing the right thing. Each time your dog goes to the bathroom in the right place, give them a treat and lots of praise.
Your dog will respond to your every word, so you must be clear and consistent during training sessions. If you tell your dog to sit, they must sit. If you promise your dog a treat, they better receive that treat. If you want your dog to learn, they will need to trust your instructions.
This means you need to be consistent in your training sessions. Outline a clear training plan for your dog, and stick to it every time. This will help your dog learn the ropes and what to expect during training sessions.
For instance, if you want your dog to learn to walk on a leash, walk them on the leash daily. This consistency will allow your dog to relax and get used to the feel of the leash.
Long training sessions that go on for hours might sound like a good idea, but they won’t help your dog learn new skills. This is especially the case with puppies, which can become easily distracted and lose interest in the training. Keep your training sessions short but consistent.
You can work on one skill at a time for about 10 minutes each session. This will give your dog time to relax and rest between sessions without losing interest. If you extend the training session too long, your dog might become frustrated or bored.
Treats are a great way to reward positive behaviour, but you need to use them correctly. It is essential to use small treats that your dog can munch on quickly so they can still be rewarded even if the training session is interrupted.
Muffin or biscuit-sized treats are a great option, as are pieces of kibble. Using full-sized treats may confuse your dog and make them less interested in the treat. This can lead to your dog being less interested in the training and more obsessed with the treats.
Learning to come when called is an essential dog training tip. This will help keep your dog safe in many situations, such as when exploring the backyard or running outside.
You first must make the ‘come’ command very positive to train your dog to follow your instruction. When your dog is nearby, praise them verbally, give them a treat, and use their name. This will make the command very positive and help your dog learn to respond to it quickly.
Some dogs like to jump up toward people’s faces, which can be scary and dangerous. It is important to discourage this behaviour early on in the training process. For example, you can lightly smack your dog’s paws when they jump in your direction. This will tell your dog that the jump-up behaviour is not OK, and they will likely stop.
Also, if your dog is particularly excited when they see you, you can use a leash to keep them in check. Hold the leash at the collar and keep them out of your face. This will give you some space while your dog learns to control their excitement.
Biting and nipping are both common problems in dog training. They are often just the natural behaviour of a puppy that hasn’t been appropriately trained. Regardless, biting is not OK, and you should train your dog to stop as soon as possible.
If your dog bites you, use an authoritative voice to scold them and tell them no. If your dog continues to nip and bite, you might want to look into getting them some professional training. A dog trainer will be able to help your dog understand what they are doing and stop the behaviour.
Also, your dog may act weird, get angry, or bite when they don’t feel well. In such a case, you must take them to a vet clinic. If you happen to be in the Greater Toronto Area, our veterinary Clinic in Aurora is open to treating your furry friend.