If you’re a novice pet owner, the prospect of training your dog may seem overwhelming. Training a dog to obey involves the same amount of time, effort, and consistency regardless of whether you’re a first-time or seasoned dog owner.
Obedience training for your dog may be a rewarding experience for both of you. It’s possible to have just as much (if not more) pleasure learning anything new on your own, even if hiring a professional instructor is out of the question. Here are seven simple steps to get you started.
Ask your Vet for Advice
Consult with a vet who has treated your dog before beginning obedience training. In order to get your dog to obey, the vet may have some suggestions that are breed-specific. In other cases, such as when a dog has anxiety, a health problem, or came from a rescue organization, a more individualized approach to obedience training is necessary. Before moving on, it is highly recommended that you consult an expert for the necessary information.
How Should You Train Your Dog?
As with other animals, teaching a dog can go one of two ways.
To begin, there is the use of negative reinforcement. The other strategy is based on giving out rewards. Training your dog with a focus on negative reinforcement and positive punishment is known as an aversive approach. Only the actions you want your dog to exhibit will be rewarded when using a reward-based training strategy.
To get your dog to behave, aversive training employs methods including making loud, unpleasant noises, giving physical corrections, and harshly scolding it. However, in reward-based training, your dog is rewarded whenever it performs a desired behavior. Positive reinforcement, such as treats, belly rubs, or other dog-pleasing gestures, is used to show the dog that its efforts were appreciated.
One method may be favored by experts while another is deemed inferior. It’s up to you to decide which one to utilize.
Understand How Your Dog Learns
Like young children, dogs can pick up a great deal of information. They have a level of intelligence similar to that of a two-year-old human. They just care about the immediate repercussions. They eventually pick up on what we say as they mature. There are dog breeds that can respond to as many as 250 different commands. However, the tone of our voice is far more important to a dog than the words themselves.
Scientists have identified three distinct categories of canine intelligence:
- Effort and submission
You might say that your dog has learned the breed-typical characteristics through instinctive learning. Your dog’s ability to adapt its learning to new situations and environments is called “adaptive learning.” How well they work and obey your directions depends on how well they learn those duties.
Focusing on obedience training and the exact behaviors you want from your dog is the best way to achieve your goal of having an obedient pet. The effectiveness of both punishment and reward-based training is well-established. Nonetheless, reward-based obedience training is the way to go if you want your dog to be a sociable companion. Your dog will not learn to fear you by using this strategy. Your affection for one another will grow stronger as a result.
The Basics of a Training Session
Incorporate beneficial incentives into your system. When training your dog, you’ll utilize food rewards because they’re convenient, most dogs work eagerly for them, and you can get a lot of practice time in during each session. Once your dog masters the new skill, you can switch to using alternative reinforcement methods.
And what are your preferred foods? That which maintains the dog’s interest. There are some dogs (usually puppies) who are willing to labor for kibble, but most canines will want to do something more engaging. Go for a chewy, soft treat. Shatter whatever it is you’re using. If your dog can’t finish it in one bite, it’s time to try a different treatment.
Locate yourself somewhere quiet to begin. Locate yourself in a spot where your dog won’t have any trouble concentrating. As your dog’s knowledge of the behavior expands, other variables can be introduced. First the inside and outside of your home, then your backyard and street, then the park, and finally the dog park. The difficulty level must be increased gradually. Hence, you shouldn’t attempt to transport it directly from the living room to the dog park.
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Sessions should be kept to a minimum. Training sessions should be no longer than two minutes if you are working with a puppy or a dog that has never been trained before and shows signs of frustration easily. A period of five to ten minutes is ideal for various types of canines. Before you or the dog become bored, call it a day. Train your dog as many times per day as you like (three, five, ten, etc.), but make sure to give it a break in between each session.
All dogs should know these five commands at a minimum. Those things are:
Your pet must be able to come when called if you intend to take her off leash. It can keep her close whether hiking or just playing in the backyard, get her out of the street if she gets loose from the leash, or keep her safe in a dog park brawl. McMillan explains that teaching Come is simpler after teaching Stay.
All dogs, no matter their size, should be taught to heel or walk gently by your side, as this is essential when taking your dog for a walk in congested urban areas. Large or powerful dogs that tug on leashes benefit greatly from learning this ability. Once a dog has learned to heel, walks will be less strenuous for both of you.
Always begin with the basic command “Sit,” as this is the one that comes naturally to all dogs. So it’s also one of the simplest, so even untrained pets can pick it up after a couple of sessions. And once a dog has mastered the sit, you can move on to other commands as it serves as a transitional command.
One of the most crucial abilities a dog may acquire is the ability to stay put, as this will prevent her from running into traffic in the event that she becomes loose. If you don’t want your dog to be too hyperactive during training, McMillan suggests doing it when she’s tired and hungry. And remember that it may take a few weeks for your dog to fully grasp the concept of “Stay.” However, because this helps to keep your dog safe, you should always have a supply of treats or kibble on hand and work with her until she is an expert.
Put the car keys down and remove them from the ignition. Nothing is stopping a dog in a standing position from taking off like a speeding car. A dog in a sitting position is equivalent to a car in Park, yet she can still easily Boogey away. She may be sleeping soundly, but you turned off the power when she lay down. If you want to progress to more advanced dog tricks like rolling over or faking dead, this command is a perfect stepping stone.
Learn how to command your dog’s attention in a crowded room. Form a trusting relationship with your dog and teach it to eagerly anticipate your commands. Avoid the frustration of “no bite” training by teaching your puppy to quit biting and acting like a hyperactive, wild sharknado. Help the adult dog you rescued adjust to its new home. Stop your dog from pulling on the leash and train it to come when called.