As you may know, training a dog has many benefits. Without obedience training, they simply do not know how to behave. Well-trained dogs are happier and healthier than untrained dogs, and so are their owners.
There are a lot of different ways to train your dog. You may choose to sign up for a dog training class, hire a professional dog trainer for private lessons, or even send your dog to board with a trainer. However, plenty of people successfully train their dogs on their own. It’s a great way to save money on training costs, and a wonderful way to bond with your dog.
In order to effectively train your dog, it’s important that you have a plan. You will need to gather some equipment, set up a schedule, and learn a few things about training. You also need to be fully committed and prepared for a daily commitment. Here’s what you need in to begin a dog obedience training program yourself.
Assemble Some Dog Training Equipment
Effective dog training does not require many items, but there are a few basic supplies that will help make the process more convenient and effective.
- A dog collar or harness: Choose a dog collar or harness that is suitable and comfortable for your dog.
- Dog leash: decide which dog leash is best for training. A retractable leash is not appropriate for dog training.
- Dog training treats: You will also need dog training treats that your dog enjoys and are easy to eat quickly so the reward is more immediate. There are plenty of great treats available at pet stores or you can also use something you make at home, like small pieces of plain cooked chicken or turkey.
Choose a Training Method
- Positive reinforcement is the most effective method: Before you begin dog obedience training, choose the best method for you and your dog. Training styles vary, but most trainers agree that dogs respond best to positive reinforcement, such as praise or treats.
- Clicker training is other option: One common training variation, known as clicker training, includes the use of conditioned reinforcer.
There are plenty of dog training books and websites where you can learn about training techniques and determine which best suits you and your dog. When planning out your training methods, don’t forget about socialization.
Set up Dog Training Sessions
Success is usually attained in small steps. Training sessions with your dog should last 10 to 15 minutes, two to three times per day. This is especially true for puppies because of their very short attention spans. Longer sessions can cause an adult dog to become bored. Start by teaching basic commands. Try to stick with one action per training session so your dog does not get confused.
Teach Basic Commands
Often, the sit command will be one of the easiest for your dog to learn first. Next, you can train your dog to lie down. At the same time, work on teaching your dog to stay. In addition, your dog should be trained to come when called as soon as possible. This is one of the most important fundamental commands. Once your dog has mastered these dog obedience basics, you can move on to fun tricks and advanced commands.
Get Help With Dog Training
Seeking professional help doesn’t mean ditching your DIY training program. You can find a professional dog trainer who offers private training sessions, and some trainers even offer online sessions. Many dog owners prefer to join a local dog obedience class so they will be under the supervision of a dog training instructor without the higher cost of private sessions. Plus, classes challenge your dog to learn around the distractions of other dogs.
Dog training classes or private sessions can also be an addition to your own training program. The dog trainer can help you improve the program and customize it to your dog’s learning style. Try to be as involved as possible when it comes to your dog’s training. You and your dog will be a stronger team when you are directly involved in the training process.
Problems and Proofing Behavior
Dog training takes time, and you and your dog are likely to hit a few bumps along the way. You may see some resistance or stubborn behavior. Keep things positive and reward your dog for good behavior, and make sure you use a reward your dog will work for.
You may also notice common behavior problems in your dog such as jumping up, barking, or even aggression. The best way to correct any misbehavior is to interrupt it. Shift your dog’s attention to something positive. Try running through cues that your dog has mastered followed by rewards. Keep your demeanor cool and confident, and be clear about what you mean.
Positive reinforcement is the key to success. A common mistake is to punish your dog during training or become angry. This will only cause confusion. You can try to hold your dog’s attention with treats and enthusiasm, but know that it is time to end a session when your dog becomes bored or tired. Try to end sessions on a positive note. Eventually, successful training will be achieved with patience and consistency.