5 Tips for Training Your Dog
Dog training can be a bit confusing if you have never had a dog before. You might not be sure how to teach your dog skills, or maybe you are dealing with a behavior that you wish your dog would not engage in. These challenges can be easier if you have a good grounding in the basics of dog training. When you know more about training your dog, you will have a much better experience when working with them on new skills.
Training a dog is not usually difficult as dogs love to learn new things and be included in your activities. When you are struggling with a training problem, it is usually just because you need to know how to explain what you want from your dog more clearly. These training tips will help you to teach your dog new skills with ease.
1. Make Sure That You Use Positive Reinforcement
Dogs have a long memory for things that they consider to be negative or scary, and you can inadvertently discourage the desired behavior by being too forceful with your dog when training them or by losing your temper with them. Dogs do best when they are learning if they are trained with patience and positive reinforcement.
When teaching your dog something new, remember to try and put yourself in their shoes. You would not want to do an activity that caused someone to yell at you or call you names, would you? Make sure that your dog feels your good energy and your positivity for the best results when working on training skills.
2. Make Sure to Limit Distractions
When there are too many distractions going on, your dog cannot learn effectively. Trying to teach your dog new skills at the dog park, for example, is probably just going to set them up for failure. Make sure that you give your dog the right environment for success before you decide to try and work on tricks or obedience training. As your dog gets more experienced in the skill that you are working on, you can introduce the challenge of distractions, but not until your dog has a good grounding in the new behavior.
3. Take Breaks
It can be tempting to try and work with your dog for an extended period of time on the same skill, but just like kids, your dog needs a break once in a while when learning a new skill. Make sure that you are not pushing your dog past their ability to be patient and to take in new information. The more that you pressure a pet to produce results, the more likely you will be to cause them to start to dislike the activity in question.
Keeping your dog happy and excited about learning new skills is important. You can foster a positive attitude about new ideas and concepts by being sure that you do not push your dog too intensely to perform during training sessions. Even taking a few breaks in the middle of a training period can make all the difference in your dog’s ability to learn and enjoy the task at hand.
4. Keep Things Consistent
If you are going to teach your pet a new skill, you need to be consistent in your training. You cannot expect them to understand that you want a specific action if you do not use a consistent cue for the action. You will need to be sure that you are using the same cues and information to train your dog every time that you work on skills with them.
The more consistent you are about behavioral limitations and expectations in the home, the easier training will be as well. Keeping your dog on task when it matters and being fair about the way that you explain information to them is only so effective if you are not using the same cues every time you tell your dog to do a trick or perform a behavior. Dogs learn best by repetition, and you will be doing both of you a favor if you are consistent in your communication every day.
5. Know Your Dog’s Breed
The breed of your dog can make a big impact on the way that they learn. High-drive dogs, like hunting dogs, might need to be trained in a very different way than a more mellow dog that is not as energetic. Make sure that you know how to best train and work with your dog’s breed before you start a training program. The more educated you are about how your dog’s breed prefers to be trained, the more likely you will be to have a successful training experience with your pet overall.
Training a Dog Can be Fun and Easy
Make sure that you use these tips so that you can get the maximum benefit from your training sessions with your pet. You and your dog will be able to bond and get closer throughout the training process if you are handling your communication appropriately and taking the time to be patient with your dog. The better prepared you are for the training process, the more likely you will be to have a successful experience when you work with your dog on tricks or skills of various kinds.
Never be afraid to seek out professional help if you find that you are not sure how to work on a specific skill with your dog. There are professionals out there who can meet with you and give you some new skills to help you communicate with your dog more effectively overall. You will find that dog training is much more enjoyable when you know some quality tips and tricks that make the process easy and fun. Having a trained dog means that you and your canine friend can access more adventures, do more fun things together, and be safe while you are enjoying each other’s company.
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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.
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