Since the dawn of time, dogs have always been man’s best friend. But a lot of the time, they can be the kind of friend who doesn’t listen to or do what you say.
When this happens, you know that you need to train them to behave better than they currently do. But this is easier said than done.
Your dog can do anything from making the training process harder to ignoring you when the time comes.
To make the most of your training with your dog, you need to have the proper way of dealing with things.
This is why we’re looking at some helpful tips that will make your dog’s training period that much less painful.
1. Call On Your Dog with Proper Conviction
The first thing that most dog owners do when they bring their dogs home gives them a name. But frequently, there isn’t a lot of thought that goes behind naming the dog.
It ends up being something random that just happens to stick. Usually, this isn’t that big of a problem.
But when you’re dealing with dog training, having a well-defined name for your dog is essential. Training your dog with a name like a Pumpkin or Sprinkles just doesn’t have the same level of a kick to it.
Ideally, you want to pick a short name for your dog with sharp consonants. This will be something that your dog can recognize immediately and latch on to during the training process.
Changing your dog’s name if it came from a shelter or a previous home is fine. And in some cases, it can be an indicator to the dog that it is now in a different home.
Whichever name you decide to give your dog, make sure it’s something that you respect and is something that your dog can associate with something positive.
2. Set Some Ground Rules
Your dog’s training regimen will never be truly complete if there are no ground rules for the dog to build off of.
Regardless of your end goals for your training, you need to be able to define them early enough, using rules as a hard basis for your dog to follow.
The important thing to consider when setting rules is consistent with them. Your rules shouldn’t just be there for your dog to follow, but they should be something you can stand behind.
No matter what rules you set, you need to be able to enforce them when the time comes without being lax with your dog.
Rules can start with something as simple as how your dog should be behaving around the house.
- Are they allowed to sit on the couch?
- Are they allowed to have a piece of your food when eating?
This is something that you need to have defined early on. More importantly, make sure that you can consistently have your dog follow the rules.
If you punish them for something they have gotten away with in the past or been rewarded, this sends mixed signals to the dog. When this happens, your dog will likely not correctly understand how to follow your rules.
3. Use Proper Hand Gestures and Commands
You can’t expect your dog to be able to grasp the entire vocabulary of the human language, but you can expect them to understand a few words.
When repeated enough times, a dog will learn to associate commands with tasks that it needs to perform.
But if you don’t use the right words, it can end up not working out. Make sure you can set up proper words for the tasks or actions that you want your dog to do.
They should be able to understand words like sit, stand, shake, no, come here, and good boy with enough time.
As long as you stay consistent with the words you use for your commands, your dog should have no trouble recognizing them.
At the same time, you need to make sure that you impart proper hand gestures to accompany your commands.
Since dogs are prone to using nonverbal communication with each other, they’re more likely to understand hand gestures well.
You can use this to your advantage by either adding gestures to your existing commands or using them on their own for specific actions.
4. Reward Good Behavior
A lot of what training can be is helping your dog understand what’s right and wrong for them to do.
Teaching your dog what not to do is only half of the equation and never truly helps your dog grasp their training well.
If all you do is punish or reprimand your dog, they are likely to think of you as harsher than you’re trying to be.
It’s important to reward good behavior now and then so your dog knows for sure that what it’s doing is something that will be well received.
It’s likely to put them in a situation where they will start following their rewarded behavior independently without you having to tell them to.
It will also make it easier to make them obey in the future because they will be aware that doing something acceptable leads to a reward.
Rewarding your dog’s good behavior can be done by simply telling them that they’re a good boy/girl.
You can even scale your rewards based on the good; they followed your actions. A common way is to give them their favorite toy to play with or hand them an edible treat that they enjoy.
5. Tailor Your Training Towards Your Dog
It’s easy to look up a dog training regimen and apply it directly without overthinking it. But this is one of the least ideal things you can do for your dog training.
When training a dog, you must consider that not all dogs are the same. There are tons of different species and breeds out there that will work differently from each other.
Some dogs will be more receptive to your training, while others might be less willing.
You have to be able to work with dogs you’re trying to train if you want them to absorb everything that you’re trying to teach them.
Expecting one dog to uphold the same training standards as another dog Is less than fair and can lead to frustration for both you and the dog.
Before you start training your dog, you should know the limits that it works under. Your training sessions should work to your dog’s strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and attention span.
The ultimate goal of your training sessions should be to make your dog learn, not to have it outperform past its capability. This is the only way to expect your dog to learn properly.
6. Make Your Dog Know When It’s Time to Train
Dogs are naturally wired to follow conditioning behavior techniques. They work off of associations they have made with actions in the past. You can use this to subtly hint to your dog when it’s time to train.
Doing something such as setting up a specific time for training or putting on a leash will signal your dog to start paying attention and get ready for training.
This is important because you want your dog to be in the right mindset before you can even begin your training.
7. Correct Bad Behavior Immediately
As humans, we’re made to think about how our actions will affect us in the future. Sometimes we may think hours, days, or even months ahead when doing anything.
Unfortunately, humans and dogs don’t work on the same perception of time. For dogs, everything is immediate and in the moment. And this is where your training comes in.
When dealing with bad behavior, you need to be quick in saying that you’re not happy with what your dog did.
If you delay your reaction or take too long, your dog will disassociate the bad acts from the punishment.
It can end up treating the two separately, which will make it believe that its actions had nothing to do with getting reprimanded.
You have to be able to correct bad behavior as soon as you see it by letting your dog know that it wasn’t the right thing to do.
Sometimes, it takes a simple, strongly worded ‘No’ to get your point across. However, you also want to make sure that you correct the behavior and move on. Latching on to it for too long is never effective and can worsen your dog.
8. Don’t Get Too Shortsighted.
Training your dog properly can take some time to get properly used to. Some days, it can feel like you’re not doing too much.
But you have to be willing to manage your expectations and look at the kind of progress that you have already achieved.
There will be some days when you and your dog aren’t up to the task as usual. When this happens, you should approach with care rather than being harsher towards your dog.
Your dog’s progress will carry over from day to day to a long period. Expecting some consistency in each session is normal, but expecting the same amount of progress daily is not.
Be willing to have some patience when dealing with your training sessions. It’s okay to take a day off from training if you or your dog aren’t feeling it.
As long as it doesn’t have a big impact on your overall progress, then it shouldn’t matter that much.
The important thing is to keep carrying on at level headed pace that you and your dog can comfortably stick to.
9. Be Assertive
During some of your training sessions, you can expect your dog not to follow your commands or disobey you to a certain extent.
Having this happen to you is perfectly normal, but deciding how you want to deal with it will be your ultimate test.
When training your dog, you want to be sure that you can be assertive with your commands. Typically, dogs work in packs, and each pack has its designated leader that they can follow behind.
If you want your dog to follow you, you have to be willing to exhibit the qualities of a pack leader.
Mainly, you want to be able to be assertive yet remain calm, collected, and confident enough to demand respect.
Instead of having to ask or shout at your dog meekly, you want to be able to command them so they can follow without hesitation.
10. Be Positive and Encouraging at the End of the Session
Training regimens can be hard work for dogs, so it’s essential for them to feel like they have amounted to something.
This is why you want to make sure that each session ends positively. All you need to do is tell your dog that they did an excellent job in a positive tone.
This tells them that a hard session of work mattered and was worth some praise. It will give them more incentive to come into the next session more focused to receive the same amount of encouragement in the end.
If your dog did well, you could even choose to reward them with playtime or some treats.
Training your dog can be a long and tiring process, but it can yield great results. The next time you have a training session with your dog, you should keep the tips above in mind to get the most out of the training sessions.
This will make it a much smoother process for both you and your dog.