Training Your Dog
Having a well-trained dog is a great accomplishment, not to mention impressive. However, many people struggle to get to that point once they get a puppy because they simply don’t know what to do. Playing, cuddling and other distractions take the forefront in the owner-pet relationship and training slips to the background as an abandoned pursuit. With a few guidelines and some basic advice the task can become less daunting, and step by step training your pet will start to seem accomplishable. Here are some tips on how to get started!
- Change up the environment. One way to make sure your dog’s training sticks is to try it out in different environments. Nothing too over stimulating to begin with or they may lose focus. Start out with simply a different room of the house or the backyard to exercise their focus and concentration on you and the task at hand.
- Raise the difficulty level. Once your dog has mastered their tricks at home take them to do them in public! Similarly to the previous tip, this ensures their concentration continues to develop by presenting a new challenge. What’s the point of your dog knowing how to do tricks only if they are at home? They should be able to feel confident doing them anywhere!
- Be consistent. Always make sure to use the same commands and react the same way to their behaviour. Inconsistent behaviour in regards to what they shouldn’t be doing only leads to frustration for both you and your dog. For example if one day you tell them to get down off the bed and the next you allow it, it will only lead to confusion and a longer training time. Likewise make sure that this consistency extends to all members of the family. Everyone should be reacting in the same ways to certain behaviours of the dog with the same key phrases. This makes your dog’s task of understand what you want of them a lot easier and being consistent will bring results much faster.
- Reward their efforts. Besides knowing what they are doing wrong they should also know what they are doing right! Let your furry friend know they are doing a good job with lots of affection and positive reinforcement. Treats can be a great way to reward a dog when they’ve done something right, but they shouldn’t be the motivation behind the result.
- Don’t overwork them. The last thing you want is for training to become a burden for both you and your dog, after all it should be fun! Keep training sessions short and sweet and dispersed throughout the day. It shouldn’t feel like your strapping in for a long work shift when you start training. It should rather feel like a natural part of the day, with small bursts of training reinforcement before going on a walk or before a meal. This way the commands and tricks will become something casual to the dog and something they will be ready to do at any time.