Do you have a dog, or are you thinking about adopting one soon? If so, you probably want to brush up on some dog training tips and suggestions! Training a dog can be hard work, but with enough patience and focus, it can also be very rewarding and successful.
In this article, we’ll show you a few tips to help you get off on the right foot when it comes to taking care of your dog’s training needs. You can use this information to plan a training schedule for your pet and narrow down the methods you want to use as well. If you have any questions, call Midwest Animal Hospital in Orland Park at (708) 478-7788.
Do Not Punish
It can sometimes be hard not to punish dogs for doing wrong while training them, but remember that you should never teach through negative reinforcement. Punishing your dog will only lead them to become afraid of you or the situation and can make training much more difficult later on.
If your dog is being too energetic and unruly for training, it may be a good idea to put them calmly into their crate for a few minutes to settle down. If you aren’t crate training them, you might instead try to get them to settle by resting on their pet bed for a little while.
Stay Calm and Patient
It’s always important to stay as calm and patient as you can when working with a dog you’re training. Staying calm makes it easier to keep your dog calm, and the two of you can work in sync with each other much more easily when you don’t show your frustration to your pet.
Additionally, patience is crucial in helping your dog work through problems and learn new skills and commands. If you feel yourself growing impatient, take a break and come back to the skill later or the next day. Work slowly to avoid overwhelming yourself or your dog.
One Skill at a Time
Dogs can learn many skills during their lifetimes, but they need to focus on one skill at a time. Especially when they’re still puppies, it can be difficult or even impossible for dogs to learn more than one skill at a time. Overwhelming your dog may cause them to become frustrated and unwilling to try to learn at all.
Once your dog has gotten the hang of one skill, you can start working on the next. Wait until your dog is fairly consistent in their ability to repeat the skill you’ve taught them, and if possible, wait until they will do so even if they don’t get a treat for it.
Rewards, Rewards, Rewards!
The best way to enforce the right behaviors in your dog is to provide plenty of rewards! For most dogs, this means lots of treats to let them know they’re doing the right thing. However, if your dog is not very food motivated, you can always praise them a lot with pets and belly rubs as a reward instead.
Keep in mind that attention and treats are both rewards in a dog’s mind, so you might want to try varying the rewards you offer to keep your pet thinking and alert as well.
You and your dog both need to practice their commands and skills every day to ensure they remain fresh in their mind and yours too. When the two of you work together daily, you’ll make sure the knowledge and abilities both remain constant and don’t become stale.
You don’t have to set aside a ton of time for daily practice with your dog, but a little bit goes a long way. Try for ten minutes a day at first, then increase to 20 minutes or so. After this point, you may lose your dog’s interest.
Build on Previous Lessons
This step may go without saying, but your dog will need to learn the basics before you can add to them and increase their skills. For example, your dog will need to learn sit before they can stay; they’ll need to know lay down before they can roll over.
By building on previous lessons, you’re using your dog’s existing skills to make it easier for them to learn new ones.
This information can help you get started with training your dog, but it’s only intended to scratch the surface of what you and your pet might need. When it comes to dog training, different methods may work better for different dogs, so it can sometimes pay to try a few options before settling on one type of training.
If you have any questions, concerns, or problems with training your dog, talk to your veterinarian or a professional trainer for more assistance. Your vet may be able to suggest some methods that could work for you, and a professional trainer can help work with you and your dog both to achieve success. Call us today at (708) 478-7788.