Having a well-behaved dog not only makes your life easier, but it also makes for a calmer dog as well. When dogs know what is expected of them or at least have someone to look to for direction, they are often less neurotic, stressed out, or hyper. The following 7 tips on training your dog are ones that I have personally used or gathered from friends who raise dogs. I hope you can find some of them helpful with your new pup or newly acquired adult dog.
7 Use Positive Reinforcement
I cringe every time I hear a person yell at a dog. Sure, most dogs respond to yelling, but I’m sure if they could talk they would say it doesn’t make them happy. I try to treat my dog as a member of the family. I don’t yell at my kids or husband, so I’m certainly not going to yell at the dog! Using kind words, gentle pats on the head or back, and letting my dog know that she did something good reinforces positive behavior. This lessens any negative behavior, since she is always trying to seek my approval for the good things.
6 Begin Early
It makes life much easier if you can start training your dog at a very early age. The older a dog gets, the harder habits are to break, just like with people. It’s much easier to teach a child to pick up his laundry when he’s a toddler than it is to teach a 45 year old man to put his socks in the laundry basket. At least this has been my experience! Puppies are much more impressionable and will look to you as their pack leader. Once they figure out you are the alpha in the ‘pack’, they will be more apt to listen to what you say.
5 Remember All Breeds Vary
Certain breeds of dog are more inclined to try and please their owner, where other types prefer to do whatever feels to be the most exciting at the time. I had a lab who wanted to do whatever I asked of him and a Siberian who mostly did whatever she wanted to do. Both dogs were working breeds, but if the Siberian wasn’t pulling a sled, she seemed to not feel the need to obey commands. I’m sure you’ve noticed that some breeds tend to follow their owners around while other types are content to lounge on the porch. Siberians are notorious for being a bit stubborn, when it comes to being trained. Of course, there are exceptions to every breed.
4 Use the Crate Technique with Housebreaking
I found this to be the easiest method of housebreaking, since dogs don’t tend to use their bed as a bathroom. It also eliminates messes in the night. It will be hard to hear your puppy complain when he is first put in the crate. There will be lots of whining and crying in the beginning, but eventually your puppy will realize that the crate is a safe place to be. Make it comfortable with lots of blankets and toys.
3 Form a Routine
Having a routine during the day helps puppies know what to expect next and this makes dogs less anxious. Some dogs get stressed out by not knowing what to do. If you aren’t one to have a routine of your own, then at least try to feed your dog at the same time everyday. My dog actually lets me know when feeding time is. During the week, I feed her when I pick up the kids from school. On the weekends, she has to remind me sometimes that 3:30 has rolled around!
2 Be Persistent
Don’t give up on your dog, no matter how stubborn he is. The time and effort you put into training your dog will be well worth it in the end. Persistence is the key to having a well-behaved dog. Dogs that are trained to not jump up on people are usually welcome to homes of their owner’s friends. A dog that doesn’t wreak havoc whenever he’s in a room full of people is usually better received than the one doing circles around the dining room table. So, keep up with the training and it will eventually get easier.
1 Have Lots of Patience
When you feel you are starting to lose your patience during a dog training task, take a deep breath and try again. To conserve your patience and energy, be sure to limit training sessions to short lessons at first. As your dog begins to catch on to what is expected of him, the time can always be increased. This will keep the frustration level down for both of you.
These 7 tips on training your dog have all worked well for me with my dogs. Of course, some of these tips work better with certain dogs. There are many other tips available and lots of training books filled with excellent information. If you are serious about making your dog one of the best-behaved pooches on the block, then you might want to look into checking out some training guides from the local library or buying a used book online. Do you have any training tips for dog owners? Is there a specific reward system you’ve used and had great success with in the past?