Dog training is vital for various reasons. Aside from strengthening the bond between your dog and you, it provides necessary mental stimulation for your dog and can be a source of physical exercise, as well. Most importantly, training your dog ensures that your new pup can safely interact with your loved ones and be around other dogs without exhibiting overly territorial and/or protective behavior.
As social animals, dogs need to be familiar with and respect the rules of the human pack they reside with. Thorough training guarantees your dog is aware of your house rules, facilitating a healthy relationship between a dog and its owner, where both parties involved can coexist peacefully and lead a happy life. Snowy Pines White Labradors supplies current and aspiring dog owners with a how-to guide for more advanced training initiatives.
Summarized briefly, positive-reinforcement-based training involves rewarding the desired behaviors of the dog and ignoring less desirable behaviors such as excessive barking, chewing on furniture, peeing in the house, etc. Rewards can come in the form of verbal praise, treats, new toys, and even outdoor walks. If your pup demonstrates the desired behavior, you can reward your dog’s actions with any of the aforementioned rewards. If you want to learn more about dog training tips, check out this article puppy training guide.
With positive reinforcement, you can establish a clear line of communication between you and your dog. Positive reinforcement training sessions should be kept short, engaging, and fun for your new dog. With a dog that is eager to please, this training method will be a breeze.
Warning, once you’ve finalized a training plan, don’t shift directions midway through. Otherwise, your dog may feel disoriented if you suddenly substitute positive-enforcement tactics with negative-reinforcement strategies.
Establishing commands and praise words
Consistency is key when training your dog. Always use the same command for the desired action. This command can be a single word or a short phrase, such as “sit” or “go to bed.” This way, you can communicate your wants effectively to your dog who may be struggling with a language barrier.
Clickers can be used to mark the desired behavior. Verbal praise should accompany a clicker, whether its a particular praise word such as “good” or “yes” or an excited tone. Once you’ve used the clicker and employed verbal praise, you can relay the command to your pup. For example, when you teach your dog to “sit,” guide or lure the dog into that position, click, then say “Good sit!” Some people use other languages to make commands even more distinct. For example, many German-shepherd owners utilize German words and phrases for their outlined list of commands.
A new dog or puppy will need to learn basic behaviors to exist peacefully in your home. Potty training, leash training, and socializing are all essential life skills your puppy will need to master. Despite popular misconceptions, house training isn’t as daunting as many people think. Potty training simply requires regular trips outside, a consistent pattern, a designated positive affirmation, followed by the command you wish to use. “Good potty!” or “Yes! Do your business!” will work just fine.
Training your dog in basic leash etiquette will be a little different. Leash training tends to be a much longer process and isn’t as simple as waiting for a behavior and then praising with a command.
To start, let your new dog acclimate to the collar and leash. Then, attach the leash and allow the canine to drag it around. Don’t allow chewing, but sniffing and a lick or two are both permissible behaviors. Once the dog is accustomed to the leash/collar duo, pick up the leash and start meandering, keeping the length loose. Afterward, you’ll want to encourage the dog to follow you by holding a reward item and speaking positively and enthusiastically to your dog. Initially, your pup will code the leash and collar as a punishment tool. However, with the right training strategy, your dog will begin to associate a leash with fun outdoor activities.
For socialization, the end goal is that your puppy or dog accepts new places, people, and animals. To achieve this end result, you’ll want to expose your pet to new stimuli. Socialized dogs tend to be less problematic in regard to behavioral issues and are more readily welcomed by strangers. Some dogs need to be introduced slowly with the use of a dog fence to separate them until they can relax enough to be introduce to others including dogs and people. Many times this will be enough to help an aggressive or anxious dog to help get used to their surroundings before being allowed to roam freely.
Proper socialization also helps prevent phobias and fears from accumulating down the road. Simply expose the canine to a variety of stimuli as early as possible, and do so in an upbeat, positive manner. Offer plenty of rewards and praise for the desired attitudes and behavior in this phase of training.
There are six basic commands each and every dog should know: “come,” “sit,” “down,” “stay,” “leave it,” and “heel.” Some commands are easier to teach than others, but for the most part, puppies take to new commands with ease. Though, this will depend on their breed and their individual coach-ability.
“Sit” is one of the easiest commands to teach and is often the first trick” taught a puppy or new dog. If you entice a dog with a treat or toy and gradually raise the reward item from in front of the dog’s nose and move the treat back over the dog’s head, the dog will naturally fall into a sitting position.
Once the dog has responded to your command and accomplished the sitting position, offer your pup a reward. Unlike other commands, the sitting position has a consistent track record of success. When working towards the “sit” command, a hand signal can be incredibly useful. With a hand signal, you can command from a distance—which can be especially convenient in the case that your dog hasn’t reached their “come” command. Even if your dog hasn’t been trained to come, if your dog responds to the “sit” command, you can buy some time in the case of an escape. When executed in time, your dog will sit and wait for you to retrieve them, whether they’ve escaped from leash or your yard.
Other commands follow the same pattern. Guide the dog into the desired position, praise with the command word or phrase, and reward. “Down” refers to lying down on command. “Stay” instructs your dog to stay in the same position, even if your pet has left your sight. “Leave it” means to ignore whatever the dog might be investigating or may be tempted by. “Heel” means to walk at your side or return to your side if they’ve ventured off or disobeyed your orders.
Some dogs like to forge ahead when walking. When these six basic commands don’t do the trick, try putting a backpack on your companion with a water bottle in each pocket. You can also try a no-pull harness to keep your dog in check.
Many people wish their dogs would perform more complicated or impressive tricks such as retrieving a canned beverage from the fridge, closing the fridge door, and delivering the can to you. Many complex tricks like this lie within the realm of possibility. The key is to break these grandeur tricks down into a series of steps. Encourage simple tasks or behaviors and slowly combine them into more complex tasks.
For the example trick, start by tying a towel or rope to the fridge door and encouraging the dog to tug on it. Follow this by encouraging the dog to tug hard enough to open the fridge. Once your dog has executed the following tasks, allow your dog to practice picking up full cans of your beverage-of-choice. Can holders can make this easier. Arrange prepared cans on the bottom shelf of the fridge and command your pup to collect the can and return it to you. Then, guide the dog in nudging the fridge door shut. In the end, combine all these small behaviors, and you’ll have a trick that’ll be sure to impress even the most stoic of guests.
Training should be a lifelong activity that encourages a connection between you and your dog. Whether you are reinforcing new boundaries or teaching a new task, your dog stays mentally-stimulated, and you’ll get to spend quality time together.
A well-trained dog is a pleasure for everyone to be around. A poorly-trained dog, aka a dog that’s not prepared for new experiences or confident in its surroundings, is not only a nuisance but can dangerous for loved ones, passing strangers, or fellow dogs at the dog park. Unfortunately, puppies or rehomed dogs that are fearful or anxious can be unpredictable. Make your dog feel happy, safe, and mentally/physically healthy by practicing regular training.