Properly training and socializing your dog is an important part of its development and general happiness. Dog training should be started as soon as possible to avoid problems such as chewing items around the home, jumping up to people, aggression, and possessiveness. Training your dog takes time and although it may be overwhelming at first, the process is more effective and less stressful if you take it step by step.
Many factors can affect a dog’s progress in training including age, breed, and if the dog had previous owners, that being said it is possible to train almost any dog. If you need help with training your dog, take a look at some of the commonly used dog training tips and tricks below.
Practice Leash Training Often
Typically, a dog owner should take their dog on walks two to three times a day, and if they live in an urban area a leash will be required to keep the dog safe. When introducing the leash to your puppy, try to use fun and easy to follow techniques that combine short command words to get the right reaction followed by a treat as a reward. Effective leash training can teach your dog to always walk beside you whilst maintaining a loose leash, it also trains them to never pull or lunge at people or things they find exciting.
Set House Rules Early On
Even before your new dog comes home, it is a good idea to decide on the house rules for your dog, so you can incorporate them into its training. You should decide things such as whether your dog is allowed on the bed or sofa and which parts of the home it can’t go to. Determining house rules early will help to avoid any confusion when training.
Use Basic Commands
A key part of training your dog is teaching them commands to trigger certain actions, this helps to give your dog a sense of structure and order, which makes it easier to keep them under control. Some commands often used in dog training include come, look, with me, leave it, drop it, sit, and lie down. Basic dog training commands should be positively reinforced using treats and regular practice.
Use Clicker Training
One method of positive reinforcement that is popular with dog owners is clicker training, which can be used to teach a range of basic or advanced commands and tricks. Dog training clickers work by providing a consistent and audible response to a dog’s positive behavior, once a dog has completed an action the owner should make a clicking sound and then give them a treat. After lots of practice and repetition, a dog soon learns to connect the clicker with listening to a command, completing actions, and receiving a reward.
When introducing your dog to the clicker, it is best to be in a quiet room with few distractions, and you should have plenty of small dog treats on hand. Start by showing a treat in one hand and clicking once, then immediately giving the treat. This should be repeated several times to help your dog build an association between the clicker and treats. Once your dog has become comfortable with the clicker, you can encourage them to learn some basic commands such as sit, by clicking, and giving them a treat after they have completed the action.
Teach Your Dog Fun Tricks
In addition to the structure provided by basic commands, dogs also need extra mental stimulation. Many dog owners keep their dogs happy by teaching them to do fun tricks, some examples include:
- Speak. This allows the owner to control their dog’s bark and is a fun way for dogs to communicate their excitement. It is often used with the ‘quiet’ command to stop the barking.
- Shake paws. This trick is easy to teach in a few training sessions, and many dogs enjoy the positive attention they get from interacting with family members or guests.
- Spin. Your dog can be lured into a spin by holding a treat close to its nose. Use the ‘spin’ command, and give a treat after one or two rotations
Practice Behaviors In Various Settings
The last step in dog training is proofing, this is the process of ensuring your dog’s behaviors and obedience are the same everywhere, whether it be in your home, at the park, or a friend’s house. The best way of proofing your dog’s behavior is to practice commands in a variety of different situations and locations with varying degrees of distraction.
Training a dog can be difficult and time-consuming, however, many headaches can be avoided if you follow a step-by-step process that is fun and rewarding for your dog.