As a dog owner, training is both fun, necessary, and a responsibility. Dogs generally want to please their humans, but they aren’t born with general knowledge of how to behave, so we have to teach them.
Whether you want to teach your dog basic obedience, to do tricks, or to use a dog door, the training process will be easier if you know the basics. We’ve collected some training tips, and here are one through five. Come back tomorrow for five more!
1. Learn to listen to your dog
This might sound like a strange tip – the article is supposed to be about dog training and not human training – but learning to listen and understand the dog sets the foundation for everything else. Paying attention to dogs helps us learn their body language, and you will soon know exactly what your dog wants or feels.
2. Be generous with affection
We’re usually pretty quick to say no, or scold the dog when something goes wrong, and less prone to give praise when things are right. Give your dog lots of affection and attention when he or she does the right thing. It’s okay to be over the top – it makes your dog feel that sitting, staying, coming, whatever it might be was a really good thing that’s worth the effort of doing again.
3. Figure out what your dog likes
When you’re training your dog it helps to have a reward they really like. This is often a treat, but can also be a toy, or your affection. When it comes to treats, most dogs prefer soft, chewy, and smelly treats over hard and crunchy treats. If you find something your dog really loves, training will be a breeze.
4. Be clear about what you want
Humans generalize well, but dogs don’t. This often leads to a clash when we say “no” and think it’s perfectly clear that no means “stop jumping,” or “get off the sofa.” A dog can draw the conclusion that no means “jump higher” or “lie down instead of sitting.” You will get better results if you tell the dog what you want him to do instead. For example, if the dog is jumping, making him sit will work better than just saying no.
5. Be consistent
Your dog is learning how to handle the world, and being consistent helps. Some dogs are quite able to learn that “release” and “drop” mean the same thing, but it will be much easier for your dog to learn if everyone in the family uses the same command. Agree on family rules. Is the dog allowed in all rooms? Is the dog allowed on the furniture?