You want your dog to be as well-behaved as Lassie but how do you transform that chaos creating bundle of fur into a well-behaved pet. The good news is training is a very bonding experience for you and your dog. With patience and consistency you can have a dog that is a joy to live with.
Training a dog can be a daunting task. Here are a few tips from expert trainers to guide you on the journey.
Attending a training class is about more than teaching your dog to obey commands, it will teach you how to effectively communicate with your dog.
Focus on positive reinforcement
Your dog wants to please you. In order for him to understand how to behave you must reward the behavior you want. Rewarding encourages the dog to repeat the desired behavior. Punishing when the dog misbehaves only confuses him and risks creating a fearful, shy or withdrawn dog.
Think about the dog’s safety
Don’t over estimate your dogs ability to focus when there are distractions. Keep your dog on a leash when away from home. Teaching “wait” or “stay” could save your dog’s life.
Nothing beats the magic of a good treat
A tasty high value treat to reinforce desired behavior is a must in the beginning. Be sure to only use this special treat while training.
Dogs are experts at reading body language. Be sure your body language is congruent with your verbal command. Watch your dog’s body language, it can tell you if he understands what is being asked of him.
Don’t rush the training fundamentals. If your dog becomes confused go back to a previous lesson. Always end a training session with something the dog does well.
Patience is a virtue
Dogs learn at different rates. If it seems to be taking too long to learn a new skill step back to something he knows. Make sure the environment is distraction free. Most of all be patient.
Treats should not be relied on as a reward for long-term training
It’s easy to see how effective treats are when motivating a dog to perform a task. However, once they learn the behavior you need to start transitioning the dog to performing the command without treats or their favorite toy.