You don’t have to be a dog whisperer to train your favorite canine. With the right approach and establishing yourself as the alpha, learning how to train dogs can be fun, fast, and an excellent way to bond with your pet.
If you can establish some basic rules from the beginning, you will certainly make your life, and your dog’s life, much easier. But, have no fear, you can teach an old dog new tricks, so don’t let that stop you from rescuing a pet from the pound.
How To Train Your Dog – the Basics
The secret to learning how to train your dog begins with establishing yourself as your dog’s pack leader. Often dogs misbehave because they think of you as their pack mate. You are the boss. That doesn’t mean you have to be cruel, just firm and consistent. Be sure to offer plenty of positive reinforcement. Be in a good mood when training; dogs are sensitive to their owner’s moods and happy dogs learn easier. Dogs learn best in short, fun sessions. Start any training session with the “Focus” lesson below, so you can focus your dog’s attention on you.
How to train your dog also involves finding the treat your dog likes best. Dogs will work for food, but sometimes it’s about finding the right food to keep his or her attention. Some suggestions include the following: dog training treats, hot dogs sliced up into small pieces, and tiny cheese squares. Change the treat if your dog is not responding to you.
How to Train Dogs to Focus
This game will get your dog to look at you. Place treats in both hands and hold them straight out from your body while standing on your dog’s leash. When your dog makes eye contact with you, say “yes” and give him a treat from one of your hands. At first, he may just look at your hands, but quickly he will understand. This game is a good way to start any practice session because it focuses your dog’s attention on you.
How to Train Dogs to Sit
Take a treat and cup it into your hand so your dog can’t snatch it. Take the treat and slowly move it over your dog’s head, making sure to do so very close to his or her head. Your dog should naturally sit. At the same time your dog is sitting, add the command “sit”, and give him or her the treat. If this doesn’t work, you can smooth your other hand back over your dog’s rump so he sits down.
When you are not training, be mindful of your dog’s behavior. When your dog is about to sit or lay down, say the command, so he or she can better associate the command to the action you want.
How to Train Dogs to Stay
Stay is another excellent command for all dogs to learn. Start by prompting your dog to a sitting position and say, “stay.” After a few seconds say, “ok” to release your dog from the stay. Slowly increase the time of the stay; this is often a hard one to teach. If your dog looks like he or she is going to break from the stay either say, “ok” to release him or her or gently hold the leash and firmly say, “stay.” Always praise and give your dog a treat after a successful stay.
Establishing Yourself as the Pack Leader
NILF…nothing in life is free. By applying this principle, learning how to train dogs can be easier. This teaches your dog to look to you as the pack leader, because in order to get what he or she wants, your dog must first do something you want. Have your dog sit before you let him or her go outside. You should go through doors first. Have your dog lay down before playing with him or her. Put your dog in a sitting position and make your dog stay before feeding time.
If your dog is food aggressive, he or she may show signs of this by guarding and growling when his or her food is approached. This behavior should be worked on. To avoid this, when your dog is a puppy, you can hand feed him or her every once in a while. Also, make a game out of taking the food away and having your dog sit and stay to get it returned. As the pack leader, you should be able to take a bone, food, or something unhealthy from your dog at all times without aggression. For adopted dogs that may have been starved for food, you may want to seek the help of an experienced dog trainer to work through this problem.
Other Tips on How to Train Dogs
- Repeat, repeat, repeat; dogs learn best by repetition.
- Be patient. Every dog learns at his or her own rate.
- Timing is crucial. If you don’t see your dog do it, you can’t correct him later, because your dog will not understand what the correction is for.
- Use obedience commands often; make training a part of your daily life.
- Be consistent with the commands you use throughout your entire family.
- End every dog training session with plenty of praise and
playtime so your dog will look forward to the next lesson.
Dog training is just as important as feeding, exercising, and caring for your canine. By exercising his mind, your dog will be happier and well adjusted. Your dog will be confident and self-assured. Dog training gives you more confidence in your pet at home and in the company of others.
If you need some help in your training, we offer a variety of training devices that can help you in the reinforcement of your commands.