Training your dog is not as difficult as you may think.
Now there’s a bold statement for you!
In fact it is certainly possible for ANY dog owner to train their dogs themselves provided they put in the time and effort to do so.
Below I’ve listed some principles to follow that will help you.
Consistency is very important during training, always use the same command for a specific behaviour that you would like to teach your dog. Using different commands will confuse them and are unlikely to give you the results you are looking for.
Please remember that their name is NOT the “come” or any other command. Using their name will get them (in most cases!) to look at you so you can then tell them what you want them to do next.
Once you’ve establish some house rules such as – keeping the cooking area out of bound to your dog, implement them constantly. If your dog learns that they can get away with it now and then, your previous efforts will go down the drain.
Lastly, make sure everyone in the family understand and follow these boundaries consistently too in order for this to be effective.
Timing is critical to successful training. Praise your dog whenever they are doing something right and correct them straight away when they misbehave or don’t respond to your command. Praise and correction that happen later will have no effect on your dog as they live in the present moment and associate with what’s going on NOW.
Correcting a dog does NOT mean hitting, shouting or forcing them, instead use a deep and confident tone of voice.
There are 2 main schools of thought on how to correct a dog when they misbehave.
The first approach simply requires that you tell your dog off instantly when they are doing something unwanted. This is often the method that most dog owners use.
The second approach requires that you take no notice of your dog and withdraw your attention when they misbehave and encourages you to pay attention to your dog only when they are good.
Almost all dogs love attention and are hugely motivated by it, whether it’s good or bad attention it’s still attention! They see things in a simple way. If a certain action gets a reaction and attention, they’re very likely to repeat it over and over again.
More often than not we give our dogs negative attention. For example, “Do you consistently tell them to get down when they jump up?” or “Do you run after them when they run off with your socks?” They are getting attention, albeit negative, and are being rewarded for their unwanted behaviour, which will encourage them to do it more!
When your dog understands that they only get attention when they’re being good, they’ll learn that only good behaviour attracts attention and will repeat this good behaviour.
The rule of thumb with this method is to focus your attention on your dog only when they are behaving. Give them plenty of praise or a treat so they associate that this behaviour is good to do so that they regularly repeat it.
You need to be in the correct frame of mind when you train your dog. If you’re feeling frustrated, tired or short tempered then this is not a good time to do it!
Training a dog does require patience, a calm and gentle tone and consistency.
If possible, it’s a good idea to allocate regular time in your diary to train your dog, it’s important to make it fun and see it as your special time together. I’m sure you’ll agree there’s nothing better than having a happy, well balanced and well behaved dog.
The rewards of putting this in place are endless.