Training your dog can be an expensive endeavor if you don’t know what you are doing. If you don’t train him, he will simply ignore your commands and may become an annoyance to you. It is vital that you learn how to train a dog to listen to your commands. You will not only be able to create a better relationship with him, but also gain a lovely obedient doggie!
Most dog owners have heard of the “four cornerstones” of dog training. These are:
1. “Maintain your position as the alpha” – position gives you control. Dogs want only what they expect. If you’re important enough, they’ll respect you.
2. “Maintain control of the resources” – control of food, water, toys, and freedom.
3. “Show affections and emphasize kindness” – show affection and appreciation for the dog’s good behavior, and don’t be harsh.
4. “Always reward the desired behavior” – reward the dog immediately when he displays the desired behavior. Ignore bad behavior.
Dogs are very smart animals. They can learn very quickly what you command them to do. But for them to obey your instructions, you would need to give them some incentive to reward for their obedience! This makes reward based training is a extremely popular training method. Before you give your dog a reward, make sure that he has performed a certain task. Give the reward only after he had performed every command correctly.
Reward could be anything ranging from your dog’s favorite treats or toys, praise or even a simple pat on his head. When your dog is being praised for following a command that you had given to him, he will begin to associate this action with his reward and will continue to perform it. You will have to continue to use the same command until your dog fully understands it before moving on to the next command.
Research has also shown that food is one of the most effective rewards. Small treats specifically made for training a dog are available at pet stores. It is advised to limit the amount of food to only a few times a day for the training. The amount that should be given varies according to the dog’s size.
The key point in reward based training is that once your dog has learned your commands properly, he should always be given a reward. This will help to reinforce your training more effectively.
As you see, rewards are a very important aspect of training a dog to perform the behaviors that you want. If he doesn’t respond to a reward, it doesn’t mean that his behavior isn’t reinforced. It just means that the reward could be something different than what he was expecting or wanting.
If you catch your dog about to engage in inappropriate behavior, use an abrupt sound, a clap of your hands, or gently throwing something like a can with some pebbles inside it away from your dog. This will create a startling sound that will get the message across to your dog to stop this action.
Physical punishment should NOT be used as a training method. Hitting or slapping your dog is inhumane and illegal. It is simply cruel. Your dog will become fearful and resentful and, as a consequence, he may attack you or your family members.
When training your dog to listen to your commands, it is vital that you use the same words over again. Using different words for different commands will confuse your dog. Repeat the words you are teaching over again until your dog gets it. As soon as your dog responds correctly, say “Good Boy!” and then give him a treat and praise.
Training a dog should be done in short bursts rather than all at once. You can begin training your dog in a quiet room. Avoid carrying out the training in a crowded area as that would likely distract your dog.
The next step is to instruct your dog to ‘listen’ using your words, and a treat. Keep the treat within reach and close to your dog while instructing him to listen by saying the word repeatedly in a calm soothing voice. Praise your dog each time he has responded appropriately and of course, don’t forget his reward.
Making your dog sit, stay, or come when you tell him to is a good perspective of how you have an influence over him. Begin training your dog using the above procedures and gradually conditioned your dog to react to your actions and commands.. Reward him as you progress and soon you’ll have a highly trained dog that listens to you perfectly!
Often owners will give a treat to a dog for doing nothing. This is a form of bribery; your dog will expect a treat and may not do anything for the praise and attention he’ll receive instead. This will make his behavior worse because he’ll be hesitant to do something for that praise and attention. Treats should only be given for good behavior.
It’s easy to get caught up and frustrated with training your dog, especially when you haven’t have much time and your dog is just a puppy. But it’s important to make time to spend with your dog to build the trust.