By Linda Cole
Most of us are not professional dog trainers, but our canine companions still need basic training to help keep them safe. As long as you stay consistent and patient with your dog, he will learn what you’re trying to teach him. As responsible pet owners, we understand why a dog needs to learn basic commands like sit, stay, down and no. And of course, every dog should know to come as soon as they’re called. The hard part, especially with a more head strong dog, is how to do it without a professional dog trainer. If you don’t have access to one or can’t afford a professional trainer, don’t worry about it. Get yourself lots of CANIDAE dog treats and a good leash, and stay calm. Training your dog might take a little longer when you aren’t sure what you’re doing, but rest assured you can do it.
Understand your dog’s breed characteristics to help you know what you can expect from him, even if you have a mixed breed. Some dogs learn faster, but all dogs are capable of learning basic commands as long as you’re willing to commit to dog training. Some breeds have a stubborn streak and others are laid back and eager to please. Some dogs respond well with only praise and some need more incentive with a tasty treat. Either way works, but make sure to include lots of praise with or without treats.
Exercise your dog before starting. Begin with a walk or some play time, just enough to get rid of pent up energy so he’s ready to concentrate on learning. It helps him focus on your commands once you begin training your dog. A walk is also the perfect time to work on heel and sit.
Make dog training a game, and keep it simple. When you’re ready to train your dog, the more fun he has learning, the more willing he’ll be to learn. Don’t get stressed out if he’s not paying attention, and never hit him or yell at him. You don’t want to give your dog negative feelings. An anxious dog can act out if he’s frustrated and doesn’t understand what he’s doing wrong or why you’re yelling at him. Keep it fun so he’ll look forward to the next dog training session.
Stay calm, and be patient. You can’t force a dog to learn. You may be ready to train your dog, but he may not be ready. It doesn’t mean “now” isn’t the right time. He just may need a little encouragement to get into the game. Staying calm will transfer to your dog. He understands your moods by your body language and tone of voice.
Stay consistent with your commands. If you’re teaching your dog to sit, use the same command every time. Don’t confuse him by using different words for the same command and expect him to learn each one. “Sit” should be sit or sit down, but not both.
It’s not necessary to use your dog’s name before each command. He knows you’re speaking to him. If you’re training more than one dog, don’t try to train them together. It’s much easier when you don’t have to divide your attention, and they won’t feel like they have to compete with each other.
Don’t let your dog intimidate you. When you’re trying to train your dog and he doesn’t want to have anything to do with learning, don’t give up. Few dogs can resist their favorite treat. To keep your dog from running back to his spot on the couch or racing around the backyard, put him on a leash. You’re now in control of the dog training session. Start with easy commands like sit and lay down. With lots of praise and good treats, he’ll be eager for his next lesson.
Stop when he gets bored. Sooner or later, learning turns into boredom. You don’t have to spend a long time teaching him commands. Once he understands what you want, practice each command every day to reinforce it. When he knows the basics, then you can start teaching him some tricks.
Don’t get mad if he isn’t paying attention. Dog training requires your dog’s full attention. If he isn’t hungry, a treat won’t work. If there are other activities going on around him, it’s hard for him to concentrate if he’d rather be playing or keeping an eye on the neighborhood squirrels. Try again later.
Most dogs learn basic commands quickly. Don’t give up! Dog training isn’t difficult or time consuming, but it does require staying calm, consistent and patient.
Read more articles by Linda Cole
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Pet Foods.