So you got yourself a pup! Now what?…
Training a dog can be a fun and rewarding activity and a great time investment for a good dog owner. So much of the pet experience depends on training. Dogs should learn how to behave when leashed and walking with the owner or someone else. They should learn basic voice commands. The basic commands are a great place to start; sit, down, stay, and come are the basics every pet owner can easily teach. Once the routine of training and learning is set, one can add more things. A popular addition is a handshake- or paw shake. Many call it a “high five.”
Have a Pleasant Walk
Leash Etiquette is an important first step. Most owners must walk their dogs for body functions and exercise. Dogs that pull and strain or those that drag behind will not get the full benefit of the experience. These behaviors cause difficulties for the owner or dog walker. A pocket full of treats and a strong grip is a good combination for leash training. A firm no and pull can alert the dog to change, and the treat reinforces the positive behavior. Leash training is vital for the dog’s and owner’s safety. Some owners succeed with a clip and harness leash. The harness allows the owner to stop and control the dog without hurting it. Combined with treats and patience the dog can learn to walk comfortably at the owner’s side.
Loose Leash Walk
The goal is to have a loose leash walk. The loose leash occurs when the dog walks comfortably at the owner’s side so that the leash hangs and is not tight. Leash training is repetition-based conditioning, and it depends on the sound of the voice commands and praise. For best results, use clear words like No and Stop when controlling the harness. The pull and the voice make a great combination. When teaching the dog walking behavior, one must teach them to walk at a comfortable pace for the owner or dog walker. If too fast, pull the harness, and if too slow pull again. Stop and come on can be voice commands. The training uses a quick pull and voice to communicate instantly. The goal of the pull is to control the dog and alert them to commands. The sound of the owner’s voice to correct and to praise is a critical part of the stimulus. Treats can speed the process considerably.
Words, Signals and More…
Sight, sound, and physical touches are great tools for training. Treats are great, particularly in the early stages to get and keep attention for the whole lesson. Patience is a requirement for owner and pet, and frustration can set in easily. It is important to maintain a positive approach and work through difficulties slowly and patiently.
Teaching sit, come, stay, and down is best accomplished with the help of treats and hand signals. Down can be accompanied by a downward stroke of arm and hand, sit can point the hand at the dog, stay can be an open palm, and come can be a wave. A good way to do it is to stand close in the beginning so that one can reach and move the dog to the sit, down, and stay positions. One can increase the distance from the pet gradually as the lessons proceed. The sound of the voice is important, but the hand signals will eventually work without voice too. Small treat rewards are best; the idea is to reward them and keep them interested in the training. Think of the treats as your dog’s wage and treat it as such (pun intended!). Reward hard work and positive behavior.
House Broken Pets are Best
House break training is an important first step for dog owners to establish the outside as the place for body functions. The vital step is to establish an opportunity to use the outdoors by getting a pattern for walks. Morning and evening walks work well for most owners. Households with two or more people can use the extra opportunities to give the dog an outside break and ease the pressures of house training. House training is about accidents and instances of indoor events. It is vital to show extreme disapproval firmly. Dogs are social, and their instinct is to please their masters; they eagerly accept rewards and praise. The tone of voice is important in these situations. One needs harsh tones and an insistent if not loud volume. Similarly, one must praise them when they go outside and perform their body functions in acceptable places. One’s neighbors with well-kept lawns will particularly appreciate that selective location aspect of training. One must develop a distinct scolding voice and praise voice. The dog will visibly react to each, ducking the head when scolded, and wagging when praised.
Training Needs Focus
Find a quiet place away from loud noises and distractions. Particularly, in the beginning, stages, the focus is a key. Use a commanding voice when giving instructions. The firm, controlled sound of the owner’s voice is an important learning cue for the dog. Soon, the dog will understand that this time is not playtime or another activity; it is the time to listen and obey. The command voice can separate training time from play and exercise. It is important to praise success; the dog thrives on the pleasant feeling from the reward voice. Positive reinforcement is a powerful force in training.
For general training, there are plenty of group classes you can enroll your pup into, from “puppy training” to “advanced obedience.” Ask your local pet store or doggy day care center for options or perform a simple google search for your area. Often, shelters and other non-profit organizations offer group classes that are usually less expensive than a dedicated training center.
Enjoy a Unique Friendship
Dog owners develop a special friendship with their pets. Every part of the interaction takes on a greater significance as time passes. The hours of companionship is its own reward, but pet owners also thrive. Many studies point to pet owners as happier, healthier people with bright outlooks on life. Pet ownership has legal complications too; pet owners have responsibilities for the actions of their animals. This is another strong reason to take time to train the dog thoroughly. Pet ownership is like much of life; those who put an effort into it, get a great deal from it. Having a well behaved, well trained dog enhances the relationship and the experience of dog ownership and will make you look like a pro!