It is without a doubt that one of the most rewarding undertakings you can do as a pet parent is training your dog.
While the old saying is true – that it can be challenging to teach an old dog new tricks, for pups, the task is more straightforward than you might think.
In our companion article for this month, we discuss the many benefits that such training can bring to both you and your pooch, but in this article, we examine the best methods for getting the actual training underway!
Keep things simple when training your dog
Before jumping into more advanced tricks, there are some basic commands that you ought to teach your furry friend.
These commands may include preparing your dog to sit, stand, or wait and many of them should come in handy every day.
To avoid overwhelming your dog, practice with it 2-3 times daily for a maximum of 15 minutes.
The most effective methods of training your dog
Use optimistic reinforcement behaviour
This is one of the most effective methods of training a dog. The technique focuses on rewarding your dog for a positive behaviour instead of focusing on punishing negative behaviour. For instance, if your dog barks excessively in your presence, refrain from giving it any attention – only provide it when your dog behaves the way you want it to.
Find a reward that your dog enjoys
While most dogs will enthusiastically respond to food, others are choosy at times. If your dog is not entirely thrilled with normal food, the right thing to do is find a gift that piques its interest. This may include a walk outside, a play session, and giving the dog attention, among other non-food-related rewards.
Consistency is the key when training your dog
Consistency is an integral part of training. It is imperative to use the exact words and tone every day to avoid confusing your friend. Equally critical, everyone in your home should read the same script to ensure your pet learns faster. Any deviation from tone or style could run the risk of wiping your dog’s internal chalkboard clean!
Training sparingly and often
Training sessions should not be too long. In general, shorter sessions tend to be much more effective. Any session that lasts more than five minutes could be frustrating. It is worth noting that dogs find it challenging to comprehend commands in different locations. Ensure you give orders in multiple areas with varying levels of interruption – this builds up their ability to overcome such comprehension confusion.
If you intend to teach your dog more complex tricks for removing unwanted behaviour, breaking the behaviour patterns into small parts would be prudent. Teach them just the first step for one week, then slowly integrate step two the next. This gradual build-up of steps and techniques will allow your dog to nail the earlier steps before you move on to the next ones.
Make it interesting when training your dog
Training your dog shouldn’t be a tedious process. Similar to humans, dogs need breaks while training. To keep training fun, ensure that you link breaks with short, exciting play sessions. Keep it short, sweet and simple – a less is more approach is surprisingly effective in scenarios like this.
Observe and appreciate the small details
Applauding your dog for any improvement can go a long way to keeping you and your dog motivated. You will be eager to teach your dog more tricks, leading to a stronger connection between you and your dog. Try not to focus only on them achieving the end goal – encourage and appreciate every little bit of progress they make.
Use your hands
Unlike humans, dogs tend to comprehend signals more than words. For efficient training, it would be advisable to combine both words and signals. You can begin the exercise with signs followed by terms or vice versa. Be animated, be open and be communicative – doing so will keep your dog’s brain wide awake.
Reward your hard-working dog with our Healthy Treats range
When done consistently, the tips mentioned above can go a long way toward changing your furry friend’s behaviour – and all for the better!
It’s also important to remember, however, that hard work should be rewarded! Our Healthy Centres and Healthy Treats are the perfect way to treat your pooch without having to worry about such indulgences being unhealthy. Formulated by animal nutritionists, they are tasty and nutritious and are the perfect choice for reward-based training.
So get started with your training today and ensure your dog is a happy and social member of your family – and don’t forget to also check out our blog for pet-related information and advice!