When you bring a dog home for the first time, it’s important you take the time to train him. Disciplined dogs are happier, safer and just plain easier to be around.
The problem is, most people don’t really know how to train a dog, so they go about it the wrong way, creating more problems that they solve and upsetting themselves and their pet in the process. These are the kinds of people who end up being sued by Hupy and Abraham, a firm that can net you a larger settlement for dog attacks, when their pet hurts someone, not because they are bad, but because they haven’t been taught how to be a good dog.
It’s a good idea, if you don’t have any experience of training dogs, to take a class or hire an expert who can show you want needs to be done, but books and videos are great resources too. The top tips below should help you to raise a good dog too…
Know His Breed
Before you begin training your dog, it’s worth the time to research his breed because different breeds have different temperaments and knowing about this will help you to better understand what motivates him, so you can tailor your approach for the best possible results.
Reward Good Behavior
When training your dog, you should avoid negative consequences for bad behavior, instead rewarding your pet when he behaves well. If you, for example, give your dog a small treat when he stops barking instead of shouting at him, which will probably just excite him more, you will give him a very real incentive to behave well.
When your dog is being bad, say by jumping up on you, it’s far better to ignore his behavior by turning away, so that he quicky learns there is no point in behaving that way at all.
Remember Dogs Live in the Moment
It’s important to remember that dogs live in the moment, so there is little point in punishing for something they have done minutes or even hours earlier because they won’t be able to connect the crime with the punishment, so to speak. It’s only worth reprimanding them if you catch them in the act of digging up the roses or pooping on the floor, otherwise, they won’t learn and they may be upset.
Violence is Never the Answer
This probably goes without saying, but shouting an screaming at your dog or using physical violence on him will not lead to anything good. Your dog will be scared and stressed out and this will lead to him being more impulsive and more likely to behave in a dangerous manner. If you’re unpredictable, he will feel the need to be on high alert and the consequences could be serious. Remain calm and always be kind to your dog, even when you have to be firm.
Keep it Short and the Same
If you one day tell your dog to “Get off the couch” and the next time you tell him to “Move” chances are he will ignore you because he won’t connect the two commands as meaning the same thing. When you’re training your dog, agree with any family members on short simple commands for every situation and use only those commands as appropriate so as not to confuse your dog.
Also, bear in mind that you should be consistent with any consequences too. If you always turn your back on your dog when he’s jumping up on you, but your kids cuddle him and make a fuss over him when he does the same, he’ll be getting mixed messages, which means that he’ll find it impossible to learn the consequences for his actions, and again, it won’t be his fault. Agree on some ground rules and be sure to stick to them.
Basic Skills Go a Long Way
It’s smart to teach your dog how to deal with all kinds of situations, but when you’re starting out, teaching them basic skills like how to sit and stay, and really focusing on them until he does it every time, is smart because you can use sit and stay commands to keep your dog, and the people around him, safe in a lot of situations.
A lot of dogs don’t exactly have a long attention span, and they can get bored and frustrated if you try to teach them too much for too long. It’s far better to break your training sessions down into short sessions of 15 minutes or less, that are fun for the dog and which repeat the same one or two skills over and over.
Be the Pack Leader
Most of us are big softies when it comes to our four-legged friends, but we need to show them that we are the leader of the pack if we want them to pay attention to us and follow our commands. In order to be a good alpha, you have to be form but fair. You should maintain a cool, clam demeanour, use a strong tone of voice and always follow through with consequences. Of course, you should do this in a kind and loving way, but don’t be a pushover.
Practice Makes Perfect
The main thing to know about training dogs is that practice makes perfect. You’re going to have to go over the same ground time and time again until your dog gets it, but it’ll be worth it when he’s a happy dog who has a good bond with you. Be patient and good things will happen.
Have Some Fun
All work and no play makes Fido a dull boy, so between all those training sessions, be sure to take the time to play tug, run around the garden or have fun cuddles too. A dog who’s loved is far more likely to play ball.
Raising a dog can be difficult at times, but they bring us so much love and joy that it is always worth the effort. Enjoy your dog while you can!
Categories: Tips and Advice Stuff