As a dog parent, it’s a fulfilling and rewarding sight to see your dog retain the lessons you taught them during training. And while it may take some time to reach that milestone, there are several tips and tricks to improve your pooch’s learning process.
But before you proceed to the training grounds, make sure you are well-prepared. Here are a few important things that will help your success for dog training.
- Prepare their collar and leash– make sure they fit just right
- Reduce the amount of food they eat to increase food drive for treats
- Prep your pockets or a hip pouch with treats.
- Pack their favourite toys, and pack treats as small, chewable ones to avoid snacking
- Let them have their potty break
- Set your dog training goals
These preliminary steps ensure that you and your pup are ready to take training sessions. With that in mind, here are top 10 tips on how to effectively train your dog.
10 Dog Training Tips
Create a schedule
Dogs crave order. No matter how messy they may seem, they are animals who live by habits. They feel anxious when they don’t know what to expect for the day.
Create a schedule for their daily activities. Set times for potty breaks, exercise, feeding, playing, and training. Establish balance and structure in their life.
Set a daily exercise routine
Exercise goes a long way, especially before training your pooch. Regular exercise lessens the risk for behavioural problems, and your pup becomes more responsive during training.
Exercise wears off their pent-up energy and calms them down, and the best time to train your pup is when they’re calm. A healthy, well-exercised dog is eager to learn and ready to listen.
Reward good behaviours
Positive reinforcement helps dogs learn much faster than punishment systems– that means giving them rewards when they did something good, and not punishing them when they did something wrong.
Rewards can be treats, petting them, or verbally praising them. You can also catch your pup doing something good out of the blue, and it’s a good time to shower them with praises. Let them know they’ve been a good dog!
Reward them with things or food they really enjoy, and be quick with it– they won’t remember what the reward was for if it comes too late. And make sure that this doesn’t turn into bribery– reward comes after good behaviour, not before.
Take the leadership walk
Dogs are pack animals, so they trust and obey a pack leader. It’s best if you establish yourself as the leader who gives them direction and leads every training– do this with the walk of supremacy.
Walk with your pooch with a sense of leadership. Always keep them walking beside or behind you, but never in front of you. Train them to stop when you stop, or when you say so.
Pro-tip: If you have a hyperactive pooch, take longer walks. Their energy cannot be levelled with 1-hour walks only, and they want more physical challenge.
Master your energy and mental strength
Your dog can read your energy, so make sure you have a positive attitude and an unwavering mind. Your pup will respect and obey you more once they see that you’re indeed a confident pack leader.
Maintain your cool. Your dog’s progress could be very slow, and it may frustrate you, but do your best to not show it. Be patient and pull off an encouraging gaze to your pup, so they see that you’re not giving up.
If you properly establish yourself as the confident pack leader, they will trust and listen to your commands.
Set house rules
Your pooch is your baby and confidante, and you don’t want to treat them differently just because they aren’t humans. A good balance is the right approach– set boundaries in your home to help your dog understand their role in the household. Your dog needs to learn to trust that you know better.
This can be established by being firm with your pup on what is wrong and right behaviour. Start by setting house rules, i.g. only eat in their food bowl, no jumping on anyone, taking potty breaks outside, sleeping in their bed.
Once your pooch knows its role in the household, they will be easier to train.
Stay consistent with your methods
Once you set house rules, make sure you strictly follow them. There are times you’ll be tempted to give in when they stare at you with puppy-dog eyes, but remember that consistency is key. If you give in to their whims and say ‘Just this once’, and then the next day you won’t allow it, your dog will be confused.
Use the same command, tone of voice, and body language too. Everytime they don’t listen to you, check if you're giving them consistent messages, as they heavily rely on your physical gestures when picking up commands.
Value your and your dog’s efforts while training and maintain consistency.
Coordinate with your family members
It’s important that your pup doesn’t get mixed messages from other people. It takes a household to train a dog, so get all your family members aboard.
If you don’t allow your dog to jump, but your mom pets them when they do, your pooch won’t have a clear understanding of what’s right or wrong.
Coordinate with your family members and agree that all of you will take effort to train your furry family member.
Educate and train yourself
To stay in control during training, equip yourself with prior knowledge and training. Your pooch will stay respectful and attentive to you if you continue to exhibit your knowledge and confidence– that you know very well what you’re doing.
Educate yourself ahead of time. Anticipate possible issues that may arise during training and plan solutions. Keep your commands straight to the point, with consistent tone and body language.
Don’t forget to have fun! End the training on a positive note so your dog will most likely anticipate the next session. If they had a good experience with you and the training activities you prepared, they will be more eager to participate next time.
Training your dog lets them understand the human world better, and will help them live with you and other people. It also establishes strong pet-owner relationships, as you listen and pay attention to their needs too. Dog Gear has a wide selection of dog training tools perfect for your training sessions.