Check Out Dog Training Obedience – Easy-To-Understand Methods
Many new dog owners are disappointed when they realize most dogs are not as obedient and well-behaved as expected. Similarly to children, dogs require constant good guidance and lots of patience.
Training your dog to be obedient can be a long and frustrating process. All you want them to do is listen. Can it be that complicated? Well... not anymore, since we are sharing easy-to-understand methods to guide you in this process.
Remember that dogs explore their environment with noses, paws, and mouths. This includes chewing on things and digging. Thus, what you may consider "bad" dog behavior is just normal behavior. And these normal behaviors should be promoted in a suitable way, such as by teaching your dog to chew on toys but not on your shoes.
Your job is to teach your dog what is acceptable for them to do through consistent training. Please don't assume it might be too late to start obedience training because dogs constantly learn! You can start it at any moment.
Dog training in obedience can get tiresome but, of course, is necessary for a happy home and happy dog. It is a widely-held school of thought that a well-trained dog is happier. In addition, you are also happier when your dog respects your commands and doesn’t pee on your carpet or chew on your furniture.
Why is it so important to train your dog?
You must have already heard from several people that it is crucial to train your dog, but have you wondered why?
Training obedience is essential for your dog's development, health, and capacity to interact safely with the environment around them. Thus, it has positive impacts not only on your dog but also on you, your sanity, and your wallet. You'll find that the money spent on home repairs and substitute clothing will decrease as your dog gets more obedient.
Still trying to figure out dog training? Here are the eight significant benefits of dog training:
It provides mental stimulation. This promotes your dog’s well-being and happiness. Mental stimulation is as essential as daily physical activity in your dog’s life. Combined with morning exercise, it will help to get your dog mentally and physically tired, making it more likely for them to sleep throughout the day.
Training skills at home can satisfy your bored dog's needs when there is bad weather. Also, when dogs need to reduce the amount of physical activity they perform due to an injury or after surgery, this stimulation plays a crucial role in keeping them entertained.
It strengthens the bond between you and your dog. Training will allow you to spend more time and create new experiences with your pet. It represents a way for both to communicate and understand each other. The attention given to your dog while training will strengthen your bond and help to develop mutual respect. While you will earn a new appreciation for their potential and abilities, your dog will increase trust and respect your judgment.
It improves your dog’s confidence. The sense of accomplishment gained through training will help to enhance confidence.
- It increases your dog’s safety. It is your job to keep your pet safe. Guaranteeing your dog respects your instructions will prevent harmful and dangerous situations, such as conflicts with other animals.
It protects your home (and your wallet). Your dog will learn what is adequate and inadequate to do in your home and, therefore, will behave properly. This will ensure your home is treated with respect and save significant money on home repairs.
It facilitates your walks. Training your dog will make your walks together a more pleasant experience for both of you. Your pet will know how to properly and successfully interact with other humans and animals.
It makes your vet’s job easier. It is essential to regularly take your dog to the vet to ensure they are healthy. Veterinarians cannot risk their safety working with a dog who aggressively reacts to them. Obedience training will help your dog effectively interact with their vet, guaranteeing proper health care.
You will have the capacity to help other dog owners. Knowing how to train a dog is an ability you will have forever. Once you have trained your dog, you can help others by sharing your knowledge and skills. If you start feeling this may be your passion, you can even begin a career as a dog trainer!
Most dogs are intelligent animals and learn quickly. And if all you want is the basics, dog training for obedience can go quite quickly. Sit, stay, heel, lie down, and rollover are all super easy commands that most dogs naturally do daily, so they are not that hard to teach.
The following are the four best dog obedience training methods.
- Positive Reinforcement
This is the generally preferred dog training method and the most advised by professionals in the field. It consists of rewarding your pet for having "good" behavior and ignoring any undesirable behaviors.
Positive reinforcement is enjoyable for dogs and improves their relationship with their trainer. It has been proven to be very successful, so make sure to give it a try.
What is the proper reward for your dog?
Of course, the dog treats come in here—the primary reward for good behavior that every animal craves. The only problem is that they tend to associate the act they perform not only with your words or hand signals but also with the following reward and are disappointed when the treat stops to follow. If your dog is like most dogs, they will probably cease to do whatever you want them to do.
This reward works well with food-motivated dogs who respond enthusiastically to edible treats. However, you should be aware of its implications for your pet's weight and health. If you are not cautious, your dog can get overweight for a while.
Some dogs are not so interested in food. If this is your pet’s case, there are other rewards you can try. Examples are verbal praise, such as saying "good dog!" in a pleasant tone, lots of affection, or a short play session with a beloved toy.
Why should you ignore “bad” behavior?
Ignoring unwanted behavior means not rewarding your dog for "wrong" actions. Consequently, your dog will most likely stop performing these behaviors.
The handler may unintentionally reinforce the behavior by getting angry or yelling when he reacts to “bad” behavior. This is because his reaction is perceived as attention by the dog. Thus, to stop a behavior, the most effective thing to do is to ignore it.
What about punishment practices?
Training methods that include punishment can worsen undesirable behavior and lead to violent actions. Science findings show that negative reinforcement and positive punishment slow the dog's progress since they harm their confidence and relationship with the trainer. These aversive practices lead to dogs giving up on attempting new things and to higher levels of stress and anxiety in dogs.
Please, do not employ punishment practices. These should not be used in training programs.
- Clicker training
This method is based on the same principles of positive reinforcement and is sometimes classified as a technique of positive reinforcement rather than a training method.
As the name suggests, it relies on a device, such as a clicker or a whistle, to make a quick and sharp noise when your pet accomplishes a desirable behavior.
The primary benefit is that it allows communicating the precise moment when the wanted behavior is finished and what exactly is being rewarded. Handlers can use the clicker to form new behaviors and introduce verbal commands.
In general terms, this is how clicker training works:
- The dog realizes that a click means that he is getting a reward.
- The dog associates the wanted behavior with the click and the reward.
- A verbal command can be added to shape a new association.
This method is applied by many professional trainers and can be incredibly effective. However, this method is more successful when teaching new tricks than reducing undesirable behaviors.
- Mirror Training
The model-rival or mirror training offers an example of wanted behavior or a rival competing for resources. It is based on the idea that dogs learn by observation and, therefore, imitate the observed behaviors.
The trainer may get a human to be the model, and this model can act in two distinct ways:
- The trainer will praise or reprimand as an example of wanted or unwanted behavior. In this case, the dog will observe and learn what to do by example.
- As a rival, by competing to do the right action for a reward. This encourages dogs to do the task and to do it faster than their rival.
When the dog performs "good" behavior, he will be rewarded. This training method has success levels similar to positive reinforcement. You might prefer it if your dog spends plenty of time observing and following you.
- Relationship-Based Training
This type of training is centered around a more personalized approach for dogs and humans and merges several training methods. The core of this method is the relationship between the dog and the handler.
Need clarification on this method? Let us simplify:
Relationship-based training is all about mutual benefits. It seeks to meet your and your dog's needs, enhance communication, and strengthen your bond. It also includes many elements of other effective methods.
It leads to a profound and meaningful relationship with your dog but requires lots of time and patience:
- You must read your dog’s body language, know the most appreciated rewards, and understand how to meet your pet’s needs before every training session.
- The environment in these sessions must be controlled to restrict the possibility of undesirable behaviors. For example, they should occur in a quiet room before evolving into a noisy park. This means that the difficulty levels for your dog should progressively grow.
- When your dog does not accomplish the wanted behavior, you should make an effort to understand the reasons behind it. Is your dog distracted? Hurt? Reluctant to perform? Incapable of hearing?
No matter what dog obedience training method you choose to use, we are confident that the bond between you and your dog will increasingly improve as a result!
Dog Obedience Training Tips
Be consistent. Consistency is necessary for dogs to learn new habits. You and everyone in your household must have consistent behaviors toward your dog. This includes the words and voice tone you use when instructing your pet to do something and that everyone is on the same page. For example, your dog will get confused if you do not allow something, such as getting into your bed, and your partner does.
Have regular and short training sessions. This is far more effective than longer training sessions. Your training sessions should last 5 minutes and be spread across the day so your dog can stay energized and focused.
- Have your training sessions in multiple locations. It is helpful to repeat training sessions in different places with different people and levels of distraction to make sure your dog answers correctly to your command at all times.
Develop through stages. Try to break behaviors into smaller parts. For example, if training the command "come,” reward your dog when taking at least one step in your direction. This is particularly helpful when it comes to complex behaviors, such as "stay" or behavior modification (trying to eliminate undesirable practices).
- Make training an enjoyable experience. Training must be fun for you and your dog. Add quick play sessions into your training sessions to make them more fun.
- Admire the little achievements. It is easy to focus solely on the bottom goal of training; however, remember to celebrate and praise your dog for any slight improvement. This will help keep you both motivated and enthusiastic.
- Incorporate training into your routine. Making it a habit will make finding time for small training sessions much more effortless. For example, always ask your dog to sit before going for a walk.
- Use hand signals. Most dogs respond better to hand signs than verbal commands. Try to combine both or start with hand signals and then introduce the verbal command.
- Book puppy school classes. Puppy training constitutes a valuable form of socializing your puppy with other dogs. By joining these classes, your puppy will understand how to communicate appropriately with different dogs. Puppies undergo a critical socialization period from about 3 to 17 weeks. During this time, they should socialize with all aspects of the world, including diverse dogs and people.
This will be extremely helpful when the pup meets other dogs or people during walks. When puppies don't socialize properly, they can be hostile towards individuals or dogs who are different from the ones they know. Learn about some effective tips to take care of your new puppy.
- Enroll in dog training classes. Training classes are an excellent option for dogs no longer in the puppy stage. Also, if you struggle to teach your dog how to be obedient, entering training classes is one of the fastest ways of obtaining results. Before choosing a trainer, research to guarantee your dog is in good hands.