If you insist, most dog owners (or dog parents) love their four-legged companion. However, if your dog hasn’t been trained for specific situations, their behavior can cause a lot of embarrassment at the very least. In addition, it can become a cause for concern for you and distress for others.
Simple instructions like sitting, coming, or going to their crate and going for potty outside can be a good start in your training.
Good training will help your dog to socialize with humans. Training a dog may seem overpowering at first. But the fact is every beginner can and needs to invest in this process at some point in time.
If you feel the task is a steep mountain to climb, don’t be afraid; here is the information you’re looking for.
• Methods of training
There are two methods commonly used for training a dog.
The first is the aversion-based method. This method puts the focus on discipline. This kind of training uses’ positive punishments’ and ‘negative reinforcements’ as underlying techniques.
The second one is the reward-based method. It consciously rewards only those behaviors that you want your dog to portray.
Aversion-based training involves using loud noises, physical corrections of postures, and some harsh scoldings.
On the other hand, reward-based training deliberately hands out rewards whenever your dog does something according to your training. Treats like fresh dog food, rubbing their bellies, or other comforting actions are repeatedly used to highlight the good behavior.
There’s no right or wrong way about these. Pick what you think suits you and your dog better.
• Learning with them
Dogs have more in common with little kids than proper adults. Their intelligence is close to two-year-old human babies.
All they care about is the immediate consequences. But as they grow, they begin to understand particular words you’d use to refer to. Some very intelligent breeds can learn as many as 250 words.
And yet, every dog you’ll ever see responds better to the tone of voice rather than some proper words.
You can develop three types of intelligence in your dog: instinctive, adaptive, and obedience.
The best method for gaining obedience is training them in a rewards-centric approach. Give them treats, praise, and boundless affection, and the obedience will come in an instant.
• Train them with style
There are different pieces of training you can master with your dog.
If you plan to keep the dog inside your house, and most of us do, you’ll need house training and/or crate training.
Crate training leads to acceptance and even enjoyment (may take some time, though) inside the crate. It will give them a place of their own.
House training includes potty training and getting them to know the house to feel safe and happy inside.
You may opt for leashes when you’re outside with your dog. Leash training comes in handy in keeping them safe. First, you’d have to teach your pup to walk on the leash, in front of or beside you. A loose leash walk is preferred because it prevents the dog from pulling or lunging.
If you’d like long walks with your beloved dog, some socialization training won’t go amiss. This lets your puppy or adult dog accept new people and new animals. There’ll be no chance for any fear or phobia to creep in by exposing him to these things.
And then, there’s Clicker training. It’s a very common instrument for positive reinforcement. It’s not mandatory, but many people find it helpful. Clicker training lets you teach advanced and complex commands.
Advanced training includes:
• Training them to ignore other dogs.
• Training them not to run away.
• Training them not to jump on any random person.
• Let there be some fun
First things first. Basics.
Some commands are essential to their training, like sit, down, stay, come, don’t touch, etc. These commands provide an interactive structural framework. They also help overcome common behavioral problems and give them a safety net.
After these are done, there comes the fun part. Dogs can acquire quickly and learn many cool tricks like kissing, hugging, barking on command, shaking hands, fetching, rolling over, playing dead, and standing on hind legs.
But remember, don’t make them learn the tricks just for your amusement. Instead, they should voluntarily participate in them, rather than being the clown for you.
• Proofing is a go-go
Proofing is the last step of dog training in any method. Proofing behaviors makes your dog more adaptable. So he/she won’t get all jittery and anxious at the park or a friend’s house.
Proofing is repeated practice of the same behaviors, but in varying situations, with changing levels of distraction. Proofing makes your dog stable in behavior. After proofing them well, they’ll act all the same in your living room and outside.
You should teach your dog self-control. But unfortunately, this method provides them nothing for free. Instead, it earns them things like food, attention, and affection.
Behavioral problems may crop up even after proofing. So you need to learn to troubleshoot common dog behavior problems. Behavior management is an integral part of a dog training program, whichever you may follow.
Training your dog strengthens the bond between you two further, but it also instills some basic disciplines. They make the dogs more adaptable.
You get the control to manage your dog in difficult or different situations. And your dog gets the tools to incorporate socializing and learning new things on his/her own.
And don’t forget all those cool tricks that you show off. They will force a smile on everybody. Such joy is no small earning!