Does the following sound familiar? “It is difficult teaching my dog tricks/to listen/to obey.” Do not be alarmed. Certain dogs learn quicker than others, while there may be a number of things you could to make the learning experience so much easier. We call them, dog training secrets!
*Disclaimer: The overall training process should be done by people who know what they are doing. If you want to train your puppy on your own, you should be well informed before you begin. The following online program will teach you a ton of useful methods, and we highly recommend it. It’s the training method we use for our own puppies as well.
If you like, you can get the cheat sheet of this post here. Thanks!
Dogs notorious for their ‘slowness” are breeds such as the Beagle, the Afghan, the Bloodhound, the Bulldog, the Chow Chow, and the Borzoi. These careful, considerate dog breeds prefer making absolutely sure of your intention with your instruction before acting on it. Besides this, their obstinate, calculating personality ensures they test you before committing themselves. These dogs reek of ‘alpha’.
The easiest dog breeds to train include the German Shepherd, Poodle, Border Collie, Labrador Retriever, Papillon, and Shetland Sheepdog, and Doberman. They aim to please and love ‘working’. They need to feel useful.
But even the most stubborn dog is trainable, all it takes is a bit of patience and a few tricks up your sleeve!
The biggest secret to dog training
The biggest secret to training your dog? There is no secret! Do’s and do not’s? Yes! How to do’s and how not to do’s? Also yes. Doing things correctly ensures a happy, well-behaved dog. The real secret happens to be doing things right.
Real dog trainers understand dogs each have their own personality. They also understand that different breeds have different characteristics and behaviors, but that all dogs learn in the same way, i.e. either through fear, or reward.
Teaching a dog using fear results in a seriously damaged, maladjusted dog. Using reward, however, as a teaching tool, ensures an eager, friendly dog just dying to do your bidding. The reward could be in the form of treats or in the form of tons of love and encouragement, or a combination of both.
What not to do when training a dog
- Do NOT use a shock collar on your dog for whatever reason. Dogs bark for many reasons, such as in warning that danger is approaching, to alert you to something, or to communicate with each other. A shock administered when he barks is extremely painful. It has two possible consequences: he either stops making any sound at all, or he barks through the pain as a form of alerting you to the fact he is hurting. Essentially, shock collars are torture devices. Does a shock collar make sense to you?
- Physical force is not okay! Hitting, kicking, pushing, or any other form of physical force does not train your dog to do anything. It does, however, teach him to obey due to fear. Fear, however, does not equate respect, and most importantly, love.
- Yelling and screaming does not work! Dogs are sensitive, and read your every mood. It makes for an unstable dog, prone to developing other bad behavior traits. Besides this, screaming mimics a dog’s barking. If human barks, why can he not bark too?
- Do not believe you cannot train an older dog. Dogs, like humans, learn new things all the time!
Dog training tips every dog owner should know
- The sit command
The sit command is an easy, basic command that lays the foundation for other commands. Hold a treat and make sure your pet sees it. His eyes follow your hand upwards, and he automatically sits. Once sitting, give him his treat and show your appreciation by means of lavish affection and praise. Once he is used to the command, try it without the treat, using your finger instead. Follow up with the same lavish love, praise and affection.
- The ‘come’ command
The aim with the ‘come’ command is that your dog needs to associate it with moving either with or towards you. This is essential in different situations. If out with your dog and there is the possibility of attack, you might need him to come to you instead of getting involved in a fight.
There are a number of ways of teaching the ‘come’ command. The first is on a leash. When putting him on a leash, allow him to sit, then give the come command and start walking. Reward him for his good behavior.
When outside, use the command to call him to you and offer him a treat. Soon the ‘come’ command becomes associated with a pleasurable experience. Always remember the most important part, i.e. love, and affection. You do not always have treats handy.
- The ‘stay’ command
Training your dog to stay is the most difficult of the basic commands but a very handy one. Imagine a situation where you need him to stay, for example where you do not want him running outside when you go answer the door. If he knows he needs to stay, it makes life easier.
Start with what he knows. If he knows the sit command, use it. Tell him to sit and once sitting, tell him to stay. Keep your hand in front of you, palm stretched and downwards. Praise and reward him even if he holds the position only for a few seconds. The time duration of the position increases as you practice. Do not try to force the issue.
These three basic positions lead the way to ever-increasing difficult ones but make the learning process easier. A few things need mentioning with regards to training of any sort.
A few points to remember
- Start your training as soon as he arrives in his new home.
- Keep training sessions short.
- Give him treats and lots of positive attention as his reward.
- Stay positive. Rome was not built in a day.
- No dog is stupid. They learn at their own pace.
- Don’t train your dog when he is tired or after a meal.
- If you give respect, you receive respect.
A man’s best friend needs teaching as does a child. He does not come to you knowing all the rules but relies on you to teach him what is acceptable and what is not so that he becomes a confident and loved member of the family.
Training needs consistency, dedication, and patience. In return, you receive a companion, protector, and wonderful friend.
Before you go start training your next superhero, take a look at this relative video: