Training your dog is a very rewarding task, but it’s not always easy, and it certainly requires patience and good technique. Most commonly, you will train your dog with the basics when they are puppies, which needless to say can be a little hands on and require a patient and engaging approach. Dogs are very intelligent creatures, so you can train them to do all sorts of things. Whether you simply want to teach your dog basic skills and behaviours or are looking into more advanced training, quite often you will find that the same things apply throughout each process.
Keep things simple
Teaching your dog new commands can be difficult and confusing for them, and so it’s important to keep things as simple and easy as possible. For example, don’t over complicate phrases for certain commands, but instead try to keep each one to one word that is clear and easy for them to understand. It’s also important not to cross over command words. A common problem with this is telling your dog to “sit down” – we would advise just using “sit” as the command word, because “down” is often used when you are instructing your dog to lie down. Therefore, “sit down” is essentially two commands, which can confuse your dog and hinder their learning and ability to understand the training.
Furthermore, when asking them to do a particular behaviour, try to only say the command word once. This should eventually teach them to do that command whenever they are asked, on the first time. If you say the command word multiple times, this sometimes gives the dog freedom to only perform the behaviour at their own leisure, and not immediately.
Have you tried dog training classes?
Some people take their dogs to obedience classes where a teacher will help you with learning the basics and essentials of animal behaviour, and how to enforce these skills on your dogs. It provides a safe environment and also allows your dog to socialise with other dogs to encourage friendly and calm behaviour in outside situations.
Discourage jumping up
Training your dog doesn’t necessarily mean teaching them tricks and getting them to perform certain behaviours, but it also involves preventing them from doing things that they shouldn’t. One of the biggest problems, is jumping up. Dogs are incredibly friendly and social animals, and have a tendency to jump up at people when they are excited. Although this may not be a big deal to you, we would still recommend training them out of this habit. The best way to train them out of this habit, is to ignore them whenever they jump up. You could do this by turning away, or not reacting to their behaviour, or by saying a command word to encourage them to get down. Eventually, your dog will learn that this behaviour is not rewarded and should stop doing it.
Although it seems obvious, you should always reward your dog for good behaviour. This encourages them and lets them know that they have gotten the command right. Rewards are generally in the form of treats, however you could also reward your dog by giving them a toy to play with. It’s also important to give your dog a break and not make training sessions too intense. This can become difficult and your dog may get restless and distracted, and so regular intervals is a good way to ensure that they stay engaged.
Be patient and don’t give up
As we mentioned earlier, quite often when you teach basic skills and tricks, it is with a puppy. This requires extra patience, as these puppies are of course very young and not yet capable of adult behaviours and tend to be of a much more excitable and energetic temperament. You must train them at a realistic pace, that is easy to follow for both you and them and keeps your expectations in check. Furthermore, perseverance is key in dog training. You must be willing to stick with the training and keep teaching your dog to perform the correct behaviours.