Top Tips For Training Your Dog

training your dog
Photo by Angel Luciano

What are you going to teach, and how are you going to teach it?

Training Your Dog Tip One

When training your dog, try to look find ways to reward the correct behaviors or click here, rather than just punishing the wrong ones. Sometimes it may be best to ignore the wrong behavior, as in some cases the dog will only have made a mistake because you allowed it to, or never taught the exercise correctly in the first place. Find something other than yourself that your dog finds very rewarding, and where appropriate, use it in his training.Dog biting brown wood on road training your dog

Don’t forget that what you consider to be a good reward may not necessarily be something that your dog considers to be one, so use something that the dog has already demonstrated to be very important to him.

Training Your Dog Tip Two

NEVER test your dog by trying to make it do more than it is capable of doing, and then punishing it for getting the exercise wrong.

Training Your Dog Tip Three

Always show consideration to other members of the public when out with your dog. Not everyone is as fond of dogs as we are, and it is up to the responsible dog owners to show the non-dog owning public, the anti-dog lobby, and the irresponsible dog owners that we are not all bad. Also, remember to show consideration for other members of the dog training class if you attend one.

Not all the dogs in the class may want to be harassed by your dog, and by allowing your dog to investigate a dog that doesn’t want to be investigated, you may cause that dog to react badly, especially if that dog is only a puppy and your dog is much larger or very boisterous.

Training Your Dog Tip Four

One of the best ways to maintain or improve a relationship with your dog is through play. Play will encourage your dog to want to interact with YOU, instead of having to go to other dogs to have that kind of fun. You should then find that your dog becomes much more responsive, which will in turn make him easier to train. However, the games that you play and the way in which you play them are very important.
Make sure that having started to play with your dog, that you ALWAYS maintain control of the game, and that the game starts and stops when YOU want it to. As long as you control the game, you should be able to control the dog.

Training Your Dog Tip Five

Use a suitable toy. This may sound obvious, but too many dogs are injured by sticks damaging eyes or spiking throats, or becoming lodged in dog’s mouths. Small balls and stones often get swallowed, as do conkers, and they can make dogs very ill by fermenting in the dogs’ stomach. Remember, what you consider to be a toy, and what your dog considers to be a toy can be two very different things.

Training Your Dog Tip Six

If the dog isn’t enjoying the game that you are playing, then from the dogs’ point of view, IT IS NOT A GAME, so make it FUN.

Training Your Dog Tip Seven

If you are using a toy to teach a dog to come back, make sure that you do not throw the toy in the early stages of his training. This is especially important in places that have other dogs in them, as if the toy is thrown, the dog may well pick up the toy and take it with him to investigate the other dog. You will then have nothing with which to get the dog to come back.

Training Your Dog Tip Eight

What equipment do you need? Obviously, you will need to have a lead. It should be comfortable for you to hold, and preferably be made of nylon, leather, or rope. Most pet shops sell a selection. The lead will need to be at least three feet long. If you find that too long, you can attach the metal ring from a key ring onto the handle, and then clip the lead to the ring, which will effectively half the lead length.

Extending leads are not very suitable for normal heelwork training, but can be useful in helping teach a dog to come when it is called, so if you normally use one, bring it along as well as your normal lead.Chain leads can snap quite easily, and if wrapped around the hand can cause serious injury, so should be avoided. You can of course use a harness or a head collar if you wish. You will also need at least one suitable toy, as discussed earlier, and some of your dog’s favorite food treats.

Dogs generally prefer savory to sweet and will work harder for higher valued treats than they will for their dried food that they are given a whole bowl full of every day. Favorites tend to be anything smelly, such as cheese, or bits of sausage, ham, or chicken. Ideally use several different types too, as you may find that the dog might reject some foods offered in a given situation in favor of others.Training your dog adult white and black american staffordshire terrier

Training Your Dog Tip Nine

How often should you practice? This depends on how much time you and your family have available, what exercise you are teaching, and how much you really want to improve. I can guarantee, however, that practicing once a week at training classes will NOT train your dog. All too often we hear owners say that they would like to practice more, but they ‘just don’t have the time’. I believe that it would be more accurate to say that they ‘are not prepared to make the time’. Most exercises should only be practiced for a few minutes each day.

Training Your Dog Tip Ten

Try to always finish each training session with a play session. That way the dog will come to associate work with a pleasant experience. Too many owners say that they can’t find the time to train their dog, but could tell me exactly what has happened in all the soap operas, or the latest football results, or who they bumped into in the pub.

So, these are my top tips for training your dog to be the dog your dog-owning friends with that they had. However, as with teaching children, what works for one dog will not always work for another. If you are having serious training or behavioral problems, it may be a good idea to get in a reputable behaviorist or trainer.
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