When you have a dog that is well mannered and obeys your commands, life is much easier and happier for everyone. You don’t worry about him jumping on friends and visitors. Your dog understand what the expectations are and HOW to meet them, he views you as his leader and you in turn have a well mannered, well balanced, happy, happy dog. Everyone wins!
If your dog still needs training, what are you waiting for? There’s still time to edit your list of New Year’s resolutions to include “train the dog.” But if you have a new puppy, haven’t tried to train your dog before or don’t know where to start, it can seem impossible to get your dog to understand and do what you want. So if you are just starting out, here are some easy to follow suggestions to help you get started training your dog:
- Be consistent. Training your dog to perform a specific behavior one day, then the next day allowing him to do as he pleases is being inconsistent and confuses your dog. Train for 5-10 minutes each day, the same way you trained the day before, using the same hand signals and the same words.
- Give praise and an occasional treat. When you ask your dog to perform a behavior such as a sit, the minute his butt hits the ground you say in a happy voice Good Boy. If you want you may then give a treat. If you wait more than 1.0 to 1.5 seconds after his butt hits the ground to praise, your dog is clueless as to what the praise is associated with.
- Always use the exact same words to request a command. If you are teaching your dog to come to you and you use the word come then always use the word come, and all family members must use the same word. If you use come and another family member uses here—you are again being inconsistent.
- Be patient. You will have times when your dog has learned a command, the next day you ask for the behavior and he looks at you as if you are speaking a foreign language. Try a couple more times, if again, he doesn’t do it, stop for the day and pick back up tomorrow. Dogs will sometimes do that. There is a saying that goes, your dog has not truly learned a command until he has learned the command, forgotten it, then learned it again.
- Don’t try to teach too many commands at once. Get one mastered before venturing on to the next one.
- Very important – dogs learn in context. This simply means if you teach your dog to sit in your den, that’s where you dog will sit—not in the kitchen. He hasn’t learned sit in the kitchen. Point being, you have to teach your dog the command in different areas.
Good luck and remember, be as comfortable with the trainer of your dog as the you are with the teacher of your children. “Opportunity Barks!”