Tips and Tricks for Do-It-Yourself Obedience Dog Training

Buying or adopting a dog are two of the most exciting things you or your family will ever do. There’s nothing like the feeling of bringing a dog home into your house or to meet your family for the first time.

 However, this new excitement tends to wane when a pillow is torn up or a mess is made on the floor. Smart pet owners train their dogs in the ways of obedience so they act more calm and controlled. If you need to train a dog, here are six tips and tricks to aid in the process. 

Start Early 

Whether you’ve adopted a week-old puppy or a five-year-old dog, you should start obedience training as soon as possible. Your new dog will learn your idiosyncrasies earlier this way and will be more likely to behave later on if you start it on a regiment of training earlier.

 If you’ve adopted an adult dog, you can take some time to learn what your dog already knows and areas of improvement it needs. This is just fine, but may take a bit more patience! Ask your shelter or adoption agency for this information; they won’t always have it, but if they do, it can save you weeks or months of unnecessary and redundant training. 

Starting early helps your dog train both its body and mind in a timely, more effective manner. It is always easier to teach good behaviors than to unlearn poor behaviors that your dog takes to naturally!

Remember Your Patience

It would be easy to have your new fur friend ready to obey every command right away…  but where is the fun in that 🙂

Training your dog will take a fair amount of time and patience. Dogs are erratic and have trouble focusing most of the time, but a healthy dose of love and patience will bring their attention back to you! 

 It will be easy to get angry at your dog if they don’t obey you the first time, but a short temper and flare-ups won’t help anything in this situation. In addition, your dog will feel safer and more trusting if you don’t yell or scold them outside the realm of reason.

 Keeping your relationship with your dog positive is incredibly important in the training process. Trust is the basis of training! And it always helps to consider how well you would learn if someone constantly scolded you for mistakes you were unaware of.

Always Use Treats

Dogs will do anything for food, and you can use this natural instinct to your advantage!

If you have an ample number of treats in your pocket, you can feed your dog a steady supply of treats to keep them happy and focused. 

Pavlovian training also works well, which is a process wherein you reward your dogs with treats after they perform a desired behavior. You should keep these treats by you at all times because you never know when you need to reward your dog.

Try this when training:

– Keep an eye out for your dog displaying behaviors intuitively like sitting or laying down and do not be afraid to give them a treat for it! While it is possible to overfeed your dog, you don’t need to worry about this when giving it the occasional positive reinforcement. 

Always Reinforce

Speaking of reinforcement, the number one way to train your dog is to reinforce the behaviors you want while punishing those you don’t. Modern dog training is based around the principle of reinforcement, usually Pavlovian in nature.

Your dog can never get enough positive reinforcement when training; whenever it performs an action or demonstrates a behavior that you would like to be repeated, you should show positive encouragement of that behavior. This doesn’t always have to be through the use of treats; you can pet your dog and give it verbal words of encouragement as well. A simple “good boy” or “good girl” will go a long way! Just let them know you still love them even when they mess up!

Training Should be Fun 

While training is serious business for you and your dog, it doesn’t have to feel serious. You can engage your dog more easily and frequently by making the training sessions for both you and your dog fun to participate in. Utilizing learning games and going outside frequently is a great way to make training fun for both of you. Fun can be some of the best medicine!

Many of the top dog trainers in the industry today, including Susan Garrett and Emily Larlham, recommend acting like the obedience training is simply another way to bond and play with your dog in a fun and laidback manner! Treat it all as play and your dog will respond much better! 

The atmosphere and techniques you use don’t have to feel like they’re from an old, stuffy school. You can make the training sessions as fun as you want! 

Training for the Vet

Training your dog doesn’t just include training for your home. One of the most important elements of training your dog is teaching it to behave outside and in public; to keep your pupper healthy, you will have to train them to behave properly at the vet’s office. 

Helping your dog relax and not fear the vet will ease its anxiety. It will also be a great help to your vet when checking up on your dog’s health!

Many vets have what are called “happy visits” to help your dog associate the vet with positive associations. During these visits, your dogs could be given treats and other positive reinforcements. Check with your vet to see if this is a possibility!  If you can train your dog in an anxiety inducing environment, then at home when it is calm will be infinitely easier for obedience training! 

To learn and do more about creating a happier, healthier life for your pup check us out at www.barkworthies.com 

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