Dog Obedience Training 101
In particular, training your dog might be a little daunting if you’re new to pet ownership. No matter how long you’ve had a dog or how many dogs you’ve had, you can be sure that obedience training requires the same key things: effort, patience, and consistency.
Taking your dog to an obedience school can be a fun experience. A DIY approach can be a fun (and effective) replacement when professionally run programs are out of your budget. Start by carrying out these seven easy steps.
1. OBTAIN VET APPROVAL
Before you start your obedience-training adventures, speak with a veterinarian who has previously treated your dog. Breed-specific advice for training your dog may be available from the vet. If your dog was rescued, has a health condition, or has anxiety, your approach to obedience training may need to be modified. Ensure you acquire the information from a professional before proceeding to the next step.
2. Invest in the appropriate tools.
You don’t need to invest much money to train your dog. You do need to start with the right materials, though. Your toolkit for training dogs should include the following items:
A short leash If you teach your dog to behave well while walking on a short leash, it will be much easier for you both (four feet or less). Once you’ve mastered the fundamentals, you can move to more complex training on a longer leash.
Small, wholesome dog treats Small-batch cereal-sized snacks to a cheese stick that has been broken up can all be included. Make sure your goal is to use bite-sized, easily digestible treats that won’t overwhelm or exhaust your dog before you finish your obedience training sessions.
At least one reward for activity or participation you can reward your dog after a productive training session by playing a game of tug-of-war, engaging in some fetch, or giving him a chew toy stuffed with peanut butter.
3. BEGIN WITH SIMPLE COMMANDS.
Despite your desire to prove your closest friend’s greater intelligence, save the sophisticated stuff for later. The four most basic commands to teach your dog to follow are “Come,” “Sit,” “Heel,” and “Stay.” These words are perfect building blocks for you and your dog to communicate with one another.
The command “Come” is a great place to start for two reasons. Your dog will be more secure when playing outside and spending time off-leash after he masters the command to come to you. Second, your dog typically comes over to greet you regularly throughout the day, so they might not need much coaxing.
The next time your dog rushes up to you, act as though it was your idea. Declare their name, wait for a beat, and then command them to come. Give your dog a treat for “responding,” then take a step back and repeat the command to see if they will do so. Your dog will most likely quickly realize that obedience is rewarded. To prevent misunderstanding, focus on mastering one command at a time.
Once your dog has a fundamental knowledge of obedience, teaching them new instructions will be much easier. Start training your dog to “sit” by saying the command before placing it in a sitting position. Give them a treat as an incentive for their “obedience” and make an effort to persuade them to repeat the behaviour.
When teaching your dog to heel, whether a puppy or an adult, use small prizes as an incentive to stay by your side. Move “Heel!” and your dog’s name as you go from one side of a small room to the other with your dog at your side. Tell your dog to “Sit!” as soon as you get to your destination, and give them their tasty treat. Repeat the process until your dog can follow it.
4. Make it clear who is in charge.
In the animal realm, dogs communicate using the predominant language. When you are training your dog, obedience commands do not require embarrassing, punishing, or attempting to dominate him physically. Negative reinforcement is never a good way to train a puppy or an adult dog, and it can make dogs nervous or destructive.
Instead, turn to face your dog when you give a command. Keep looking at the person until the command is followed. Small psychological signs of dominance include starting daily family walks as a “pack,” eating before your dog does, speaking from a higher position while giving instructions (never stooping when teaching obedience), and walking your dog behind you in confined situations.
5. BE CONSISTENT
Breaking up an obedience training session could be tempting, so you can play with and chase your dog. But it sends the message that obedience training is not necessary. Remember that your dog is following you and will respond to your cues if you do. Make an effort to train your dog twice daily for intervals of 15 minutes, and be sure to schedule your training sessions for the same time each day.
6. INSTALL CONFIDENCE
Although it is a continuous process, obedience training is not irreversible. Its objective is to strengthen your bond with your dog and promote candid communication between pet owners and their animals. Positive reinforcement can help your dog progress more quickly if they sense you are having fun together.
Offer your dog small, wholesome nibbles to help him focus during training sessions. At the end of each lesson, engage in free-play activities like tug-of-war or fetch. When your dog does something great, like learning a new command or walking the whole way without pulling on the leash, please give them a special treat or a new toy as a reward.
7. Make your home and yard dog-proof.
Unlike mastering a new skill, obedience training has a small learning curve. You don’t have to give up having a stylishly decorated home and a lush, healthy lawn during the obedience training.
You can do a little bit of proofreading in the interim. Keep shoes, handbags, and other possessions out of the dog’s reach while you have your dog alone. Roll up carpets and move to throw blankets and cushions that could become the objects of anxious behaviour, such as biting and scratching, until your dog understands your expectations.
Teaching your basic dog commands like sit, heel, and lie down may take a few weeks. However, adding new cues will be less difficult after your fluffy friend has mastered the foundations. The first time your dog obeys you without coaxing, you’ll feel like the Dog Whisperer himself. Therefore, it’s important to stick with obedience training even if it takes some time.