Dog training is our topic for January since January is National Train Your Dog Month. Training your pet can help ensure that their behaviors are primarily desirable ones. Dogs like to please their owners. Dog training will be hugely beneficial to help your dog live harmoniously alongside his human family. It will strengthen the bond between you and ensure his safety when out and about. Many dogs also find training to be a fun activity.
Dog Training Essentials
- Use positive reinforcement. Studies have shown that, as a general rule, positive reinforcement is the best method for dog training. Positive reinforcement means that you focus on rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. Whenever your dog behaves well and responds positively to your commands, reward them. By rewarding this good behavior, you reinforce the association between good behavior and good things.
- Find a good reward. Dogs crave love, attention, and affection from their human family. Rewarding their good behavior with these should make your pet happy and lead to successful training. You can occasionally use dog treats too.
- Be consistent. Being consistent in your training is incredibly important. Being consistent includes the manner you use to train your dog. For example, when asking them to do something, use the same commands and intonation as much as possible.
Watch that you do not inadvertently reward unwanted behavior. For example, if your dog is barking or jumping on you for attention, wait until they have calmed down before interacting with them.
- Keep everyone in the household on the same page. Equally important is for everyone in your household to be on the same page. If you never let the dog on the couch, but your partner does, your dog will end up confused and your training time wasted.
Keep Dog Training Fun
Dog training should always be fun, both for you and your dog. Always keep it positive, and try mixing things up to keep it interesting, such as incorporating short play sessions into your training in between repetitions. Positive training sessions will keep you and your dog in a good mood. It will also keep you motivated to continue to do more training with them.
There is a common misconception that dog training does not work on older dogs. That is not true. If you have an older dog, it may take a bit longer to learn a new trick or command, but it is certainly not impossible. The key to successfully training an older dog is much the same as any other dog: patience and positivity. When you keep your cool and keep it fun, you can train your dog in almost anything, regardless of their age.
Get Professional Help
If you are struggling with dog training, get professional help. There is a reason that seeing a professional dog trainer is generally the fastest and easiest way to improve your dog’s behavior. While this one-on-one help is highly effective, it can also be quite expensive.
Another option is to enroll them in a dog training class that you attend with them. Training in this manner can help lay a good foundation for you and your dog that makes it easier to continue on your own.
By following our dog training tips and keeping it fun, you should have minimal difficulty training your dog. But remember, you can always get professional help if you need it. For more information on training your dog, speak to your veterinarian, who may be able to direct you to local dog or puppy training classes. Contact us if you need some guidance or need any veterinary services.
Happy New Year!
Dr. Tammy Stevenson