Top Dog Training Tips for Beginners – TheDogTrainingLady
Whether you are a veteran or novice dog enthusiast, a well-behaved dog is any owner’s dream. Those that lack dog training can cause unsightly mishaps in any living space, depending on an owner’s lifestyle. However, you cannot expect a dog to behave well the moment you welcome them into your family. Although some can be friendly, others do tend to be aggressive. Many people fail to realize that dogs do have personalities which vary, similar to people. Both old and new dog owners need to be prepared when welcoming a new member of their family in many aspects, and recognizing the variety among dog personalities is a vital step to having an obedient dog in your life.
One thing to remember when taking care of a dog is that they are not human. Although they respond to the sound of your voice, they cannot understand your spoken words, and tend to be easily distracted. It takes lots of patience to be a dog owner as it is difficult to communicate across species: you often need to go the extra mile because you cannot ask them how their day was or what they would like to do. During dog training, this may mean that you have to repeat several actions for your dog to learn, as they may be stubborn at times. The key word to be successful in dog training is patience.
If you were to do your research, in the form of going to your local library or maybe online, you will see that there are many ways to train your dog. Each dog owner has their own preference on what method to use. One such method is positive training, wherein you offer a reward such as a treat every time your dog does something correctly. With this, your dog will learn that there is an up and coming reward for their proper behavior. Nevertheless, you need to deliver the reward immediately for this method to work or else your dog may not be able to associate it with the expected behavior. Your dog must learn to trust you, and in turn, you to trust them during the process of dog training. Positive training helps in achieving this goal.
The question now is, when should you start? Should it begin when your dog is several pounds heavy and is starting to make a mess of things? Similar to any problem (in this case, the problem being unruly dogs), prevention is the key. Before your dog makes a mess out of your living space, or whatever environment you place them in, it is best to teach them proper behavior at a very young age. A puppy has less experience in the world than a much older dog, and is thus easier to train.
Puppies, being relatively new to the world compared to their older counterparts, rely mostly on instinct when exploring their world. Thus, training them can be easier when you know how they learn in the presence of their own kind and teach them in a similar manner. In the wild, dogs and other related animals travel in close groups or packs where one is recognized as the leader. During dog training, you must establish that you are the pack leader, not them, and that you handle the resources that they need for their survival. Nevertheless, as a leader, you must learn to not only moderate feeding and other activities, but also be patient, calm and kind.
Now, the moment your dog enters your home for the first time, they are unfamiliar with their surroundings. As they adjust to your home, it’s best to let them begin to adjust to your rules as well. This way, training will be much easier since they have already been accustomed not only around your house, but around you as well. Would it be okay if your dog were to sit on the furniture? Is it okay if he slept on your favorite rug? Identifying your dog’s do’s and don’ts is identifying your starting point for training.
Timing not only applies to when you should train your dog, but to also how you train your dog. As this is a bit confusing, let me explain: dogs have a keen sense of hearing and tend rely on cue words to associate them with actions you prescribe to them. For example, for them to associate the word “sit” to the action, you must say it prior the dog’s sitting, and not when he/she is already sitting. Another example would be the association of “treat” with an actual treat: you say it when you have the treat ready for your dog to easily associate the word with the enjoyable treat. You need to be careful with timing everything right in dog training as they might have different associations during training thus learning differently from expected.
Now let’s say that you’re the kind of person who isn’t all that into adopting puppies, knowing that there are all these perfectly good dogs in the shelter. Obviously some can’t be as small as a puppy, but they’re still as loveable as one. If you’re a bit apprehensive when it comes to shelter dogs, do not worry: training them is very similar to training puppies! Yes, the dog may have already been through a lot, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t teach a dog new tricks. When you adopt a shelter dog, it may be a bit hesitant when you bring it into your home for the first time; but just like a puppy, it needs to adjust to its surroundings as well. And during this adjustment period, it is best to introduce them to your rules as well; similar to what you would do to a puppy.
There really is not a way to find out how much a shelter dog has gone through unless the shelter kept a record. It could have been the alpha male of his pack in his day: you need to establish a relationship with him to let him know that you’re the boss of the house. The inability to do so could very well lead to a dog being in charge of you, which means unruly behavior. Establishing this relationship could be quite difficult compared to that of a puppy’s, but nonetheless feasible.
Although some shelter dogs could have had it rough in their day, some could have once been part of loving homes but were placed in the shelter for some reason. Just like how you would treat a puppy, you need to be calm, kind, and most especially patient with a shelter dog. Albeit more difficult as they could have accustomed to different stimuli, dog training is roughly similar to how you would treat a puppy. Though a dog could often give you surprises such as unexpected tricks it learned in the past: once more, all you have to be is patient.
Having a dog is both a rewarding and tiring experience. The dog training that comes with it is not only for your pet: it also helps you to be a more responsible person. Just keep in mind that animals are not toys but also living creatures, so think and plan carefully before welcoming one into your home.
Till next time
Suzanne Dean, ABCDT
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