Welcome to the world of dog training! Congratulations on taking this important first step to having an obedient, well-behaved dog. Here are some dog training tips that you can use in every session you have with your dog. These tips are also great to incorporate in your everyday interactions with your dog as well.
Things to Bring to a Training Session
Dog Training Tips
1. Always be positive
Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement. Once you learn what motivates your dog, whether it be food or treats or belly rubs, use that to entice him to perform commands. When he performs a command correctly, make sure you always praise him. Not only do dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, they have an uncanny sense of our emotions. They can tell if we are getting frustrated.
2. Be Patient
Sometimes it can take your dog awhile to pick up on a new command. Sometimes your dog is so excited to see the treats that they won’t settle down long enough to listen to you. Remember to stay patient with him. Let him solve the problem of figuring out what you want with the newer command. Wait for him to settle down if he is hyper.
3. Break down new commands into small steps
I’ll use an example for this: imagine you are trying to teach your dog to roll over. If you think about it, there are two things that must happen for him to roll over: he must lie down, then roll over. You can break that down even further and say before he learned to lie down, he learned to sit. So essentially there are three steps in the break-down of rolling over. When learning this command, you make him sit, then lie down, then roll over.
This tip is essentially saying not to let your dog start bad habits. If you reward him for lying down when you specifically command him to sit, he will think he is performing the correct command.
5. Always mark the correct behavior using a Clicker or a marking word
When your dog does what you want him to, mark the behavior with a Clicker to let him know he’s done the correct command. If you don’t have a Clicker, use a marking word such as “Yes” or “Okay.” The moment after you click, you reward your dog with a treat.
6. Keep sessions short. Shoot for somewhere between 10-20 minutes in duration.
If you are trying to make your dog focus on training for longer than 20 minutes, they will start to get tired and frustrated. If they get frustrated, they will start to associate training sessions with bad things. You always want them to be wanting more at the end of the session.
7. Be Consistent!
This is extremely challenging to do… however if you are able to stay consistent in your training techniques, your dog will undoubtedly respond well. If you use hand signals, write them down so you will remember which you used. This tip can also come in handy when on walks.
8. Always end training sessions with a game
To further reinforce the fact that training sessions are fun, you should always try to end with a game. Personally, I always play fetch with my girls when we finish a session. Not only does it reinforce the fun, it is a consistent way to let them know we are done training.
Training Should Be Fun!
Have fun while training with your dog and you’ll be fine. Starting training for the first time seems daunting, but keep in mind that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Make a list of commands you want your dog to learn and start small. Stay consistent and everything will work out.
If you need any additional tips or tricks, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help!