Training your dog can sometime be a frustrating experience for both dog and owner. Sometimes taking a step back and gaining a different perspective helps. So before you even begin to train your dog here are 5 quick points that will help you get the best results from your dog from the get go. Be aware of your surroundings and the animals: If you have taken your pet to a new place, are trying to teach them something in a park where they haven’t been before or where there are lots of new people then chances are you aren’t going to have that dog’s full attention. If you want to be able to train your dog its best to remove distractions first, whether that’s people or the place. Training in the home is a good idea in the beginning. Also simply letting your dog have a smell and explore of the new place they're in before you try to start training will work well. This will allow the dog to relax, get used to the space and it will make getting their attention a lot easier for you.
Think like a dog: If you are trying to train your dog its always a good idea to think about the experience from the dog’s perspective. Would you respond well if someone was yelling at you? Would you like having the same word said to you with no explanation of what you needed to do? Would you want to do the same thing over and over for 20-30mins? If you answered no to all these questions…and really why would you answer yes. Then the next time you try to teach your dog something remember: a short 10-15 min sessions a day will work A LOT better than a super long one.
Praise and reward work best for training: Praising your dog for doing something right or giving them a treat for correct behaviour will be better served than getting angry at bad behaviour. Just remember, your dog isn’t trying to make you angry, they just simply don’t understand what you are asking of them. Getting angry at them doesn’t help the situation, it just confuses them. Better to reward then when they do the right thing and ignore them when they don’t. They’re a bit like children. They WANT your attention and WILL do the right thing with consistent training.
Remember, your dog LOVES you and WANTS to please you. A simple “good boy” in an affectionate tone and a pat will go a long way in getting your dog to do what you want.
Be conscious of what you are asking them to do: If you dog is standing on a cold tile floor chances are they wont want to sit when you ask them too. Would you like to plonk your butt down on cold furniture? Also tiles can be slippery. When the dog is standing it has control but when you ask it to sit its paws are likely to slip out from underneath them. This makes them feel less secure, as it would you, and makes them less likely to respond to your command. So take a second before your training session to see whether its a suitable area for your dog to stand and sit comfortably for a period of time.
Be consistent: If there is more than one person in the household it’s a good idea to get everyone on the same page regarding training. It’s very hard for a dog to understand what’s right and what’s wrong when he’s getting different answers from everyone. If you each have a different word for the same command i.e. "drop" or "down" when you want him to lay down then your dog is just going to be confused and NEVER respond to your commands consistently.
The same can be said for behaviour. If one person in the house allows the dog to sit on the lounge but another person doesn't, this is also a recipe for unhappiness in the house for both you and the dog. So, get everyone in the family on the same page in regards to command words and behaviour. That means if he’s not allowed to sit on the lounge then ALL OF YOU have to reinforce it, no matter how cute he looks.
I hope these pointers help you and your dog in your next training session and remember HAVE FUN! :)