A dog provides unconditional love and friendship to a caring owner. A well-trained dog increases your pleasure and satisfaction ten times over, as compared to an untrained dog. Studies have shown that a well-trained dog is a happier and more content animal than one who is not. I have been training dogs for more than 25 years and my objective is always to have a pet that is happy and who I can control in any situation including coming in contact with children or other animals. I have been successful in accomplishing this with absolutely no cruelty and without breaking a dog’s spirit. When proper training techniques are employed, you will be surprised how quickly a dog will learn to follow your commands. The following are examples of some great dog training techniques you can use to teach your dog some basic obedience skills:
The Sit Command –
This is the most common and basic command to teach your dog and probably should be the first thing you teach him. Using a treat as a reward for good behavior works well for most training. You will need a leash attached to your dog’s collar to hold him steady. Show your dog a treat that you have in your hand and hold it over his head causing him to look up, and then say “Sit”. Sometimes, just by holding the treat over his head your dog will automatically sit. If he does not sit, place your other hand on your dog’s rear and gently press down saying “Sit”. Once he does sit, reward him immediately with the treat and praise him by saying “Good Boy” in a happy voice and pet him vigorously showing him you are pleased with his response to your “Sit” command. It’s important to reward him immediately after he responds correctly, so he knows why he is receiving the reward.
The Lie Down Command –
Once your dog has mastered the sit command, you can progress to the “Lie Down” command. A treat is also used to accomplish this. First ask your dog to “Sit”. Do not give him a treat for sitting. While he is in the sitting position you should have a treat in your hand and hold it in front of him, very close to the floor and say “Lie Down”. If necessary place your other hand on your dogs shoulders and gently press down until your dog lies down or give him a gentle tug downward on his leash. Once your dog lies down, reward him immediately with a treat and say “Good Boy” in a happy voice and pet him vigorously showing him you are pleased with his response to your “Lie Down” command. The tone of your voice is important to let your pet know you are pleased with his response to your command.
Stay Command –
The “Stay” command is a little more challenging than the Sit and Lie Down Commands. It is important to choose the appropriate time during the day to begin working with your dog on the “Stay” command. Knowing your own dog and recognizing when he is displaying a relaxed or mellow temperament is important. You do not want to begin this training when your dog is excited or overly playful. As with the previous training commands, it is useful to use a treat when teaching the “Stay” command. To start this training give your dog the sit or lie down command. Once he is sitting or lying down say “Stay” and hold your hand up as if you were signaling someone to stop. If the dog does not move for 4 or 5 seconds, give him a treat and say “Good Boy” and pet him. Only give him praise if he stays for the 4 or 5 seconds. If he does not obey your command, try again. Once he gets the idea, increase the amount of time he must “Stay” before you give him praise. You may have to repeat the “Stay” command a few times and put your hand in a stop position to encourage him to stay. As he begins to understand, give him the “Stay” command and slowly back away a few feet, gradually increasing the distance until he masters the “Stay” command. Remember, it is important to be patient with your dog when training. If training is not successful today, just try again on another day. Patience and persistence is always rewarded.
Employ Traditional Training Techniques –
When I talk about “Traditional” training techniques, I am referring to a few basic techniques that are important in training your dog.
– The first and most importance is patience. You need to be patient with your dog when teaching him new things. As with people, different dogs learn at different rates of speed. If your dog is not catching on to a new command, be patient! Do not yell or bully your dog. Sometimes it’s better to stop training and begin again another day.
– Voice inflection is another very important part of training your dog. I refer to this as speaking in a “Happy Voice” to reward your dog when he responds to your command correctly. This means talking is a slightly higher pitched tone and slightly louder/excited manner than you would normal speak.
– Using dog treats is another common or traditional way of training your dog. Although treats are useful in the initial training of a command, you don’t want to have to carry a pocket full of treats with you at all times in order for your dog to obey your commands. You need to gradually eliminate the treats once your dog has mastered a new command and replace it with a “Good Boy” and energetic petting.
-It is important that everyone in your family use the exact same commands so your dog does not become confused on what is being asked of him e.g. “lie down” vs. “down”. It doesn’t matter what the command is, as long as everyone is using the same command.
– Finally, you need to make your training sessions fun for your dog. He should associate a training session with having fun. So, after a training session you should play with your dog for ten or fifteen minutes making the session enjoyable for both you and your dog.
Having a well-trained dog is one of life’s joys.