Basic Dog Training Tips You Wish You Knew Before

Responsible dog owners are always on the lookout for dog tips to help you out to improve your dog’s behavior and the level of control you (the owner) have over him. There are so many helpful tips for reading online that it can be overwhelming for some.

The best thing you can do is know where to start – and that means you need to understand exactly what your dog actually needs to learn in a training situation and how you can meet those needs.

One thing that needs to be made clear before starting any training is that some people mistakenly think of dogs that are much smarter than them. However, the reality is that dogs will only respond to you. He has an innate desire to be part of a group and wants you to accept it while showing his basic animal instincts ingrained in his brain.

So, if you want to deal with any negative behavior you may have, the best way to deal with this problem is to focus on how to change the way these instincts are expressed (not just scolding or yelling at them hoping to stop the unwanted behavior).

1. Use positive reinforcement techniques

Almost all vets agree that positive reinforcement training is the most effective method of dog training. Positive reinforcement training essentially focuses on rewarding your pet for good behavior, rather than punishing bad behavior.

Whenever your dog demonstrates good behavior and responds positively to your commands, reward them! By rewarding good behavior, you’re reinforcing the association between good behavior and good things.

It’s also important to make sure you’re not inadvertently rewarding unwanted behavior. For example, if your dog barks at you to play or jumps up to say hello, don’t acknowledge it or give in, as this just reinforces the bad behavior. Instead, wait until they’re calmer before giving them attention.

2. Find the right reward.

Some dogs are food-motivated, and will respond very enthusiastically to any sort of edible treat as a reward. Others are pickier: often, soft, chewy treats are preferred to hard, crunchy ones.

Some dogs, however, just aren’t that interested in food at all. If this is the case with your pup, try experimenting with other rewards, like a quick play session with a favorite toy, or even just plenty of affection.

3. Consistency is key.

Being consistent in your training is incredibly important. This includes consistency in how you’re training your dog—for example, always using the same word, and even the same kind of intonation, when asking them to do something.

Equally important is for everyone in your household to be on the same page. Dogs need consistency to learn new habits, so if you never let the dog on the couch, but your partner does, your pup will just end up confused.

4. Train little and often.

Short training sessions repeated throughout the day are much more effective than longer ones. The American Kennel Club recommends keeping sessions to five minutes maximum; any longer and your dog may become distracted or frustrated.

Dogs also often struggle to generalize commands to other places or situations (i.e., understanding that asking for a “sit” at home is the same thing as a “sit” on a busy street), so it’s useful to repeat your training sessions in multiple locations, with different people and with varying levels of distraction, so that your pup learns to respond correctly to the same command all the time.

5. Build up in stages.

Starting small can be helpful, particularly when it comes to more complex behaviors like “stay,” or with behavior modification (when you’re trying to get rid of unwanted behavior).

Try breaking behaviors down into smaller parts. For example, in the beginning, if you’re training “come,” praise and reward your dog when they take even one step towards you. It’s much easier to add on steps and build up to the whole behavior once your pup starts to get the hang of it.

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