Training your dog can be a great way to build a strong bond between you and your companion. Knowing how to find the right balance between what your dog needs and what you need will make the experience better for both you and your companion. These guidelines will give you a great foundation to begin training your dog.
Before you jump into teaching your dog what’s expected of him/her, make sure they’re getting plenty of exercise. A dog that gets plenty of exercise will always be happier and easier to train. Restless energy will make it harder for your dog to focus on what you’re trying to teach them, which is a perfect recipe for bad training sessions. A tired dog is a happy dog, and they will be much more relaxed and much less likely to show bad behavior.
Finding a schedule for you and your dog will help streamline the training process. When your dog knows what to expect from the day, he/she can be excited about the right things like walking or feeding time. Structure will keep your dog calmer, and it will teach them not to worry about when it’s time for dinner, because they’ll know it’s your job to worry about things like food, visitors, walks, and playtime. A schedule will also continuously prove that you are the Alpha of the household – a very important dynamic for any dog owner. When establishing yourself as Alpha, it’s vital that you do so with confidence. Your dog will always be able to tell when you’re hesitant or unsure, so confidence and strength are key.
Consistency, with all members of the household, is another huge factor when it comes to training. Whether it’s commands or boundaries that are set for your dog, everyone needs to enforce the same rules and in the same way. If the people in the house are not consistent with training, your dog will be confused and act out or misbehave without even realizing it.
Always focus on positive reinforcement, rather than corrective training. If you can find the source of a dog’s misbehavior, it will be easier for you and your dog to change or prevent the cause than to explain a mistake through discipline. Keep in mind that your dog is a dog. They will make mistakes and forget their training in moments of excitement. Have patience, and don’t let your frustrations influence the training. The thing to remember with positive reinforcement is to not go too far. Many dogs are treated more like babies than actual dogs. Your companion will not understand their role in the house if they’re being babied. Teaching them how to be independent, even when you’re home together, will also teach your dog how to be confident in themselves instead of having to rely on you for reassurance.
Start right away:
Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, it is never too late to train. Starting training from day one will set the tone for your relationship with your dog. It will reinforce consistency and a schedule right away, and give your dog reassurance as they’ll know what to expect.
At the end of the day, your relationship with your companion will be entirely your own, and showing your dog their role will make for an easy companionship for as long as you’re together.