Treats are not the mainstay for rewarding your pet when training. Dogs will learn that if you give them a treat for a response they should expect it always. This is not necessary and should be reserved for occasional rewards. Dogs see loving, physical contact as a reward as well and will enjoy it much more than a treat that is gone in a split second.
Negative methods of training your dog don’t work. Just as with humans, positive reinforcement of behaviors is much more effective. Use praise, treats and play time to show your dog that you are pleased with their performance. If he cannot do what you are asking him, do not punish him or yell at him. He will associate trying to do the task with negativity and will avoid the task even harder the next time.
Your body language is an important tool that will help you as you begin training your dog. Even more than words, the way you act tells your dog a lot about what you want. Stop talking as much and start showing your animal what behaviors are important to you.
If your dog barks and growls at strangers in your home, do this: leash your dog, make him sit, wait until his attention is on you, and hand the leash, in full view of the dog, to your guest. Then wait until the dog is calm again, with the guest giving commands as needed. This teaches the dog that your guest ranks above him in “the pack” and he must accept them. When the dog starts to react again, repeat the exercise.
As your dog becomes increasingly more responsive to training, you can begin to give him more freedom. The spectrum of freedom and obedience gives your dog the happy life he deserves. However, don’t allow your dog to have too much freedom because this could negatively impact your training.
If your dog is not listening while you are doing dog training, make sure that the dog is not ill. There will be no benefits to punishing your animal if it is not feeling well, and it can have very detrimental effects afterwards. If you are unable to decide if the dog is sick then contact a veterinarian for assistance.
Learn to read your dog’s signals when training, so that you can see the difference between confusion and disobedience. A different response is required from you when your dog doesn’t understand a command versus when they understand the command but choose not to obey. Understanding your dog’s signals, can help you to choose the more appropriate response.
Before you ever get a dog, be sure that you have everything you need. You should have: sturdy food and water bowls; a good quality of dry dog food; a comfortable bed; a crate/kennel in the right size for the dog you plan to get; and an appropriate leash and collar or harness. By having everything in place, you will avoid a lot of rushing around and uncertainty with a new dog or puppy. This will help everybody settle in better.
Allowing everyone in the family to tell your dog different things will completely defeat the purpose of training him. Have a family meeting or keep a list of dog training rules on the refrigerator to remind all people that interact with the animal to be consistent with commands, punishments and rewards. Otherwise the dog will be in a constant state of confusion and every family member will be completely frustrated.
Use various tones of voice when training your dog. Praise, corrections, and commands need their own tones to help the dog differentiate between effects and causes with both of your behaviors. Be firm with your command, speak louder to reprimand your dog and take a softer voice to praise your dog.
Because you are a new dog owner, you are faced with many challenges. Hopefully if you follow the steps presented in this article, you will be much closer to being able to successfully train your new dog and will have a better understanding of what goes into dog ownership and training.