Training your dog should be fun and it will help build your bond and confidence with them. Understanding what to use to motivate your dog and where to carry out training will help give you good groundwork.
The best and easiest way to train your dog is to use what motivates him, which is quite often food. Have a supply of tasty treats, it is best if it is something they don’t get on a regular basis so you could use cheese, sausage or chicken. The size of half of your fingernail is plenty, as you do not want them getting full to quickly or having to wait whilst they chew the treat. Learn to have a few treats in your hand, so you always have another treat ready to give to your dog when they are giving you the correct behaviour.
All training needs to be started at home and in the garden with little to no distractions, then you need to move out in a quiet area, then with mild distractions and so on. Training with little to no distraction to begin with helps with having your dog’s attention so that once you have the behaviour and their attention you can move onto mild distractions and so on. Training also needs to be generalized, as dogs are very environment and circumstance orientated, so they need to be taught that they need to perform the behaviour in all different environments. So train your dog everywhere you go in a variety of situations and places. Don’t expect your dog to automatically know what to do in a new environment. Remember you always want to aim for success.
Keep on top of training, it is easy to start well and once we think they know the behaviour the training stops and they can easily slip back into old ways. Have regular training sessions and use play with training to make them fun for both of you.
Begin all training with your dog on a lead, especially when you move onto areas with more distractions.
Important things to remember whilst training
- Timing, reward as soon as your dog is performing the correct behaviour
- Hand signals – be mindful of what hand signals you use as your dog will the cue words as well as your body language
- Be patient – if you lose your patience take 5, then go back to the training.
- Be enthusiastic and put lots of your own energy into sessions
- Sometimes things go wrong that’s life, just take a step back and try again
- Be consistent – ask all of the family members to consistent with the training you are doing as not to confuse you dog. Dogs thrive on consistency.
- Always end training on a high with your dog completing a exercise correctly
- Enjoy spending time with your dog and have fun!
Carrie Stuthridge runs and owns Carrie’s Canines & Friends which is a Dog Walking, Training & Pet Care Service