Dog training can be a tough chore. Ease into the process with these 10 tips from some of the world’s best dog trainers.
Training is key
Dogs are like humans; in the sense that they are always learning. Without rules, your pooch will most likely invent his own. The Humane Society recommends training to not only teach your dog proper behavior, but to also enhance and build your relationship. By knowing you are the rule maker and keeper, you and your dog will have a bigger and happier bond.
Many people complain of a dog’s larger-than-life energy level. Teach your pup to calm down with playtime, as recommended by Andy Replogle from NYC Dreamdogs. If you are hyperactive and overly intense during playtime, Fido will be as well. Replogle advises to use a calming tone and ease in behavior when playing so that your pooch will imitate you. His park intensity levels will lower as will his energy at home.
In his book A Member of the Family, dog whisperer Cesar Millan states, “an exercised dog is a trainable dog.” Without proper exercise, it is unlikely that Fido will want to listen to your commands. Even a simple, daily 15-minute walk can do wonders for your pooch.
Dr. Sophia Yin, an animal behavior expert and trainer, mentions that a human’s body language is key when training a pet. Since your pet responds better to gestures, use more body language than words for commands. Pay close attention to your dog’s body language in return to amplify training sessions.
In addition to using your voice and body language to train your dog, use an additional element to help training sessions move along smoothly. In her book Don’t Shoot the Dog!, Karen Pryor suggests using clicker training. The clicker and the clicking noise that is made when pressed is meant to show a quick and easy sign of positive reinforcement when your dog does something well in training.
Avoid physical punishment
Most dog trainers advise against the use of physical punishment when training your dog. Pat Miller talks about her personal choice to avoid using physical harm when training in her book The Power of Positive Dog Training. Miller mentions that pups tend to have a negative reaction to physical punishment and it does nothing but slow down the training process.
Bill Glatzel, a Phoenix based dog trainer advises to use positive reinforcement when training your dog, on his blog Phoenix Dog Training. When your dog does something fantastic, reward him with a treat or positive behavior. Doing so will let your pup know that he is doing what you are asking him to do, and well.
As you use positive reinforcement to train your dog, Bill Glatzel reminds us to also use negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcement includes taking something away from your pooch when he doesn’t follow a command properly, or using a negative stimulant. Glatzel mentions in his blog, Phoenix Dog Training, to blow a whistle in your dog’s ear when he’s doing something incorrect and stopping when he adjusts his behavior.
Cesar Millan advises that when it comes to dog training, consistency is key. Continuously teach and train your dog new tricks, as well as remind him of commands that you’ve already taught him. If you want your dog to adapt to new behaviors and keep them, continuously reinforce your training with him.
All on board
The last and final piece of advice for dog training also comes from our favorite dog whisperer Cesar Millan. When training your pooch, ensure that everyone in the family is on board. Like with children, you want to ensure mom, dad and kiddos know what Fido is to be doing and when. Teaching them the commands will help your pooch know his boundaries in the home.