Dog Training Tips
We all enjoy learning new things and our dogs are no different.
With some basic training, many dogs wouldn't develop bad habits and become 'problem dogs' to you and your neighbours. Training will enrich your relationship with your dog and make them a pleasure to be around.
To achieve some great results, check out the training tips below.
If you need further help with training your dog, contact your local obedience club.
General Training Tips
Here are a few tips for you before you get started:
· Young or old, big or small, all dogs need to be trained.
· Training sessions should only be 5 to 10 minutes as many dogs have short attention spans. They should be repeated regularly and performed in an area free from distractions.
· Food is used as motivation and reward. This food should be in small pieces, be highly palatable, and be a special treat the dogs really enjoys and only receives at training sessions. Small pieces of meat treats or liver treats are ideal.
· For the training techniques to be successful the rewards must be given immediately after the dog has obeyed or responded, and should be backed up by words of praise such as “Good Dog’ and on occasions, a pat as well.
· Don’t forget to include the food value of the training treats as part of the dog’s normal food intake otherwise you may end up dealing with a weight problem in your dog.
· Train in an area free from distractions. Your dog needs to focus on you only.
· Training should be enjoyable for all so praise and reward desired behaviour, ignore negative behaviour. Punishing your dog will probably teach him to be afraid of you.
· Patience is essential in training. If you’re feeling angry, unwell or frustrated, don’t train. Dogs are sensitive to emotions and will pick up on your emotions and may misunderstand your instruction.
· Just the same as when we talk to each, look at your dog when giving a command.
· Always use a happy friendly voice. Never yell.
· Use simple clear, concise commands and don’t change them. If you mean “drop”, don’t change it to “lay down” otherwise you will confuse your dog.
· Don’t move onto new training until you are confident you dog has mastered what you have been teaching him.
The most commonly taught trick and one which helps control unwanted behaviour such as jumping. Sit is the basis for further training.
· Position your dog facing you with his rear close to a wall or fence as the dog cannot move backwards.
· Focus the dogs attention on the reward in your hand, by allowing the dog to smell or lick it.
· With the dog concentrating on your hand, and the treat a couple of centimetres away from the your dog, slowly move the food in a backwards motion close to the nose up and over the dog’s head towards the back of its neck.
· Most dogs will rock backwards as they follow the treat in your hand with their head, and automatically sit. As they do this, say “SIT”.
· You can even give a gentle push on your dog’s rear to reinforce the sit.
· Reward instantly with the food and praise.
· Repeat the procedure at least a dozen times to reinforce the behaviour.
· Eventually you can stand in front of your dog and command “Sit” and your dog will do just that but don’t forget to reward!
Soon your dog will be coming to you and sitting perfectly straight in front of you.
This is possibly the most useful command. A dog in drop finds it hard to bark, hard to dominate you or even show aggression to other dogs. It lowers the dog’s height and renders it somewhat submissive.
· To teach this training tip, your dog should has mastered the sit command.
· With the dog steady in the sit position hold your hand with the reward slightly below your dog’s nose.
· As your dog reaches for the food, slowly move your hand with the treat straight down and then forward along the ground.
· Most dogs will go down and crawl forward on their front legs to take the reward which is now at ground level.
· As your dog goes down, command “Down”, praise and reward him with the treat. Never give him the treat if he is standing. If he keeps standing, ignore and repeat the exercise ensuring that your hand isn’t too high or too low and that you are not moving too quickly or too slowly.
· As he gets the idea, start moving the treat down at an oblique angle to the ground and don’t forget to command “Down”.
· Some dogs will have trouble with drop, and stand up as they come forward. You will need to continue with the "Sit" training until the dog becomes steadier before moving on.
· After some practice, you’ll soon be able to remove the hand movement altogether and command “Down” and your dog will instantly drop down.
· Remember, some are good students and some are slower to learn, but there are very few things that can’t be taught.
· Food rewards should be hidden out of sight.
· Initially, have your dog on a training lead.
· The dog must be steady in either the sit or drop position, facing you.
· Stand on the lead, take one step back and issue the command “Stay” and at the same time give the hand signal for “Stay” which is usually a downward motion of the hand held open palm towards the dog.
· Wait 5 seconds, and as long as the dog is steady, step forward again, praise and reward the dog.
· From then on it is simply a matter of lengthening the time and distance.
· The dog should only be rewarded on return.
· As training progresses, you can remove the lead and the distance.
· Eventually, you should be able to move out of sight for a short period of time and return and your dog should be in the same position.
Walking on a lead
· Apart from health benefits for dogs and owners, dogs that have a daily walk are generally happy, well behaved canine companions.
· A daily walk should be enjoyable for you and stimulating for your dog.
· He shouldn’t drag you down the street but instead should walk calmly by your side on a loose lead. This command will help you achieve exactly that.
· Training sessions should start in the backyard and be kept short.
· In the backyard, place a lead on your dog and praise him. Do this several times until he gets used to the feel of the lead attached to his collar.
· Once he is comfortable with the lead, attach the lead, praise your dog and had outside.
· Start walking and when your dog starts pulling on the stop, say nothing, wait until the lead becomes loose. When he looks at you, praise the dog, reward with a treat and then start walking again.
· Repeat this process each time he pulls. Make sure you praise your dog enthusiastically whenever he walks well. He’ll soon learn that he won’t be going anywhere while pulling on his lead.
· This is the opposite of stay, and the dogs “Come” on command.
· It is a very useful command as many owners have trouble with their dogs not responding when called and such behavior can be a major cause of frustration.
· Firstly, if your dog is running around doing his own thing, don't stand there calling his name repeatedly. If the last time this happened the dog was running away as you called, the dog now thinks that calling his name and running away are synonymous.
· Start with the dog in the “Stay” position, move away a few metres, maintain eye contact, then use an excited tone, “Come” and wave the arms in a flinging open gesture.
· Reward the dog immediately on its arrival.
· Using a long lead attach it to the dogs collar. Pick an area free from distractions. Allow the dog to run to the end of the leash, then call your dog by it’s name immediately followed by the command “Come” and pull in the lead.
· When your dog is at your feet, command it to sit. Immediately praise and reward the dog,
· And remember, practice makes perfect.
· The best time to start training is as soon as you get the pup, (usually 8 weeks of age). However, training not in a formal way, but in a very relaxed and happy positive form.
· Lead training should commence each day at the same time for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute in duration. What I normally do is tie a long light lead, approximately 2 metres, on the pup's collar and with plenty of verbal encouragement have the puppy drag the lead around. (It must be noted that the lead must never be left on while the pup is left unsupervised).
· As the pup is following you around use his name as often as possible. Every now and again pick up the lead and let the pup feel a slight tension on the lead. This should be increased ever so slightly over a 7 day period. After 7 days the pup should be walking on your left side very happily for about 2 to 3 minutes per day.
Please remember when training a young dog the following points:
· Be consistent.
· All training to be positive (no negative training at all at this time).
· Keep all training sessions short.
· Always finish a training session when the puppy is successful.