If you have just welcomed a furry member in your family, training them is most probably the first task in order. When training dogs is believed to be challenging, the right tricks and techniques can help you take a smooth ride in the journey of training your dog to be a polite and well-mannered friend.
Training your dog need not be difficult for you or painful for your dog. You can easily train your dog by establishing a positive reinforcement technique, which is based on giving rewards i.e. treats or verbal praise on their appropriate behaviour to increase the likelihood of repeating the positive behaviour in future. The concept is based on a positive relationship between behaviour and consequences. Following are some of the infallible ways that will help you encourage positive behaviour in your dog.
Begin with giving one-word commands
Before you jump into training your dog to teach how to behave with other people or how to behave in certain places or situations, begin with training your dog to follow one-word commands that are easy for them to understand such as come, sit, kneel, eat, stay, etc. Each time they follow your command and show appropriate behaviour, give them a treat and verbal praise at a later stage. It is recommended that you have a few treats for your dogs so that the positive reinforcement can be carried out throughout the day, and your dog learned to follow your commands faster.
Get Everyone in your Family Involved
Positive reinforcement techniques foster the involvement of family members in the training of your dog. Since dogs are pack animals by nature, they consider the family as their pack. And hence, they thrive in the house especially when the rules are precise, clear and consistent. So, you can leverage the same and involve your family to train your dog better. Involving your family also means making the training part of your dog’s routine. And if you have kids, you can keep your dog on a leash in the initial stage and teach your children the warning signs such as growling, display of teeth, straightened tail, etc. to keep them away from harm.
With positive reinforcement, you can also involve your children in training your dog by giving them a bunch of dog treats and teach them commands; however, it is necessary to perform the training in a safe environment and with adult supervision.
Positive reinforcement enables you to successfully establish communication with your dog, which allows you to clearly communicate with your dog. Each time your dog follows your directions and performs appropriate behaviour, you can give him a reward by giving him a treat or verbal praise. This technique not only successfully establishes a trustful relationship but also helps you train your dog effortlessly. Also, instead of punishing them for inappropriate behaviour, you can lead them to behave in your way and give them rewards so that he is more likely to repeat the good behaviour. For example, when your dog bites or nips on your household items, you can replace them with a toy and praise him verbally for stopping inappropriate behaviour so that he stops biting on other items.
Encourage Mental Stimulation by Challenges
Just like humans, dogs are social animals so they require consistent mental as well as physical activities to remain happy and fit. As you probably may have known, boredom causes dogs to have behavioural problems in which they start barking, digging and biting anything and everything. Hence, it is crucial that you keep your dog active with innovative things.
You can take your dog on a walk and let him play on his own for some time. Since they are filled with energy and curiosity, dogs enjoy their time outside. Teaching him new tricks and making him practice every day will keep his mind active. To increase communication, you can play games with him such as fetch and throw; you can bring puzzle toys, interactive games, arrange nose work games inside the house, and introduce them to new faces including people and other dogs.
Play Training Games
Training doesn’t have to be strict or in a structured environment. It can be as much fun as any other game. You can use teach commands while playing games. Playing fetch with your dog can be useful to teach him commands such as ‘sit’, ‘retrieve’, ‘stop’, ‘kneel’, ‘come’, ‘go’, etc. Just like most dogs, your dog may already love to play. He will not only appreciate the outdoor time but also enjoy it to the fullest. And you can use this time to teach him appropriate commands and train him with fun.
Discourage Him from Biting and Nipping
When puppies are teething, they bite on things to relieve the pain and irritation. Biting and nipping are also a form of expression for dogs. When they crave your attention or express their interest, they often lick and bite which may be dangerous for you or others. To discourage him from doing so, you can either use the swap trick or pretend to be very hurt. Dogs love toys. When your dog or puppy is chewing on something, you can replace it with its toy and easily manage the problem. And when he bites on your hands or feet, you can pretend to be very hurt and your dog will stop immediately thinking it is painful for you. If none of the tricks works, you can discourage such behaviour by ignoring him. The lack of attention will surely stop him from biting and nipping. You can also get some related tims about this here.
Things you must NEVER DO while training your dog-
- Break your own rules by allowing your dog to break them.
- Hurt them physically.
- Let too much time pass between training sessions.
- Refuse to try new things.
- Not training them enough.
- Reinforce wrong behaviour.
- Using negative reinforcement such as punishment.
- Become impatient or discipline him in harsh ways.
After applying all the tricks, if your dog still doesn’t learn or keeps causing hindrances in your everyday life, it is best to seek professional help. You can also retrain your dog and manage behavioural problems with the help of an expert.