Is your dog too aggressive that you can’t take it anywhere? Does it back, chase its tail, break out of your fence or jump on to people when it is not needed to? If yes, then it is time you invested your time in dog training.
The truth is, coping with an untrained dog can be an exhausting task. No matter how hard you try to keep it indoors, it will always find its way out, jump onto strangers or break into other people’s properties. If not watched, it can end up damaging something or biting someone, and that is the last thing you need. The point is an untrained dog share some similar characteristics with wild animals that make them dangerous to humans, especially in houses where there are playful kids.
On the other hand, a trained dog is easy to keep, understand and communicate with. Reason being, training helps your dog understand who its owner is and what it is supposed to do to stay safe. Also, a trained dog is easy to understand, and bond with. Unlike untrained dogs, they love kids and will always keep them company when you are not around. In short, a dog that has learned some few skills it needs to fit around humans makes the best companion.
Dog training basics you need to understand
Whether you are a beginner dog trainer or just a pet fanatic trying to bond with his or her dog, you will need to know the basics of dog training. If you want your puppy to make a loving pet, you must first help it understand the four necessary commands of obedience that includes, sit, come, stay and no. These are the four commands that you will use to talk to your dog when you need it to calm down, remain where it is or to stop what it is doing.
Teaching your dog the four commands
1. The SIT command
If your dog is always restless, whines a lot on to jumps onto strangers, it needs to learn how to sit when needed to.
How to teach it
Bend or squat to get on your dog’s level. Take some treat in your hands and hold it close to its nose. Move the treat up and down to see if it will follow with its head. If it follows it up, its buttocks will lower to the ground. When its butt is nearing the ground, tell it to sit while you raise the treat higher. Immediately, its butt hits the ground, lower the treat so that it can take it. Repeat these steps several times each day.
2. The STAY command
STAY is always considered as one of the most effective lifesaver commands for dogs. This command will prevent the dog from chasing people or animals around keeping it safe.
How to teach it
Put a strap around its neck and allow it to sit beside you. Flatten your palms and wave it towards its face and tell it to stay. Leave it where it is, take some few steps in front of it and wait for few seconds. If it tries to move, tell it to stay. If it doesn’t move, come back, sit beside it and reward it. Repeat this several times a day in several locations.
3. The COME command
When your dog behaves badly, the command COME will help distract it and keep it busy. For example, it might decide to jump over your fence into other people’s properties. When this happens, commanding it to come to you will prevent it from doing anything bad or save its life.
How to teach it
Take a line and clip it to its collar and allow it to move around with it. When it get used to it, take the end of the line and allow it to continue with what it is doing and follow it around. Doing this will remind it that you are attached to it in one way or another. Next time, try pulling the line gently for it to follow you. When it turns around, show it some treat and tell it to come. Immediately it reaches near you, give it the treat. Repeat the steps several times.
4. The NO command
The NO command is intended to stop the dog from behaving badly. Take, for example; it starts barking trying to come out of its kennel to chase a cat. You can tell it no to stop him.
How to teach
Take a line and clip it to its collar. Take something that your dog likes and put it on it. For the first time allow it to move towards that thing and let it take it. The second time, put something it likes. But this time when it tries to move towards it, say no to stop it. If it wants to move using force, pull it back gently using the strap and tell it to no. Repeat the steps for several days.
Bonus tips when training your dog
- Be realistic – Keep in mind, change of behavior might take a lot of time. For example, it might take some time for a dog to realize that jumping on to people is wrong. Besides, they can’t learn fast like us. So, don’t get angry when it fails to listen. Instead, repeat until it gets it.
- Give it some freedom – While giving your dog more freedom might result in unwanted accidents, your pet needs to understand that it is free. You can always give him some freedom to roam your house and do what he likes, but only after it understands the four commands above.
- Always reward it for making a step – Just like kids, dogs love treats. Rewarding it when it does something good will give him an idea that whatever he is doing is correct. So, always remember to have some treat with you to give him when he deserves it.
- Try to understand it – Just like humans, dogs can get uncomfortable around other dogs or strangers. Unfortunately, they can’t tell you why. So, it is up to you to note this and take the right steps. For example, if your dog doesn’t want to wake up from where it is lying to meet other people, don’t force it.
Mistakes to avoid when training your dog
- Repeating a command over and over – Your dog will get confused when you keep on repeating the same command over and over. So, say it and wait for it to do something before you say it again.
- Giving it too much freedom – Just like kids, dogs need to be watched at all times, especially those that are new to your home. So, don’t give it all the freedom until it understands the limits.
- Allowing the problem to grow before taking the right steps – Not training your dog earlier may make it hard for it to learn when it has grown. It is strongly recommended that you start training it when it is still a puppy.
- Stopping the training too soon – Dogs are not like humans that will understand everything once. If you stop training too soon, it is likely they will forget it all.
- Trying to teach it yourself when you don’t have the time – If you are an ever busy person, it will be hard for you to train your dog as required because most of the times you will be away. If this is your case, hire a pet trainer.
Dog training can be a complicated process, especially if you’ve never done it before. If you are always busy, hiring a professional will save you a lot. However, if you have all the time and want to train your dog without professional help, you can always get something by doing a lot of research and most importantly, following the steps mentioned above.