Are good manners important to you? If they are, they should be for your dog as well! Perhaps needless to say, dog obedience training is essential to enhance both your dog’s quality of life and your own. Whether you have a dog purely for companionship and leisure or for competition and other sporting events, surely you don’t want a dog that runs wildly around, barking at anyone, chewing up random items along the way, going to the bathroom anywhere and and at any time… the list goes on.
Dog obedience training covers a wide variety of techniques such as positive reinforcement, clicker training, dog whispering, marker training, reward training, and many more. The main goal is to establish a clear line of communication between you and your dog. When training a dog, boundaries and rules are set to teach your dog to become a responsible member of your household so that he will know how to properly behave in certain situations, at any given place, and at any given time.
Many of the most common behavior problems such as chewing, excessive barking, jumping, and others can be resolved through proper dog training.
No matter what command or trick you’re trying to teach your dog, having the right mindset is a must from the start. Here are a few key points to remember:
Leadership – When training a dog or puppy, think in terms of Confidence and Consistency because this is the foundation upon which all good dog obedience training technique is built upon. Remember that you are the leader of the pack. Learn to assert yourself to show your dog that you are in charge and that you mean what you say. Showing indecision or hesitation when training a dog and issuing commands will not convey proper leadership and will only confuse your dog, rendering your commands useless. Would you willingly follow someone day after day who is hesitant and doesn’t seem to really mean what he or she is saying? The same goes for your dog.
This is especially true in cases, for example, when your dog is showing aggression towards another dog in your house. Usually, this means that the dog showing aggression is unsure of their role in the house and is trying to protect you and their perceived space. It’s your responsibility to take control as the alpha leader and show that neither dog has the right to be aggressive.
Giving Commands – This goes hand in hand with being a strong leader. Never forget that communication really is a two-way street. Too many people get frustrated when their dogs don’t seem to understand their commands or obey specific orders (such as the basics of Stay, Sit, Run, Quiet, and Heel). However, for dog obedience training to be truly effective, the onus is equally on you, the owner, to make sure that you’re giving your commands clearly, properly, and consistently.
Biting and Barking – These are two of the most common dog obedience issues. The type of specific dog training recommended for these issues depends on how severe the problem is and what the root causes are (for example, a dog may bark excessively for many reasons, from attention-seeking to anxiety to out of sheer boredom!). One thing stays the same, though, and that is that it’s much, much better to reward good behavior than punish or reward bad behavior. Example: rewarding your dog with a treat when they stop barking after you give them a ‘Stop’ phrase.
Walking – How do you avoid having your dog take you for a walk? One key thing to remember with dog obedience training is that if you want to train your dog’s walking behavior the right way and avoid the dreaded leash-pulling, it must start from the moment you pick up that leash.
You must establish the mood of your walk right then and there. If your dog is too excitable when you pick up the leash, don’t head out the door with them yet – wait until they calm down. During your walk, make sure they understand that leash pulling will stop the walk, so every time they pull on the leash, instead of pulling back (which doesn’t really do much good, especially if you have a large dog), just stop the walk. They will learn that if they keep pulling the leash the walk will stop, which is something they don’t want, so they will avoid pulling the leash in the future.
A well-trained dog is a confident and happy dog who is a pleasure to be around. And while this may sound contradictory, a trained dog also experiences a lot more freedom in the long run because he can be left alone unsupervised and without you having to hover over him every minute! When training your dog, remember to be assertive yet reassuring, consistent, and to keep a good sense of humor. Not only will the results come faster, but it will be much more fun for everyone involved.