Do you ever feel lost when you’re trying to train your dog? Here are a few tips that will help you get things started on the right foot!
Sometimes interacting with dogs doesn’t come naturally for dog owners. You might feel like you’re not speaking the same language. Well, interacting with another species isn’t always easy. If you work on these three simple skills you will see lots of improvement.
You won’t need tons of words to get your point across. You don’t even need fancy tools. Dogs actually respond to very simple instruction.
1. Get Your Timing on Point.
Whether you are rewarding or correcting your dog, you want your timing to be as precise as possible. Using a marker word like,”yes” at the exact moment when you see your pup doing a behavior you like is helpful. Then you can follow through with giving a tasty treat or a pat on head for a job well done. If your dog is getting into trouble or breaking a command, a quick, “no” followed by a correction with a collar might be a good option.
Where have you gone wrong in the past? Maybe it was coming home to a trash can that’s been dumped over and trying to punish your furry friend long after the incident. Maybe it was giving him a treat for a job well done hours after he completed the command.
Even if your timing isn’t lightning fast giving the treat, if you say your marker word the instant your dog follows your command, he will get the message. The better you get with your timing the more clearly your dog will understand what you want from him. So, practice tuning up that skill and you start to see better results.
2. Patience, Patience, Patience!
There is nothing that will confuse your dog more than losing your cool. If you get frustrated when you interact with your pup he will not want to follow your lead. Dogs follow very balanced and stable leaders. So, you want to put your best, most patient foot forward at all times.
We all know training isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, we are only human and we do get frustrated. So, What can we do? If you feel yourself getting frustrated, the best thing to do is crate your dog. Take some time to do something non dog related and come back to training later on. You should also try to be as calm and collected as possible in everyday life as well. Your dog is always watching your behavior and deciding if you’re someone capable of leadership. Are you worth following?
3. Consistency is key!
If you do nothing else, be consistent. Make sure you enforce rules clearly. If you have a house rule of not allowing dogs on the furniture, don’t allow it at all. Do you allow it when you just don’t want to be bothered with correcting him for doing it? Maybe you’re tired after a long day and you let things slide. This sends you pooch mixed messages.
You can maintain your consistency by having a routine and a set of rules. Some common things I teach dogs are: Kennel up and remain quiet in the crate, place command (go to your bed and stay), waiting at thresholds (don’t go through the front door until released), waiting calmly for food, always come when called. By enforcing these types of things, you provide your dog with clear expectations. Being clear about expectations and consequences makes life easier for dogs to navigate.
I think the most important time to be consistent is with recall. When you call your dog, it is essential that you never let him blow off your command. If this is an area where you are struggling, I recommend keeping a long line on the dog. If he ignores your command to come, you can use the leash as backup to always make sure he recalls to you.
If you need more help contact a trainer in your area.
If you’re interested in more than just the basics and would like to improve all your skills when working with your dog, check out our board and train packages here.