Why should I train my dog?
Are you having trouble training your dog or puppy? Do they run around and ultimately destroy your house and furniture? Or maybe they don't listen to you at all. Perhaps you don't have the money to spend thousands on dog training classes. This guide will teach you how to train your dog that even a beginner can do it!
Well, you're not alone, many of us have the same problem as you and maybe even worse. I'll teach you guys everything you need to know about basic dog training.
Before we start, I'd like you guys to stick with me through the end. I assure you that it is possible to train your dog. If you have failed multiple times, it's okay, its all part of the process. I've failed a lot too, but I never gave up, and I hope you don't as well.
Introduction to Dog Training
Having a dog is a long and fun journey. They'll be with you for the rest of their life. You two are basically soul mates now. But first, you need to teach your dog his boundaries, like in a real relationship. For that purpose, you need to teach him to obey you.
By teaching your dog to obey you or follow your commands, you're making life easier for both yourself and your dog.
You might think it's hard to train your dog. But it's as simple as counting 1,2,3.
- Good behavior gets rewarded.
- Bad behavior gets corrected.
"Dogs like to obey. It gives them security."
- James Herriot
Rewarding your dog is pretty easy, here are some ways you can reward him:
- Give him a praise.
- Give him a treat.
- Pet him.
Be careful not to go overboard with the treats, they're meant to be a reward, not a bribe.
Dog Training Basics
Dog training is the process of teaching your dog to display particular desired action or behaviors in a specific situation.
In simple terms, it is teaching your dog to obey you.
Dogs are animals who live in a pack in the wild, and canines have instincts that favor training. By living with us "Humans," their abilities get revealed as a desire to please the pack leader, which is the handler. The handler can be anyone working with the dog at the time.
Most dogs live with people like you and me, despite their purpose. So we need to train them to behave in a way that makes them fun and safe to have around for both you and his safety.
They must be trained for them to learn basic obedience because they can't figure out on their own.
Training your dog isn't actually what it's about. But instead training you on how to train your dog. Your dog has its instinctive reaction to a specific action, and you can use that to teach him.
This can be as simple as the fact that your dog will tend to repeat their behavior or action for which he got rewarded. But in most cases of "problem dogs," the owner is rewarding his dog for bad behavior without any knowledge.
Although you can send your dog to a training school/class, you still must learn what your dog has learned and learn to reinforce it to train him at home.
At the end of this, I'll help you decide if extra classes are necessary for you or not.
How Dog Training works
Most of the time, training revolves around giving your dog consequences for his action, hoping it will influence your dog's behavior in the future.
There are 4 types of consequences under the Operant conditioning ("Instrumental Conditioning")
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Reinforcement (Increase Behavior).
- Positive reinforcement adds something to a situation to increase the frequency of the behavior again. (e.g. Giving your dog a treat when he sits.)
- Negative reinforcement removes something from a situation to increase the frequency of the behavior again. (e.g. Releasing the tension of a tight training collar when your dog stops pulling on the leash.)
Punishment (Decrease Behavior)
- Positive punishment adds something to a situation to decrease the frequency of the behavior again. (e.g. Growling at your dog for misbehaving.)
- Negative punishment removes something from a situation to decrease the frequency of the behavior again. (e.g. Taking away your dog’s toy for misbehaving.)
Nowadays, most trainers say they use “Positive Training Methods,” which is a different meaning from operant conditioning. “Positive Training Methods” usually means to prefer using the reward as a training method to increase your dog’s good behavior.
A good dog trainer should know all 4 methods, whether he can implement the operant conditioning terminology on your dogs, will tell you a lot about the dog trainer. Your dog trainer should be able to assess the appropriate method for your dog, the handler, the breed depending on the situation.
What is House training? House training is the process of teaching your pets to excrete/eliminate outside the house or in special places.
One of the most confusing aspects of dog training is house training, but it’s also the most important. The best way to succeed with house training is to use your dog’s nature to help you.
Dogs, by instinct, are clean animals and like to sleep in a clean area. If you teach your dog to excrete on a grass or gravel, they’ll tend to look for those places to do their business.
Set up a training area, remember to choose a small and confined area. Kitchen, garage or a bathroom are some good choices. Crates can work with puppies or other small dogs, but for larger dogs, crates can be uncomfortable and too confining.
House training your dog requires you to spend time with your dog and play with him, this is also where your dog will eat and sleep. Put together a comfortable bed for your dog, or buy a dog bed. You check out my bed reviews here.
At first, your dog might excrete in the area, but once they figure out that is there sleeping and eating area, they’ll stop. You can start moving the bed around the house when your dog has figured out that bed is for sleeping.
Establish a Toilet Area
Now you need to decide on a toilet area for your dog. This is likely to be outside the house. Remember that the toilet area needs to be easily accessible for your dog so that they can go whenever they need to. In the beginning, you have to go with your dog so you can reward him for good behavior.
Don’t forget to set a feeding schedule for your dog. If you keep track of your dogs eating schedule, you will start figuring out the time your dog needs to use the toilet, making it easier for you to guide your dog to the toilet area.
What is Crate training? Crate training is the process of teaching your pet to accept the crate as a safe and natural place for him.
A crate can be a valuable training tool, while you are potty training your dog or house training him. The crate also provides your dog with a sense of security, safety, and protection while training your puppy or a new dog about it's own and house boundaries.
At first glance, you may think that the crate looks like a jail cell. Well, maybe it does a little. But when used effectively, it's your dog's natural den.
You would want to place the crate in a place where your dog can see his surrounding environment and family members, a kitchen or living room are the right place.
Don't place the crate in a dry area or direct sunlight, put it somewhere dry and cool.
Introduce the crate slowly to your dog, do not lock him inside immediately. Place him inside the crate for a short period, around 10 minutes, and then you can gradually increase the time.
Your dog needs time to adapt to being in the crate. You should never crate him for more than 30 minutes when teaching him to use the crate.
Try placing soft bedding, treats, a bowl of water, and his favorite toy inside the crate to encourage your dog to like his crate.
It's normal for your dog to make a fuss and bark while inside the crate. Dogs are intelligent; don't let him get your attention by making a fuss. Don't give him any attention and let him out only when he behaves or settles down. We're applying the operant conditioning method here from earlier.
The only time you should let your dog out of the crate when training him is when you think your dog has to use the toilet.
The essential point you should never use a crate as a punishment, or he'll start hating the crate.
The crate is supposed to be his den, giving him safety & protection. Also, you should never leave your dogs in the crate for too long day after day.
Take a second and imagine yourself in his shoes, not too pleasant right?
What is Clicker training? Clicker training is one of the most popular ways to train your dog using rewards. While clicker training may not be for every dog, it can work wonders for training many dogs
In Clicker Training, you’ll need a toy that produces a loud clicking sound. You should always follow a click with a treat immediately. Even if it was a mistake, we want your dog to associate the click with a treat.
When your dog does something good, you sound the click and give him a treat immediately. Sooner or later, your dog will learn to respond to the sound of the clicker alone.
Never use the clicker to use it to get your dog’s attention. The clicker’s job is to tell your dog that the action he’s doing now is earning him the treat.
You can give your dog a reinforcer that he’ll find it rewarding as a positive reinforcement training. For example, food treats, chew toys, tug toys, or ever your attention.
The more your dog likes reinforcer, the more your dog will put more effort to get the reinforcer.
To make a toy into a more powerful positive reinforcer for good behavior, some trainers like to teach your dog to crave for a specific toy.
This method called “Prey Drive,” is also commonly used in the training of Police Service dogs and Narcotics Detection dogs.
Sometimes, giving food or treats a reward to your dog can lead to an overweight dog. Now we don’t want that as it’s unhealthy for the dog, the solution to this is rather simple.
Just take away some food out of your dog’s daily meal.
A Happy Dog
Always remember that a bored dog will cause you problems and headaches! If you fail to keep your dog’s mind stimulated, your dog will likely to find something to stimulate his mind himself, which is bad news for you.
Keeping your dog mentally stimulated every day will make him and you happy because a happy dog doesn’t cause problems.
Here’s how you can keep your dog mentally stimulated:
- Schedule, this may seem a bit weird but it’s not. Have a regular schedule for feeding time, walks, grooming, play time, etc. Dogs love schedule.
- Work, your dogs like to do chores. You can teach your dog to do some basic house chores. E.g. picking up the trash, closing the doors, or even teaching him to bring in the newspaper!
- Toys, there are a lot of cool toys that challenges your dog brain. E.g. OurPets Smarter Interactive IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy, a plastic ball that releases treats when it rolls in a specific direction.
- Exercises, dogs are active so they need lots of exercises. If you can merge an exercise with another activity such as playing, “Hide & Seek”, or maybe just do some agility exercise which is even better.
- Obedience training, do some obedience training with your dog. It will require him to use his brain to think. If your dog knows that he’ll be praises and rewarded for making the right choice and corrected for making the wrong choice, it will teach your dog a sense of responsibility and will need him to use his brain.
So far, we learned the basics of dog training and how it works. We also learned what house training, crate training, and clicker training are. You should also be able to apply operant conditioning method and train your dogs much more effectively.
But if your dog still has obvious behavioral problems, you should consider dog classes before a severe behavioral problem develop. You might overlook minor issues such as jumping around, chewing stuff, or excessive barking, which can be a severe problem in the future.
I hope this has helped you and gave you insight on how to train your dog or puppy. If it did comment down below and feel free to ask me any questions you might have.
For extra training, we recommend buying some dog training books.
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P.S. Did you ever have trouble training a dog? Or was it plain sailing for you?