If you have never had a dog as a pet, you’ll be surprised how much there is to learn.
Dog training (no matter what type of training we’re talking about) usually starts at a very young age. Just like small children, dogs will react to how you treat them and will be affected by your behaviour.
This is because dogs are pack animals – they have a much stronger sense of hierarchy than we do and are used to following a leader.
In other words, if you start training a dog you will quickly become not only a parental figure but also the leader.
Things you need to know about dog training
Before I start mentioning actionable tips, it is necessary to mention same basics. That’s why I asked the dog training expert Lene Kaufmann from Kaufmann’s Puppy Training to give some us some professional tips.
Dogs breeds can be very different and can have a big impact on your relationship with an animal. Character also comes into play of course, but if there is something you need to consider from the very start, it is the breed of the dog you are bringing into your home.
So, why is this important?
Different species exhibit different behaviors and different energy levels. In fact, things such as size of the dog can even impact the training routine (especially during “potty training” as you will be forced to go out more often).
Some species will be more aggressive, some tend to bark more than others and there are those that aren’t particularly good with other animals and children.
Depending on your current family size, this is something that should definitely be considered and can be a big hindrance moving forward.
Actionable tips that will help you with training your dog
1. Everything you do needs to be done with love. Animals are instinctive especially when young. They cannot understand your commands. So, it is necessary to create a system where you show them what is right and what is wrong
2. Do not reward a pet if it messes up. Hugging or cuddling a dog when it makes a mess will send a conflicting message and will make the animal think that such behavior is wanted
3. On the flipside, neither should you punish the dog. Any kind of punishment (especially a severe one) can lead to trauma and can affect your relationship. Even though the dog may learn from it, it will leave it scarred
4. If something bad happens or if a dog doesn’t obey your instructions, whilst it is OK to show your displeasure (for example by saying “no” in a stern voice), there is no need to yell at your pet. Yelling should be avoided. No matter how stressed you are do not resolve to it
5. You need to have a precise command for every action. By having more than one, it will confuse a dog and it will not know how to react. Also, make sure that all members of your household use the same commands. Use hand gestures if needed so you have two ways of explaining something
6. Doggie treats need to be appropriate. Whenever your dog does something correctly during the training, make sure to give him a treat. Try giving your pet something special that he doesn’t get every day (not chocolate!). This will make the dog more inclined to make an effort and the behavior will become habitual
7. Training should be something fun. This means that your behavior also has to imply it is fun. If you are moody and do not give off a good vibe, your dog will not be so inclined to cooperate
As you can see, dog training is not so difficult. As long as you have the patience and good attitude, you will be able to train your dog well.