Inviting a dog into your family is one of the best things you can do for both the puppy and yourself. So many dogs are out there homeless or lonely in shelters waiting to find their forever family to take care of them.
No matter whether you get a puppy or an old dog looking for a second chance, you want to do right by them. That means you should probably start getting ready to train them properly. Training a dog is a boon to both the animal and all the people around you.
This is because a dog that isn’t trained can be dangerous, even if they seem like the sweetest pup around. If you haven’t properly leash trained your dog then they will be a struggle to walk on a leash. They may bark and chase at every dog or cat they see on a walk. This can make them trouble for you and other people trying to walk their dogs.
If your dog is lacking in the proper training techniques they may not behave well at a dog park or around your guests. Teaching them to obey you and other people is safer for them so that they don’t get into fights with other animals, and safer for other people and their pets as well.
When you first bring home your pooch it’s a good idea to have a few toys around. No need to buy a million right off the bat, you want to learn what your dog will enjoy playing with. This is a great way to learn what may motivate them. Having a favorite toy to tempt them with or use as a reward will be helpful once you decide what way to train your dog.
Dog toys have gotten pretty crazy these days. From chew toys to stuffed animals to squeakers to bones: if it exists then there is a toy version of it. There’s nothing better than seeing your dog cuddle with his favorite toy dragon or peanut butter filled dog bone.
Dog Training Methods
There are various methods out there when it comes to dog training. Get to know your forever friend before diving into any of them, and decide what will work best for both you and your dog.
Here are a few common dog training methods to look into once you’re ready to teach your dog to behave:
- Alpha Dog
- Clicker training
- Positive Reinforcement
Let’s do an overview of each of these options.
This particular dog training method is a good option for certain breeds of dogs who may have issues following commands, like the Catahoula. These breeds can feel a bit aggressive and feel that they need to have dominance instead of you, the owner.
The goal of this form of training is for the owner to assert himself as the dominant one, the alpha dog of the group. Dogs are inherently packed animals like wolves, and they follow a hierarchy in the pack, starting with the alpha dog that runs things.
A hallmark of alpha dog training is being consistent as marking you as the leader. You can’t ever back down. It takes a lot of time, effort, and willpower. It often includes not playing games with your dog like tug of war, making sure they follow instructions to get food and only give commands when you can enforce them.
Using a clicker to train your dog has both positive and negative aspects. If your dog adapts too well to the clicker it may not obey you without it. The goal is, of course, to ingrain the training in your dog so that they follow through even without the clicker being present.
Every time your dog follows through with a task you ask of him, and then use the clicker. Make sure to always follow the clicker with a treat and teach them that they only are given treats when they follow instructions. Try and hide the treats on your person and surprise the dog with a treat when they follow a command if they aren’t expecting one.
The clicker is meant to tell your pup that the action you are asking them to do will bring them a reward. Don’t use the clicker outside of a command that they can perform, and never ask them to do something they might not be able to.
Soon, there shouldn’t be an issue giving your dog a command because it will have just become second nature to them.
One of the most popular methods of home training, positive reinforcement is also one of the easiest ones to use and follow through. It doesn’t take any stringent methods on your part, just consistency.
Basically, you only reward the things your dog does that you like and ignore the things they do that are bad. They don’t care what kind of attention they get; your precious pup just wants all attention possible.
You can use treats, toys, or even praise to reward your dog when he does something right. You can even have him perform tricks or good behavior and then take him on a walk, refusing to walk him if he’s barking up a storm or acting in a negative manner.
Make sure that everyone in your household understands your method of training. They cannot give attention to your dog if they are begging, whining, or being a nuisance. Also, make sure that you follow through consistently with your actions. Your dog won’t understand if you change the rules or make an exception just because you’re feeling soft for a moment.
As you work hard to train your pup, be sure to have fun. You can play and go on walks and enjoy plenty of stimulation. This is a great way to get rid of excess energy so that they are not overly energetic when it comes time for them to obey you.
Good luck with your new dog and their training.