When we teach children to learn how to do their maths we use certain tools like a calculator and a pencil. When we learn how to drive we have a car, a manual and an instructor to help us. To be able to use any of these tools to learn new skills we first establish a solid language in which we communicate.
But for some reason we don't see dog training as us learning a new skill? I remember when I first started out training my Labrador I had a passion for dogs, but not much knowledge and I ended up doing things that I will never do now. But fortunately dogs live in the moment and forgive us the moment we toss them a ball. For dog training we also need certain tools or equipment to learn the new skill before we can teach the dog what we want them to learn. But to do that you would first need to establish what you would like your dog to learn. Then either contact a certified trainer to guide you through training or surround yourself with reading as many books on the subject as possible. Off course you should read the books and take from it what you believe will work for you and your dog.
They key is to remember that we don't speak dog and dogs do not speak English or any other human language. We tend to think we are much smarter then dogs, but still we expect them to understand our language the moment they become our pets, but we do not really understand dog do we? It is true that some of us has an natural ability to work with dogs and some more then others but like with any skill or talent we need to work on it continusly.
So what would you need to successfully train your dog?
Start of by establishing your language with your dog and maybe learn how some of his body language works. When you want your dog to sit, do not tell him to sit 20 times. No wait for the moment he sits you can even lure him with a treat in the beginning and the moment all 4's hit the ground say good sit and treat. Or click and then treat. The click and the good sit is very important in timing, more then what the treat is that follows. Dogs talk through body language. And we can learn a lot by observing.
Then establish what you would like your dog to learn and then how you would teach your dog these new skills.
Short training sessions of 5 minutes at a time is much more worth then long training sessions.
Determine what will reinforce wanted behaviour from your dog. This could be his favourite healthy dog treat, a toy or a pat on the back. Make sure that you have this at hand when training. Also have a long lead if you want to do re call training, water and most important patience and love.
If you are having a bad day, do not train your dog. This feeling will rub off on your dog and your training will fail. Reward wanted behavior the instant it happens, not a second earlier or later. This will only mark the wrong behaviour and confuse your dog. Try to always end on a positive note, meaning STOP while you are still a head. Never scream, pull or hit your dog. This will only let your dog do the behaviour out of fear. Dogs learn to shut down at a certain point and this is why they will obey the order.
Make training fun and exciting. When your dog for some reason does something perfect the one day and when you go to the park or add another dog all of the sudden he acts as if he has never done it. Go back to the basics and start at the beginning of your training. It could just be that your dog does not know this cue in the new environment. Never expect something of your dog that is out of his reach. Don't ask a puppy to concentrate for an hour at a time, their concentration span is short. An older dog is better with feeling bored and can do a longer stay then a 4 month old puppy can.
Have boundaries so that your dog can feel safe and know what is expected of him. Socialize your dog with other people, dogs and sounds. Never leave your dog Unattended with another dog that he does not know. Do not let dogs meet on a lead as this tends to let them get into fights more easily.
Hope that this is a short guide to help you train your dog.
For more please e-mail me by clicking on the reply button of this mail. dog-care-centre has one on one training sessions as well as online training available.
Wags and woofs,
Louise P.S: Click on this next link if you would like to join our annual Husky Rescue Fun Walk!
Husky Rescue Fun Walk 14 August 2010