Why Should You Train Your Dog?
Many of us could not imagine life without our canine companion – their unconditional love, energy and unwavering loyalty is a far cry from even the most successful of human relationships. However, dogs and people are very different creatures, and whilst they will forever be known as ‘man’s best friend’, dogs naturally have some irksome tendencies, such as excessive barking, chewing, jumping up, digging etc. that can make for a less than harmonious household.
To ensure you get the best out of your canine companion, you need to teach him some basic, but very important training skills to cement your bond and ensure a happy household for both humans and dog.
The good news is that dogs are generally eager to learn. The key to success is making sure that your dog understands what you are asking of him and to do this, you too must understand exactly what you are asking of your dog.
Understanding How Your Dog Learns
There is an abundance of varying advice on the topic of dog training, however it really boils down to two things: Reward good behavior, and make sure that negative behaviors are not rewarded and thus not tolerated.
Communication with your dog is the key. However, talking to your dog and expecting him to understand is like suddenly speaking Cantonese to your children and expecting them to comply with your request.
Dogs learn through the immediate consequences of their behaviour and it’s those consequences that will determine how he will behave in the future. For example, if a behavior results in something rewarding like food or an affectionate ear rub, your dog will repeat that behavior more often. On the other hand, if a behavior results in an unpleasant consequence like being ignored or not receiving a treat, you will naturally see less of that behaviour.
It is important to remember however that dogs live very much in the present, so waiting until your guests leave before disciplining him for jumping up will have absolutely no effect other than to confuse you dog. Deal with a negative situation immediately, or wait until next time.
If You Like the Behavior, Reward It. If You Don’t Like the Behavior, Take Rewards Away
Likewise, when your dog does something that is deserving of reward, make sure that the reward comes immediately so that he makes the connection between good behavior and positive actions.
For example, when guests arrive, use your chosen word as a signal to not jump up, whilst at the same time hold your dogs collar to ensure that he actually cant jump up. Praise your dog continually throughout this exercise as well as offering treats. Alternatively, when your dog does jump up, use a sharp ‘No!’ followed by briefly ignoring the dog. It wont be long before your dog realises the best course of action for a happy life!
When training your dog, the consequences of his actions must be consistent and that must go for everyone in the family who interacts with him. For example, if you shower your dog with attention when he jumps all over you as he greets you, but discipline him when he jumps up at your visitors, he is bound to get confused. How can he possibly know who it’s ok to jump up?
Be a Good Leader
Your dog will look to you at it’s leader and as leader, you have the right to demand respect. For example, If your dog wants to go out, ask him to sit before you open the door. Make sure you walk ahead of your dog through the door. When he wants dinner, ask him to sit or lie down to earn it. If your dog is jumping around with excitement prior to a walk, wait calmly until he can sit without jumping up before you clip on the lead. Your dog will soon figure out that doing what you want gets him what he wants.
By adopting these simple rules to every aspect of your dogs training, you will not only find a great deal of reward in seeing your dog develop, but you will end up with a dog that is happy, well mannered and one that you are proud to take anywhere.
If you are experiencing difficulties in basic dog training or you want to explore training your dog to a higher level then contact K9 Control, experienced UK dog trainers. View here our full range of dog training services or contact us on 07515 931 693