Obedience Training For Dogs | Ultimate Training Guide

How to Train Dogs

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So, how can I train my dog?

As we’ve seen on potty training for dogs, dog training starts from day one. The moment your dog arrives at your house, the training begins.

There are some basic rules and methods that you’ll have to start to understand so you can apply the principles of redirection, focus and rewarding to correct behavior, the right way, instead of just reacting to bad behaviors yelling commands in a desperate attempt to make the dog behave properly.

As we’ve seen, we’ll start training our puppy as soon as he arrives home, contrary to popular belief, dogs of any age can be easily trained, but a puppy can facilitate things because he has no bad habits (yet).

We should always start with off leash training, so that the dog does not associate training to a tool (leash), instead, he must associate training to ourselves (owner).

So let’s start with the 6 basic golden rules:

  • Basic training techniques

    • Basic training comes with the knowledge of prevention, redirection, rewarding, correction and maintenance. All of this may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it is quite easy to do it, as soon as we interiorize these simple techniques and apply them consistently.
  • Understanding behaviors

    • This guide will teach you several techniques that you can apply to your dog step-by-step, but if you understand the behaviors manifested by your dog, you can easily use that information to adapt to new situations, and even train new tricks to your dog or predict and avoid bad situations (prevention).
  • If a command is given, he must comply

    • Many people, well, most of them unfortunately, at some time may give an order to a dog, and he may ignore the command and turn his backs on you. This is unacceptable, the dog is defying you and you are being seen as inferior to the dog’s eyes, lower on the packs hierarchy. Never give an order to a dog if there’s a chance he might not comply, and you will not be able to force him to obey. For example, if you’re taking a shower and you call your dog, if he does not come, you’d better be prepared to go get him immediately, even if that means to wet your living room.
  • Consistency

    • This is of utmost importance. A behavior is either acceptable, or not. There’s no mid-term. For example, don’t allow a dog to bark in your house just because it’s daytime, to later correct him at night just because it might wake up the neighbors. Your dog won’t understand the difference and you risk him start being confused and even nervous, and a nervous dog is always unstable and won’t respond to training properly.
    • Another example is when you give your dog an old shoe to play, and later you realize that he has eaten your work shoes collection. This happens more than often, and must be avoided at all costs. Remember, a shoe is a shoe, so be consistent and don’t allow to chew “some” shoes, because your dog won’t tell the difference.
    • Be careful with the number of people that interact with your dog on a daily basis, the fewer the people the better consistency you can have. If you have a big family, you must educate the members of your family, on what is allowed the dog to do, and what is not allowed. Your family must follow these rules or you will never have a consistent and well trained dog. If you have “small” members on your family (ex: 5 or 6 years old), be prepared for a longer period of training of your dog, because consistency will be harder to get.
  • Consistency

    • I can’t stress this enough, consistency is really the top rule to have in mind when you’re training a dog. And this is valid for day-to-day interaction as well as “formal training” and obedience commands.
    • This is easier to introduce to your dog when he’s still a puppy and in an off-leash situation, when you let him run around the house freely (almost). Some people worry too much about the risk of a dog becoming a robot, well this is an unjustified worry, because as long as you’re passionate and dedicated to your dog as an animal and not as an electronic device of some sort, this will never happen, and your dog will love you more and more each day that passes by. And by the way, if your dog runs away from you and goes to a road full of cars passing by, you will want him to obey immediately.
  • More consistency

    • Yes, you must be consistent.

There's a device called PIF 300 that might help you train your dog to avoid certain areas or stay only on certain areas. It's quite useful when used properly and can be a time saver on your dog's training. Check it out and evaluate for yourself if it would be worth it or not.

After reading this post you should now have a clear idea of how to train dogs properly. Of course you won't be a trainer yet, but you'll know a lot more than most owners.