One of the most important parts of dog ownership is proper training which is why anyone who is thinking of adopting a dog should educate themselves on some dog behavior training basics. It’s critical that your dog knows that he must obey your commands because otherwise, he will be very unruly and not the true companion you want him to be. A dog that is properly trained is a joy for everyone to be around and proper training insures this in addition to your pets safety. The first thing to keep in mind when it comes to dog training is to always use positive reinforcement. You want to make sure to reward for good behavior and ignore unwanted behavior. Never punish your dog when he doesn’t do the behavior you want as this will only serve to weaken the trust he has in you. Behavior training can be a long journey and it takes patience and persistence but it is also a great opportunity for you to bond with your dog and to establish yourself as the alpha dog in the relationship. Behavior training also takes consistency so you should plan to have your training sessions at the same time and for the same length of time every day. Plan about 20 minutes per session as this is about as long as your pets attention span will be. Plan to have some fun play time afterwards as this will help solidify the bond with your dog and help him to look forward to the training sessions. You want to start with 1 command. Most people like to start with the “Sit” command as this is fairly easy and the basis for other commands. Make sure you have a lot of treats at the ready!
The trick to training is to get your dog to perform the behavior on his own. While he is doing that, you want to give the command and then when he completes the behavior, you want to give him a treat and praise him. In the case of the sit command, you would want to hold the treat in front of your pet and slowly move it up and over the top of his head. Your pets eyes will naturally follow the treat and, as they do, he will naturally sit down. As he is sitting say the command ‘Sit” and then once his back-end is down on the floor give him the treat and praise him. Repeat this several times in each training session and eventually he will sit when you issue the command even without the promise of a treat. You want to stick with 1 command during your early training sessions until he has it learned the command fully and will perform the action at any time. Then move on to the next command. Some dogs will learn right away and others might take a long time but they key is to never become frustrated or angry with your dog. You want each training session to be fun so make sure you keep a positive attitude. As you start off each session, you want your dog to go through the series of commands he already knows. This will start the session off on a positive note and build his confidence. Then move on to the new command that you are trying to teach your pet. After about 15 or 20 minutes, end the session by having your dog perform the commands he already knows. Remember that patience and persistence is key so you must commit to having a training session with your dog every day or as many days as you can. Think of this as a bonding time with your pet and a fun time for both you and your dog. One thing that is key in your training sessions is to make sure that your dog knows that you are the boss. Don’t let him take over the session or he will become very hard to train. This means that you need to be firm with your pet but don’t mistake being firm for acting in a punishing manner. Never yell at or hit your dog during training as this will have the opposite effect of what you want and will cause your dog to mistrust you. If your dogs behavior is too wild or uncontrollable during training, put him in his crate and take him out another time when he is more mellow to continue your training session.