Sit. Stay. Rollover. Play Dead. Fetch. These are the basic tricks you often hear dog owners tell their pets to do (some with... questionable success) followed by treats or verbal praise/physical touch.
How awesome is that! This page is dedicated to helping you understand the methods as well as teaching you how to train your dog to do them.
Note: Before we progress further, please DO NOT MIX DIFFERENT TRAINING METHODS ON YOUR DOG. IT WILL MESS UP HIS MIND! Remember: Consistency is key!
There are just a few real keys to dog training, most of which are relatively easy to master. The most important thing is in understanding the importance of the keys; this is critical to achieving long lasting, rapid results and help develop your bond with your dog. Remember also, that there are not bad dogs, only poorly equipped dog owners. It all comes down to treatment and training.
1. you must win your dogs mind. If you don’t achieve this first then the rest of the steps will be difficult.
When I say winning your dogs mind, what I mean is to have your dog look to you for decisions (i.e you're the pack leader).
Also, have a look at the 5 Golden rules to understand why you must take the mantle of pack leader. If not it would be fairly difficult to win your dog over; Chances are your dog won't listen to you and they'll do their own thing.
You can argue that your dog listens 90% of the time. But if you want a dog who always listens to you and does as you ask ALL THE TIME then you must win your dogs mind.
2. The second key to success is motivating your dog. Its important to discover what your dog enjoys as both rewards and exercise.
Some dogs love fetch; others love agility, obedience training, or retrieving (from the water). Start finding out what your dogs love and help them develop this! Also, make training enjoyable reward your dog.
The three main rewards are:
Food- anything from a single dry biscuit to a whole piece of sausage!
Affection- pats, cuddles, lots of high verbal praise
Toys- games, throwing a stick or object, chasing your dog etc
Your dog will always work harder if you are fair in training. Even if you do not want to use food, you should make sure that you use affection accordingly when your dog does well.
If you're lucky, your dog will love all 3 types. Vary the rewards for especially powerful associations!
If you want to use food rewards, follow these simple tips:
-Always vary food treat rewards.
-Do not give food rewards every time. Instead, you can alternate between any of the 3 reward styles, especially if your dog loves all 3 types.
-Never let your dog know what the reward is. So don't wave that chunk of meat in his face!
-If your dog doesn’t come first time then do not give them the reward. If not he'll be expecting you to go over i.e he's your boss.
Timing is absolutely crucial! While we understand that our actions will lead to positive rewards, dogs don't.
So, when you reward your dog, you must do it within 1.5 seconds to allow them to associate treats as a positive reward.
3. Practice. Learning how to encourage behavior that is closer to what you want than the last is the third key to success.
Again this is where rewards come in handy: Motivate and then show your dog what you want!
For a more structured learning course on basic dog handling and training, have a look at our course here!
I hope this helps in your journey to train your beloved dog! You can also just leave a comment if you have any questions for me and i'll do my best to answer! Till then, have a good time with your dog!