In order to communicate with your dog for effective and successful training, you’ll need to arm yourself with some basic dog training techniques. Interaction between dogs and humans has been around for thousands of years, but sometimes it’s still a baffling process. While we all like to think that we are more intelligent, sometimes training sessions can leave a bit of confusion about who is really in charge.
A dog’s understanding can be compared to that of a two year old human child. However, a dog’s senses are not like ours. Not only do they perceive shades of red and green differently than humans, but their noses are extremely sensitive in comparison. A dog’s mind also processes information in an entirely different manner. In order to limit a trainer’s frustration and misbehavior on the dog’s part, it is critical to remember these differences.
Dogs have descended from the wolf, and as a result have a pack mentality. The expression “lone wolf” is a misnomer, as wolves and dogs are by nature social creatures, who do a lot of interaction with each other, and are ruled by a strict hierarchical structure.
Dedicate at least 30 minutes per day (one hour would be ideal) for the first few months of training. Begin when your dog is still a puppy. You can start as early as four weeks with some breeds, as long as you remember the age of your dog and accept his limitations.
When training your dog, you want to make it clear that you are the dominant one as early as possible. Dogs are pack animals by nature, and every pack has a natural pecking order. The top dog is the alpha. It is followed by the beta dog and so on. If you want sanity in your household and you want a happy dog who knows where he stands, you need to step up and be the alpha of his pack.
Depending on the breed of the dog, or sometimes the individual dog, the training technique that is used will be either more difficult or possibly easier. Some dogs are more outgoing, similar to humans. Attitude is what counts the most, though training tools like collars and leashes, and commands are also useful. Your dog should never be allowed to think he is in charge.
You shouldn’t have to use physical force to project your dominance. There are times when this may be necessary, though, it must be properly used. On a normal basis, patience and firmness are all that is needed to properly train your dog.
For puppies, try placing them into a position of submission when they are still young. Roll them onto their backs, and put your hand firmly in the middle of the chest. When they lower their paws, this signals a sigh of submission. You can go further by placing your face directly in front of theirs, emulating dominant dog behavior.
Begin by using a short leash which will hinder the dog’s natural tendency to run and play. It is essential to allow some free time for the dog to run in order to promote good health however. Initially, this time should be scheduled before or after training but not during.
The first step is to choose a series of short and sweet commands, like sit, stay, down, and come. Each should sound distinctly different to avoid confusion between them. Your voice should be firm but not punitive. Make sure that you communicate that you’re the boss, but not that you are mad at the dog. Stay away from using two-worded commands like ‘sit down’ because they tend to confuse the dog.
When you give a verbal command, make sure your facial expression and tone of voice are consistent and use the same hand signals. Ultimately you can separate these from one another, but initially simplicity and consistency are key.
Don’t expect much more from a two-year-old dog than you would a two-year-old human. Neither of them can be expected to understand subtle hints or inconsistent speech. Be persistent and do it the same way, every time. Don’t let the same command have more than one meaning. It really doesn’t matter if you use the command ‘down’ to mean ‘lie down’ or ‘stop jumping up on people,’ as long as you don’t try to use the same word for both.
These dog training techniques combined with your patience and persistence will pay off in spades with a dog that is obedient and a fun to be around. Using these techniques will give you a better sense of understanding for your pet and will become a base of communication for a lifetime of friendship.
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