Training your dog can either be a chore or a bonding experience for you and your pet, depending on how you approach the activity. By keeping some general training tips in mind, you can make the learning process enjoyable and beneficial for both you and your dog.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement training techniques. By rewarding your dog for a good behavior when teaching a new skill, you can help him understand what you want from him and encourage him to continue looking to you for guidance.
Conduct Short Training Sessions
Dogs, puppies especially, lose interest in learning after a few minutes. Keep training sessions short and concentrated so your dog does not become bored or frustrated.
Provide Meaningful Rewards
While some dogs are extremely food-motivated, others enjoy playtime, toys or physical affection more than anything. When you find out what your dog loves, you can use it to reward him after a good training session.
When teaching a dog a new skill or command, take small steps. For example, if you'd like to teach your dog to come when called, begin by keeping your dog on a leash, close to you. Then you can go off-leash, in a fenced in yard, before moving on to the next step. Set your dog up for success by going slowly and not letting him get overwhelmed in the process.
Be Consistent Verbally
After you've taught your dog a new skill, make sure you use the same verbal command each time. Everyone in your family should be familiar with what and how your dog communicates and understands your commands. Since dogs don't understand conversation, only commands, the words that you use should always be simple and consistent.
Olivia Kight is an experienced online and print writer and editor. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2012, and has worked on education, family life and counseling publications. She also gained valuable knowledge shadowing a zoo veterinarian and grooming and socialize show dogs, and now spends her time writing and training her spunky young labradoodle, Booker.