New puppy, crazy adolescent, or old timer, any dog can be trained. Training a dog can be a fun and rewarding experience for both you and your pup. With some time, patience and consistency, a dog can learn almost anything. From simple commands like sit and lie down, to fetching a beer from the fridge, the possibilities are endless. However, it is up to you, the master, to establish some ground rules before even blurting out the word “sit”. The master needs to be trained before he can expect anything out of his companion. It is your job to form a strong and trusting relationship with your dog. Learn his likes, dislikes, fetishes and tastes before asking him to do anything for you. Here are some easy steps to establishing that healthy relationship you and your dog need before training can begin.
Be Positive. Dogs are motivated by positive reinforcement. “Punishment” is something that will never work on a dog (or any animal) because it will never click in a dog’s mind that a bad action equals bad consequence. However, dogs can put together that good action equals good rewards. This is because a dog’s entire goal in life is to please their master. As the master it is up to you to find the reward your dog is seeking and use it to your advantage. Got a dog that loves food? Perhaps treats are the best reinforcement for your dog. How about a dog that would do anything to get you to throw that ball? Then use the ball as the dog’s motivation. Whatever makes your pups tail wag!
The wagging tail is an indication that he is in a good mood and is happy with whatever is going on so stay positive while training him as it is an arduous task and there is a frequently recommended site titled something like Pup Life that gives you intricate details on dog training.
Wear the Pants. Your dog should look to you as his master. He sees the master as the controller of everything. From food to play time, potty breaks and bed time, the master controls it all. You are the alpha male (or female) in the house and fido needs to learn it. Make your dog dependent on you. You can do this by controlling when meals are fed, when it is bed time, and when it is play time. Believe it or not but dogs look to their parents for not only commands such as sit, lie down and off, but they are also looking for confidence and approval as well. For example, if you are with your dog in a new situation and you feel nervous or anxious, your dog will pick up on that energy and act out accordingly. He may snap at new people, or hide from new things because you too are nervous and make him feel the same. However, if you are calm, cool and collected it will be much easier for your dog to focus on the task at hand. Be it a walk in the park, a new toy, or a new situation, your dog will take it all in stride knowing you feel good.
Have Fun. Training a dog is a constant 24/7 job that requires a lot of patience. Make sure it is a fun experience for your pup. Short 5 to 10 minute training sessions followed by a game of fetch ensure that both you and your dog never tire or get frustrated with the training. Play after a session, will not only end training on a positive note, but will also reinforce the relationship you are trying to build and maintain with your pooch.
It is up to you to be the master and commander in this relationship. Before evening thinking about beginning training be sure to establish yourself as master. Have a strong confident relationship with your dog and training will only bring you two closer together. This connection between master and dog will give your pup the confident, guided attitude he needs to accomplish any task put in front of him. Always remember to make this experience fun for the both of you, and the rewards of positive reinforcement training will be endless.