Dog Training Basics
- Use positive reinforcement. Studies have shown that, as a rule, positive reinforcement is the best method for dog training. Positive reinforcement focuses on rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. Whenever your dog behaves well and responds positively to your commands, reward them. Rewarding this good behavior reinforces the association between good behavior and good things.
- Find a good reward. Dogs crave love, attention, and affection from their human family. Rewarding their good behavior with these should make your pet happy and lead to successful training. You can occasionally use dog treats too.
- Be consistent. Being consistent in your training is incredibly important. Being consistent includes the manner you use to train your dog. For example, when asking your dog to do something, use the same commands and intonation as much as possible.
- Do not inadvertently reward unwanted behavior. For example, if your dog is barking or jumping on you for attention, wait until they have calmed down before interacting with them.
- Keep everyone in the household on the same page. Your dog will become confused if they are handled differently by each household member. For example, if you never feed your dog at the table but your partner does, your dog won’t understand that begging at the table is not wanted behavior. Your training time will be wasted. So, keep everyone in the household updated on your training and educate them on the importance of training your dog.
Keep Dog Training Fun
Dog training should always be fun, both for you and your dog. Keep it positive, and try mixing things up to keep it interesting, such as incorporating short play sessions into your training in between repetitions. Positive training sessions will keep you and your dog in a good mood. It will also keep you motivated to continue to do more training with them.
Dog Training for Older Dogs
There is a common misconception that dog training does not work on older dogs. That is not true. If you have an older dog, it may take a bit longer to learn a new trick or command, but it is certainly not impossible. The key to successfully training an older dog is much the same as any other dog: patience and positivity. When you keep your cool and keep it fun, you can train your dog in almost anything, regardless of their age.
Get Professional Help
If you are struggling with dog training, get professional help. There is a reason that seeing a professional dog trainer is generally the fastest and easiest way to improve your dog’s behavior. While this one-on-one help is highly effective, it can also be quite expensive.
Another option is to enroll them in a dog training class that you attend with them. A training class will give you a foundation to continue training your dog independently.
Training your dog is a large part of being a good pet parent. Help us celebrate National Train Your Dog month by following these tips and passing them on to others. Keep it fun and keep it positive. We wish you success in your dog training adventure in 2022.
If you have any questions or need any veterinary services, contact us. We are here for you and look forward to positively impacting you and your pet’s lives anyway we can.
Dr. Kathryn Moriarty & Team
Aspen Veterinary Clinic