To make sure you get the most out of the relationship with your dog, it is important to teach him some important dog training skills that will help him live in harmony with you and your family. Perhaps you are teaching him things not to do like jump on people, or chew up your favorite shoes. Or, you could be teaching him basic obedience commands like ‘sit’ or ‘stay’. Whatever the case may be, here are a few tips to make your training sessions successful.
Choose Your Dog’s Name Wisely
If you want your new dog to respond to your commands, you should start by giving him the right name. Although it is important to pick a name that you love, pick one that he can easily understand as well. For training purposes, it is helpful to consider a short name ending with a strong consonant. This lets you say his name so that he always hears it clearly. Experts suggest that it is best to pick a name for a dog that has 2 syllables. This is because most commands are one syllable and it lets the dog differentiate between his name and the command. When you name your dog, also keep this in mind. Don’t pick a name that sounds similar to someone in your family or your dog is likely to get confused.
Short Training Sessions
When it is time to train your dog, keep this in mind. Training sessions should be short and sweet. This is because dogs do not have long attention spans. About 15 minutes per session is ideal. Within this time frame, you can work on mastering one skill, or switch between several different ones. The ASPCA recommends the following. Try doing 5 to 15 repetitions of one behavior and then doing 5 to 15 repetitions of another. It is also a good idea to revisit the training by doing single repetitions at various times throughout your day.
If you aren’t having fun, it is unlikely that your dog is having fun either. The emotions you need to promote through your training are safety, patience, kindness and compassion. Putting your dog through physical punishment or adverse training is unnecessary. Keep your training sessions fun and positive. If you find yourself getting angry or frustrated, simply stop for now and try again later.
Be Clear and Consistent
Dogs were not born knowing the English language. This is why it is important to be consistent in the way that you word your commands. For example, telling your dog to “sit” one time, and the next time you say “Fido, mommy wants you to sit.” What you are doing is burying the command in a complex sentence that he isn’t likely to understand. When teaching your dog a cue or command, decide on just one word or phrase to use and you and your family should stick with it.
Reinforce Spontaneous Behaviors
The idea is to reward your dog whenever you see him doing something you like. For example, whenever you see him sit or lie down you can give him a reward. When these behaviors are not asked for, rewarding them with praise, affection and treats creates behavior that acts like a magnet. Your dog will quickly learn how to attract you and your rewards, by giving you the behavior you are looking for. Initially, giving food treats may be necessary. After the behaviors have been established, reward the dog with things like taking him for a walk or playing fetch.