5 Quick Ways to Start Dog Training
Whether you’re a new fur parent or an experienced one, you should know that when it comes to pets, training never stops. So for training to be successful and efficient, it helps to have a plan.
Why Train My Dog?
There are many reasons why you would want to train your dog. For starters, it’s a great way to spend time with your pet. It’s also a great way to teach them how to behave in different situations.
Some people train their pets because they want their fur babies to live in their house or apartment without causing any damage or problems for the humans living there. Others might do it because they want their dog to be able to go on walks without pulling on the leash and hurting themselves or others (or getting lost). And then some want their dogs to be happy, healthy, and well-behaved.
How to Train My Dog
There are many ways how to train a dog successfully. Because all dogs are different, one training method may not work for every canine. If you’re a beginner, you’d likely be looking for easy ways to train a dog because let’s be honest - dog training can be a daunting task.
These dog training tips may help you get started.
Step 1: Understand why your dog does what they do.
It’s easy to say your dog is chewing on the furniture and you want the behavior corrected. But without understanding why they do it, training may not be very effective.
For example, your dog may exhibit the behavior when he’s frustrated. Or a young puppy may do it to relieve teething pain. They could be hungry, bored, or not understanding that they’re not supposed to. These situations call for different solutions. If you haven’t identified the root of the issue, you may use the wrong solution. That would not only be frustrating for you when it doesn’t work. You may also end up just confusing your dog.
Step 2: Identify what type of training is needed by your dog.
There are many different ways to train a dog. Once you’ve identified the cause of the problem, it’s easier to pick the required training.
1. Obedience Training
As the name suggests, this obedience training lets your dog learn the basic commands and, more importantly, follow these commands consistently and effectively.
Puppies typically have short attention spans. However, they can still learn the more simple commands like “sit” and “down.” Knowing the basic commands as soon as possible will not only let you have better control of your dog, it’s also the best foundation if you plan on teaching more complex ones in the future.
The basic commands taught in obedience training include:
- No (or “Leave it!”)
This may also cover home, crate, and leash training.
When is obedience training needed? It’s recommended that all pet dogs be trained for basic obedience. It will help with mental stimulation. Training also serves as exercise, which is particularly beneficial for high-energy breeds.
Obedience training can be started as early as 7-8 weeks.
2. Behavior Modification
This training method is used to change dog behavior. Specifically, it’s meant to modify undesirable traits your dog is exhibiting. This could include, but is not limited to:
- Excessive and incessant barking
- Compulsive and destructive chewing
- Anti-social behavior
- Peeing and pooping in the house
Simply put, obedience training starts with a clean slate. It’s teaching dogs how to interact with humans and the world. Behavior modification considers already existing behavior that may be undesirable and replaces them with more appropriate ones.
3. Refresher Training
Your dog may be new to you. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your dog’s first rodeo. This is especially true if you’ve adopted a dog or rescued one. These dogs may know their basic commands already but might also need a refresher as they acclimatize to their new owner and surroundings.
4. Advanced Training
This is recommended for dogs that have already mastered basic commands and can follow them consistently. It’s another way to ease their boredom and give your dog mental stimulation while learning new skills.
Some of the advanced-level skills a dog may learn are off-leash training, distance training, and service dog training.
Step 3: Decide on where and who does the training.
Dog training can be done with a certified dog trainer or behaviorist at a training facility. Group class training has the benefit of helping your dog socialize with other dogs. It also trains them to focus even with distractions from other animals.
The only downside to a group class is not all the lessons may fit your dog’s needs. There may be times that the lesson is something you are not particularly interested in or something you don’t think your dog needs.
Another option is in-home training. This is great for building a relationship of trust between you and your dog. However, training yourself may be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t before. Fortunately, many dog training resources are available online, from videos to e-books and the like. You can also ask for guidance from a dog trainer.
Step 4: Get the necessary training equipment.
Whether you choose to train your dog with a professional or do it yourself, it’s crucial to have the proper dog training tools.
What are the essential dog training equipment and tools?
A good training school or professional trainer will usually tell you what equipment and supplies are needed before class. These usually include:
- Dog collar – flat buckle or snap collars work best, holds your dog’s ID tag
- Dog leash – snap-on makes it easier to put on dogs, four to six feet in length
- Long leash – to allow for exploration and extra walking room
- Treats – rewards to keep your canine motivated
- Harness – helps deter pulling and makes guiding movement easier if you have a larger or stubborn dog
Some other things you can add to the list, especially if you’re training your dog yourself:
Again, bear in mind that while it’s a great dog training aid, e collars or shock collars are not recommended for very young pups. You should also only use it if your dog already knows the basic commands. If you decide to add one to your training gear, here are some of the best e collars for dogs.
- Dogtra 200C – best for small to medium dogs, this Dogtra collar has a ½-mile range that’s great for training in backyards as well as local parks. The low to medium stimulation is ideal for dogs with sensitive and normal temperaments.
- Dogtra 280C – the big brother to the 200C, this e-collar has 127 levels of static stimulation.
- Dogtra 200NCPT PetsTEK Edition – this remote trainer comes with static, vibration, and tone options!
- E-Collar Technologies ET-300 – the Mini Educator is a favorite among trainers and pet owners alike. It comes with a distinctive round ergonomic receiver that’s easy-to-use and waterproof. This Educator collar comes in 3 variants – yellow, Zen, and black.
- E-Collar Technologies ET-800 – aptly called The Boss, the ET-800 is best for bigger dogs.
- E-Collar Technologies PG-300 – if you’re unsure about using shock in training, you can opt to try this Pager Only Educator collar. Instead of static, it uses vibration to mark commands.
- SportDog 425X – with a 500-yard range and 21 levels of static stimulation plus vibration and tone options, this small and lightweight remote training collar is expandable and can handle up to 3 dogs with a single remote.
- Dogwatch BigLeash S-15 – great for basic and intermediate training both, this remote e-collar has a ½-mile range and a visual range indicator.
Finally, make sure you have your training guide ready and create a training plan.
Step 5: Decide on a schedule and implement your training plan.
Dogs thrive on consistency.
- It helps lessen your dog’s anxiety.
- It helps foster effective communication between you and your dog.
Dogs do not understand human language. But they can learn to respond to verbal cues. The trick is constant repetition partnered with the desired action.
So set a schedule for training and stick to it. Give clear commands to avoid confusing your dog.
The dog training process may be long or short, depending on how quickly your pet picks up what is taught. It will require a lot of patience on your part. When things get frustrating for both of you, stop and try again later.
Don’t give up. Remember, well-trained dogs live happier, healthier, more fulfilled lives.