Who doesn’t love dogs? We all do. We love them and adore them for everything they do, from their unconditional affection to playful behavior and zest for life. The best friend of humans is ultimately a very different being with a different set of behaviors like jumping up to greet, barking, digging, and chewing-that are not acceptable in some social settings. To live the best and comfortable life with your dog, you need to teach it some important skills that will help your pal behave.
To train your dog, you need to learn how to train it first. Training using the right techniques will improve both of your life and enhance the bond between you and your dog. Additionally, it ensures the dog’s safety as a trained dog knows suitable reactions in a situation. The key to success here is good communication and dogs are anyway eager to learn which makes your task easier. Your dog needs to understand what you expect from it, how you want her to behave, and why? What will she get by following your commands?
How to do it?
If you ask anyone or even on the internet there is a bunch of content available. And the unlimited tips you can get from people, who will tell you to be the alpha dog while training your dog so that you can make it clear that you are the dominant leader between both of you. Or, to use a firm hand and be strict with your dog to make it realize that it can not get away with undesired behavior and so many pieces of advice, some from those who have never even kept a dog. But this is obedience training simplified, so here is the simple guide to training your dog.
Sure there are various techniques, strategies, and tricks you can use to train your dog, but everything comes down to one concept, controlling the consequences of your dog’s behavior. If you want to change your dog’s behavior you need to control its consequences. Here is how-
- Reward behaviors that you like.
- Take away rewards for behaviors you do not want to encourage.
- Understand how your dog understands you.
Often pet owners complain that their dog just won’t listen to them. But think about it from your canine’s perspective. Whatever you say to them is a foreign language no matter how many times or in what volume you say it in. That is where you lose their attention.
To communicate clearly with your dog, you need to meet them at their level and understand how they learn. Dogs learn things through the consequences of their behavior. How a certain behavior plays out for them, in their favor or against will decide how they will behave in the future. Dogs only know one language, that is where they receive something good. And they are smart enough to avoid bad things in life. If a certain behavior results in a good outcome like a treat or appreciation, a reward of any kind, or a game of fetch, they will do that behavior more often. On the other hand, if a certain behavior results in an unfavorable consequence like being losing a reward or not getting appreciated- your dog will understand the message and do that behavior less often.
Reward the desired behavior
Some training methods use negative reinforcements to get the dog to understand which behaviors are unacceptable. The negative reinforcements include leash corrections and scolding. Those are done to discourage some particular behaviors. Other methods focus on helping dogs understand what exactly you want them to do. The latter is usually the more effective approach and proven way for strengthening your bond with your dog. It is also much more enjoyable for both of you.
For example, you can easily teach your dog to sit when people approach it during walks by rewarding it with treats, games, and praise. That is a much efficient way of training that works without any pain or intimidation imposed on the dog.
Using pain and force on the dog to teach it something can easily backfire. The dog might conclude that people are scary with the simple cause and effect relation between it getting hurt whenever someone approaches and may try to drive people away by growling or barking every time they approach.
Your dog may even connect the hurt to you as you hurt her whenever she tries to greet people.
If there is a way to teach your dog polite manners without being rude or hurting her, why not do it? Instead of focusing on punishing your dog for what you do not want her to do, focus on teaching your dog what you expect her to do. What is the behavior your desire? By rewarding your dog every time it does something right, you will get the perfect response, that too, without damaging the relationship between you and your pal.
Take rewards away for undesired behavior.
Along with giving the rewards, you must teach your dog that those rewards can be taken away if it misbehaves. To discourage unwanted behavior, you do not have to inflict any kind of pain, just do not reward any unwanted behavior ever. Dogs are simple creatures, and so are their motivations. Reward means a green light; no Reward means a red.
They do what works in their favor. To get attention, they jump and lick a person. But they can learn not to jump up if the person ignores them and rewards them when it stays calm. It is simple math, and dogs get it. That is why rewarding works. Sure, negative reinforcement techniques work, too, but is it really worth it to damage your bond with the little guy to get a certain behavior.