Train your dog with the best techniques
Nowadays, there is more than one way to achieve good training results with your dog. But why is it that some dog owners have so much more difficulty successfully training their dog than others? Are they just not good enough to communicate with each other?
An article from time.com brought an excerpt from the book "TIME How Dogs Think: Inside the Canine Mind", where the author explains that humans and dogs have a very special bond, which enables humans to understand the language of dogs very well.
Therefore, it is not completely impossible to communicate with them. Perhaps a better understanding of or guidance on which training methods are effective is simply lacking. Perhaps the coach also needs to be trained a bit.
Also remember that, just like in any other close relationship, you play an important role. Communication goes both ways – and the more you give, the more you get back.
When to start?
Most experts agree that you should start training your dog as early as when it is a puppy. By the time the puppy is 2 months old, it is ready to learn as its brain is about 80% fully developed and will continue to develop in the following weeks.
It is also easier to train dogs when they are young than when they are older, bigger and stronger – and more stubborn in their nature.
Can you train an old dog?
Despite the saying "you can't teach an old dog new skills", some dog trainers have actually had great success training older adopted dogs. It helps when you allow your new shaggy friend enough time to get to know his new surroundings.
If your dog does not fully trust you, it may be a good idea not to start with the classic training (sit, cover, stay, come here, etc.), but instead start by changing the dog's temperament by letting it teach you to know first. In this way, the dog will hopefully become more open to you and begin to trust you - and then obey your commands.
How to train your dog successfully?
Well, let's get to the 10 tips that can help you successfully train your dog's behavior.
There are of course differences in how fast and how good results you can get, depending on the age, breed and temperament of the dog, but these techniques have been proven effective by many dog trainers over time.
1. Set the ground rules early
If you allow your dog to get away with a certain behavior while they are still settling into the home, it will be more difficult to change the behavior later. It is therefore important that you decide on the rules for the dog already before the dog comes home.
- Can the dog sleep in the bed or in your bedroom?
- Can the dog sit on the sofa?
- Which areas of the house are off-limits to the dog?
2. Have realistic expectations
Remember that you cannot change your dog's behavior in a single day. It takes time, especially if you struggle with instinctive behaviour, such as the dog making fun of people, jumping up on guests or digging in the garden. It may take time to change, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.
This also applies if you are trying to train a behavior or habit that you have allowed for too long, but now want to change. For example, if you have previously allowed the dog to sleep in the bed, perhaps for several years, then you cannot expect the dog to understand the new rule immediately.
3. Give them freedom gradually
A mistake that some owners fall into is giving the dog too much freedom too quickly. If the dog is allowed to come and go as it pleases from the start, they can easily find a lot to mess with and gnaw on - especially when they are puppies! If you don't set limits from the start, it can be difficult to introduce later and make behavior training more difficult.
It is a good idea to limit the puppy's area as soon as they arrive at home. It may be that the dog is only allowed to be in certain rooms in the house, which are secured against accidents. Some also use a cage for their dogs, not as punishment, but as a small cave they can hide in if they seek security.
When your dog learns to follow your rules and has become the owner, you can start to give him a little more freedom and more space to move around.
4. Provide a relaxed and private area
Do what you can to make the dog feel comfortable in its new home. Give the dog its own private sleeping area where it can go for alone time. It can again be a cage or a dog basket or a mat. As much as possible, try to give dogs a place that is only for them and not for other pets or people in the household.
Having a place all to themselves can be very helpful for puppies or adopted dogs who come from a busy and noisy environment. A trick that can make the puppy more relaxed in their new home is to place a ticking clock near their dog basket and give them a warm bottle of water to sleep by. It is a way of imitating the warmth of its siblings, which the puppy has been used to feeling close to it.
5. Be consistent
One of the best training tips for dog behavior is that everyone in the household must agree on, and be ready to introduce, the same rules for the dog. It is important that everyone uses the same commands and praises and scolds with the same words - and on the same basis. If the dog is allowed something from one person, but not another, it can quickly become confused.
Dogs are also good at living in the present. This means that they quickly forget what they just did a few minutes earlier. If the dog has done something wrong, it is therefore best to react and correct the dog immediately. Otherwise, the dog cannot make the connection between its action and your negative reaction. The same applies to praise and positive reactions when the dog does something correctly during training. Being consistent and repeating exercises over and over is therefore an important part of the puppy's learning process.
6. Give specific and clear commands
Since dogs are not good at generalizing, it is better to give specific commands instead of just saying "no". For example, if your dog jumps up at the guests when they step inside. So instead of saying "no", you say "sit". By telling the dog what you want it to do, you avoid the dog becoming confused and unsure what exactly you mean when you just say "no".
7. Pay attention and listen to your dog
It is always good to be aware of how your dog reacts and responds in certain situations. They act the way they do for a reason, so learn to listen to them. For example, your puppy may not like certain treats, and that is why he is not excited when you give them as a reward. Or it could be that your puppy gets restless when you introduce him to new people or animals. Never force the dog to go beyond its limits and always respect its feelings. By being aware of what makes the dog happy and what leads to negative reactions, you will be able to understand your dog more easily and be able to work with it better.
8. Always reward good behavior
Positive training is recommended by most dog trainers as it confirms the dog in what it is doing correctly instead of focusing on the mistakes. You can use treats, toys, walks or petting and words of praise (more on that in the next tip).
Some dog owners worry that the repeated treat or pet becomes a bribe rather than a reward. But it doesn't have to end that way. You can always scale back the rewards once the puppy has learned what good and correct behavior is. To begin with, you give the reward every time until the dog understands what you are giving it for. Then you only give a reward sometimes, while other times you only confirm that the dog is skilled and did the correct thing.
Also remember not to show the treat or the toy until the dog has earned it. In this way, the dog learns that it will only be rewarded for good behaviour.
9. Be generous with love and affirmation
Sometimes dog owners tend to give the dog more attention for bad behavior than good behavior. This is of course because it can be frustrating and stressful when the puppy doesn't seem to learn even after weeks of training. You feel like showing your disappointment and frustration.
But because of your frustration, you can easily end up not rewarding and affirming the dog enough when he finally does something good. And that is a big mistake. It is very important, and helps enormously in training, when you show your dog that it has behaved well. Give them a pat, lots of words of praise or play with them for a few minutes. This can make the puppy much more eager and ready to work hard in your next training session.
10. Avoid outdated training techniques
Although there is of course still debate about which training method is best for dogs, there are certain training methods that you should avoid because they are harmful and based on old and incorrect information about dogs and dog behavior.
- To show the dog that you are the "alpha" in the relationship, so that the dog does not become "dominant." Many recent research studies show that harsh training methods do not work and only affect your relationship with the dog negatively.
- To train with intimidation and pain. By using shock collars or choke collars, you not only damage the relationship and trust between you and your dog, but you can also physically harm it.
- To rub the dog's nose in its misfortune. No matter how difficult it may be to toilet train the dog, rubbing their nose in it is never effective.
- Hitting the dog doesn't help either. It only makes the dog afraid of you, and the dog probably won't even understand the connection between the accident and your anger.
- Skipping the treats. The most effective way to teach the dog how to behave is by using food. You therefore do not give yourself an easier workout by omitting the treats.
It takes two to tango
Sometimes we humans have the tendency to expect our dogs to immediately know what we mean and how we want our pets to behave. Therefore, it is good to remember that the dog does not necessarily understand you immediately.
Good training requires both that the dog tries to understand you - and that you try to understand your dog. Train yourself to observe and listen to your dog, be open to learning more about your dog and how best to handle it. Perhaps its breed has certain behavioral patterns that you might benefit from knowing. If you feel completely lost and nothing is working, seek professional help.
Several experts also recommend that you build a relationship with the dog before you start training certain tricks and skills. With a good and loving relationship with your dog, you have a better foundation for trusting and successful training and communication between you both.
As dog owners, we want the best for our dogs. That is why we at Siccaro have developed several quality products that make everyday life with a dog easier - for both you and the dog. Our drying blankets and drying mats dry the dog's fur in just 15-20 minutes - and make bathing, swimming and walks in the rain much easier and less stressful.