Many people believe dog training is hard. Many also believe that some dogs just aren’t trainable. Both views are wrong. The truth is, all dogs are trainable, and training a dog doesn’t have to be hard work. In fact, training a dog can be fun. It is of course true that some dog breeds are easier to train than others. What we reject, however, is the claim that there are dogs that cannot be trained – because that is so wrong. What we then venture to explore are some of the things you need to do to get your dog’s training right.
Parameters for measuring success
You are considered to have done the right training for your dog if you can manage to teach your pooch basic canine skills in a reasonable amount of time.
The training of your dog is still considered correct if you master the essential dog skills sustainably. In other words, if the pooch forgets the skills you’ve learned within a day, you won’t be considered very successful in your dog’s training.
The parameters by which success in dog training can be measured include:
– The time required to pass on the essential skills to the dog.
– The skills instilled in the dog.
– How long the skills are retained by the dog.
Of course, if you take too long to pass certain skills on to the dog, if you find it impossible to teach the dog certain skills, or if the dog keeps forgetting the skills he or she was taught, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t do things well. You have to remember that there are two variables at play here. The first of these is your ability, aptitude, and commitment as a dog trainer. And the second of these is your dog’s natural ability – against a backdrop where some dog breeds seem to “get” things quicker than others.
Early initiation as the key to success in dog training
Simply put, there are some skills that you can only teach a dog when he or she is young. This means that the widely held belief that puppies under the age of six months should not be trained is dead wrong. In fact, there are some skills that are difficult to teach a dog older than six months. It’s worth noting that unlike us humans, dogs are (in some ways) highly evolved animals – whose life skills learning process begins the moment they are born. Because of this, a pup that loses its mother at three months of age may be able to survive in the wild, while a human baby that lost its mother at the same age would have a very hard time surviving alone in a similar environment .
Now is the best time to start training a dog when he or she is learning basic life skills so whatever skills you want to pass on to him or her are also embraced alongside these basic canine life skills. That way, the required behaviors would be part of the dog’s personality. They would be more deeply rooted in him or her. This is not to say that an older dog cannot be trained. It’s just that you would have a harder (and less fun) time training the older pooch.
It later turns out that some of the people who end up getting the impression that their dogs aren’t trainable are people who try to teach their dogs certain skills too late in the dog’s life. If the dogs don’t select such skills, they are called dumbass – not really their fault for not being able to select the skills, it’s the fault of the trainer for not starting the training sooner.
Proper use of rewards and corrections as the key to success in dog training.
Getting to the heart of dog training, it turns out that various skills and behaviors can only be transferred and ingrained in dogs through the proper use of rewards and corrections.
The greatest reward you can give a dog is attention. And conversely, the greatest correction/punishment you can inflict on a dog is deprivation of attention.
So, if you want to get your dog to choose a certain behavior, you need to show him or her (or rather demonstrate) it, and then reward him (with attention) when he or she behaves appropriately, and at the same time punish him or her (with attention deprivation ) if or she does not behave accordingly. Even a loving look at the dog is a way to “reward” him with attention. Petting him or her is another form of attention reward. Verbally praising the pooch is another way to reward him with attention. It’s true that the dog may not understand the words, but he or she can sense the emotion behind them. Dogs seem to have this ability.
If your dog enjoyed your attention while doing something right and you withdraw that attention the moment he or she starts doing something wrong, he or she will immediately feel the reaction and make the connection between his or her misbehaviour and the deficiency for attention. He tends to correct behavior to get your attention back. These things work especially well when the dog you want to train is still young.
However, what you must not do is hit the dog as a form of punishment/correction: the simple reason for this is that the dog will not understand that being hit is a form of “punishment”. Rather, the pooch that’s been hit will assume that you’re just being violent toward him or her. If the dog continues to do things like run into the street or mess up neighbors’ things, you’d be better off finding ways to stifle his movements rather than hitting him.
Patience is the key to success in dog training
You will not be successful in dog training if you are not patient. You have to remember that dogs take some time to pick out ideas that seem too easy to us humans. There are people who have this misconception that you can only be successful in dog training if you are “tough”. On the contrary, this is one of those endeavors where kindness and the “soft approach” seem to work better than the hard, spartan approach to training.
Perseverance as the key to success in dog training
Closely related to patience (as the key to success in dog training) is persistence. You will not be successful as a dog trainer if you give up too easily – for example, if you show a dog a desired behavior and then give up if the dog doesn’t immediately accept it. The truth is that you need to show a dog a craving behavior multiple times while using the necessary reinforcements until the dog finally learns what is expected of him or her.
Consistency is the key to success in dog training
This is a scheme where you have decided, for example, on a specific reinforcement (reward or punishment) and must use it consistently so that the dog being trained understands what it actually means. One of the worst things you can do when training a dog is send mixed signals because once a dog is confused it becomes very difficult to train him or her.
Other keys to successful dog training
Additionally, you may need to do more research (online or in the library) before you can begin.
And should your home improvement efforts fail when it comes to training your dog, consider enlisting the help of a professional trainer before abandoning the dog altogether.
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