Obedience training pertains to a wide range of skills and techniques of teaching dogs, quite literally, how to be obedient. It might include tricks, manners and show ring exercises. But for starters, every home pet dog should know and be able to follow at least five commands and skills namely: to sit, to come down, to stay, to come and to walk on a leash. If you can teach your dog these basic skills and commands, you can ensure a peaceful cohabitation in the home with an obedient dog.
To achieve these, here are some helpful guidelines for training your dog.
Choose a permanent set of command words when first teaching your dog so as not to confuse them. You can stick with the normal command words like sit, stay, roll-over or you can devise a unique set of commands for your dog. Just be mindful to tell other members of the family of the command words you’re teaching your dog so they can use them as well.
Start with easy commands
Starting with simple commands is recommended. Once they start responding, you can then add in the three D’s (distance, duration and distractions) to ensure that they are internalizing what command you’re teaching them.
For example, your dog can now sit when it is told to sit. You can test the skill out further by trying to repeat the command when your dog is in the presence of other dogs or family members. If they obey, it means that you’re well on your way.
Use treats (such as food or toys) as rewards
Giving your dog such positive reinforcement will communicate that they are doing something good. Other forms of reward like verbal praise or ear and tummy scratching are also useful reinforcements especially if your dog is not much into dog treats.
Dole out rewards sporadically
Doling out your rewards unpredictably will be more effective as dogs tend to be more motivated when they get unexpected rewards. This will also inculcate the idea that only the best behavior will get rewards which would motivate them to want to please you more by sitting faster or coming to you faster when called. You can eventually phase out food rewards and replace them with affirmative words or a scratch behind the ear.
Don’t hit or physically punish your dog.
You might think hitting jerking or your dog will make them more obedient but it won’t. Instead such actions may lead the dog to fear you. And there’s a great difference between an obedient and fearful dog. Remember to keep your cool during and outside training sessions. Consistent training will still be the best way for your dog to learn to obey and respect you.
Keep on practicing
As emphasized earlier, consistency is key to the success of your dog’s obedience training. Your dog might lose what you’ve taught it over the years especially if you don’t use the commands you taught them often. You can continue regular practice by giving them commands when you take them out for walks or socialization at the dog park.
Follow these tips and you’ll surely be able to train your dog to follow basic commands. An obedient dog will be a joy to have at home and will ensure that it can live peacefully with the rest of your family and even other pets.