When it comes to training your dog, it is a continuous learning process. There will always be new and unexpected obstacles and challenges when it comes to teaching your dog new tricks or habits. Whether you are trying to potty train your puppy, or teach your dog to sit when you ask, there are several tips you can use to help reinforce positive behavior, and establish a strong connection between you and your furry friend.
Using positive reinforcement when training your dog essentially means to acknowledge and reward good behavior, rather than punishing your dog for bad behavior. For example, when your dog correctly follows a command, or acts the way that you want them to (even if they don’t realize it), reward them with something good that they like. This reward can be a treat, butt scratches, verbal praise, or a new toy that you picked up. Eventually, your dog will make the connection between the good behaviors and the good things that they like (like treats, toys, praise, etc). Make sure to avoid reinforcing bad behavior by accident. As an example, if your dog sits when you ask them to, but immediately starts jumping afterwards and expects a reward because they know they did well, repeat the process until the bad behavior is corrected and then reward them.
Although dogs can’t talk, they still have their ways of communicating with us and telling us what they need, what they want, what they’re feeling, and what they don’t like. There are many indicators that help us see what our dogs are feeling. For example, when a dog has their tail between their legs, that is a sign that they are scared, nervous, anxious, or uncomfortable in a situation. This may come from being around a lot of people at once, meeting new dogs, or any other situation that you are aware of that can cause this behavior in your dog. On the other hand, we all know that dogs wag their tails when they are happy and alert. Most dogs will also have their ears high and facing forward when they are alert and actively listening.
In an effort to establish trust between you and your dog, try your best to avoid situations that you know make your dog uneasy or uncomfortable. For example, if you know that your dog becomes afraid around other dogs, try to avoid interactions where another dog is present until they show you that they are growing accustomed to new dogs. Create a safe space and environment for your dog so they can get to know you and learn to trust you because you are able to listen to them and see the signs they are giving you.
We’ve all heard the saying, “consistency is key” before, but this is very true when it comes to training your dog successfully. When you begin the process of training your dog, it is important to determine exactly what the DOs and DON’Ts are for them. Once these are agreed on, it is crucial to stay consistent with your commands, rewards, and making sure that you are reinforcing the distinction between good and bad behavior from your dog. An important element of consistency are the keywords that you choose to associate with commands and behaviors. For example, different people train their dog to lay down by using different commands such as “down”, “lay down”, or “lay”. To us, these commands are all very similar, but when choosing a keyword, make sure to stay consistent in its use to avoid confusion between you and your dog.
Training your dog can be stressful, frustrating, and difficult, but that’s normal! It’s never easy to go through the process of training your dog on your own. To alleviate this stress, make training your dog fun! After short training sessions, reward your pup and yourself with a trip to the park, a relaxing walk, or a play session. If the training session was that exhausting, reward yourselves with a nap! Experiment with new treats, toys, and ways to play with your dog to keep them excited and on their toes about their day. Training your dog should be fun and enjoyable because in the end, you are building a strong connection with your pup like no one else will ever get to experience, so make it enjoyable for the both of you!
If you are struggling with training your dog and having success, reach out to a professional dog training service near you! There are many dog training services that are offered, and some companies tailor their training directly to you and your pups’ needs.
At COME. SIT. STAY in Jacksonville, we offer in-home dog training services to provide you with the ultimate dog training experience from the comfort of your own home. Our in-home dog training services offer the optimal bonding and connection experience between you and your furry friend because they feel safe and comfortable in their home environment. Our in-home dog training also allows our trainers to get a better understanding of your dogs’ behavior to more accurately determine a training plan that is customized to you and your dog. To learn more about COME. SIT. STAY and our services, click here, and also schedule your free in-home consultation! Visit our Facebook page for all the latest updates and news about us and what we have to offer you and your pup!