As most dog owners will tell you — getting your puppy to sit for the first time can be challenging. Some will get it after just a few nudges on the back, but with most, it can take days and days of shouting, offering treats, and disappointment.
Well, there are several tips we can give you to make dog training easier.
1. Choose quiet surroundings
The most common mistake people make when teaching their dog anything from scratch is not paying attention to their surroundings. Even though you are fully concentrated towards them and don’t mind the passing cars or birds — they do, and very much so.
Take care that at least the first tricks and techniques you teach your dog are done in a quiet room, preferably with only you and the dog present. Even doing it outside in a quiet yard can be problematic as their heightened sense of smell and hearing means their attention can still be divided among several things, you being just one of them!
2. Be patient
Dogs, the same as humans, learn through repeating. Expecting that your young dog (or even a mature one) can learn a new trick on their first try is asking too much. Some will manage to complete the task without much fuss, but it takes several hours, or even days, for a certain command to stick to a certain action.
So be patient, like you would be with any child learning something new.
3. Give treats
Though some people opt for punishing rather than rewarding, it is much more common and pleasant to treat our puppy when he does something right, instead of scolding him for doing wrong.
Make sure you have an appropriate treat ready to give at a moment’s notice.
Sometimes, it takes several tries to find what brand of treats or piece of meat draws their attention most, but a short comparative experiment can quickly solve it.
4. Use professional equipment
If you have a large yard or take your dog outdoors often, you have probably encountered the problem of them running too far away to listen to you, or they have maybe been upsetting by people or dogs walking past.
In that case, or when teaching not to run too far, you would need dog collars that are easy and quick to use. Dogs wearing them can learn very quickly not to wander too far, especially if you reward them with a treat as soon as they return.
5. Start with the basics
However, tempting it is to teach a dog to fetch a ball or a stick; dogs should first and foremost be taught “proper manners.”
Start with commands not to bark or jump on guests (as some people would rather not even visit then), to sit and go to their place when ordered, and, of course, proper potty training if they are living indoors.
From those basics, it is much easier and more pleasant to teach them how to do any more complex tricks as both you and they will have established a working method of learning.
6. Know when to be strict
Even though they are considered our best friends, dogs are still animals and need to be treated. A dog will not be taught anything through reasoning or explanations, and knowing their place in the “pack” is important.
To achieve some goals with them, you may need to establish dominance through force. Now, force never means beating your dog, but shouting or a stern posture are “shows of force” and need to be used if your dog disobeys.
7. Socialize your dog
Unless you live in a very remote location, chances are you frequently encounter people with your dog. Be it guests coming over, you two going for a walk, or just random passers-by next to the fence — your dog will meet other people and animals.
It is good practice to stand close to your dog when he is introduced to new people arriving so that he sees your reaction and doesn’t act aggressively towards friends or too welcoming towards others.
Make sure your dog doesn’t feel like he has to defend his territory from other dogs who are visiting, as that will could make your dog hostile towards other K-9s in general.
8. Consult an expert
If you are not sure about how to train your dog or your dog is too stubborn for you to handle — call in an expert.
“Dog whisperers” have been around for a long time, and many have enough experience and attitude to change a dog’s behavior in a matter of hours.
Guard dogs and hunting dogs especially benefit from professional training since they frequently encounter very stressful situations.
Make dog training easier
Man’s best friend is not only a figure of speech, and it can be the definition of our relationship with dogs.
Their devoted affection is often returned in the same manner, and it is only befitting we teach them manners and tricks when we are already getting so much joy from them.