So, you have a dog and now its time to start teaching them tricks. Anything better than having them respond to their name would be nice, but getting into more advance techniques would be great, too. But how do you get started? If you’re someone who has never had experience with dog training, then there are certain rules that you need to follow that will make the learning experience much more pleasurable for you, and your dog.
Taking on this type of learning is good for both dogs and people. It further builds a bond with dog and owner and helps the two spend some quality time together now, and the ability to experience a wider variety of things in the future. But teaching your canine these tricks also builds confidence and discipline in them. At the same time, it helps to develop their social skills. These skills will come into play when they encounter both strangers and other canines.
Hopefully, you will be working with a puppy. Dogs learn much more quickly when they are young. They are eager to please and enjoy new concepts. To a pup, everything is an adventure and they want to get involved in everything, so capitalize on this sponge mentality that they have. That’s not to say that it has to be a puppy: “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” isn’t always the case.
If you are going to be working with a puppy you have to take things slow. They are absorbent in their thinking and learning patterns, but they also have the attention span of a gnat. Leaning has to be accomplished in small blocks with some free time in between. Don’t rush it, and above all don’t get impatient. They want to learn, but like little kids, they have their limits. Work on skills for a brief time and then let them play their hearts out for a while. You’ll get much more accomplished than trying to drill it into them.
Where you conduct your training is equally important. It is best to keep things familiar so if they are an inside animal, start the sessions inside. You will have a much more focused animal in this environment than placing them outside from the beginning. As things progress, you can move things outdoors where there is more room for the more active lessons.
Make sure to keep a good schedule with your exercises. It is better to train them before they eat so that the treats have more of an effect on them. Plus, they won’t fell lethargic from having just eaten. Earlier in the day is also a better time to conduct things. They are more attentive and, naturally, have more energy.
Keep in mind that certain breeds of dogs learn at a different pace. Some dogs, like Labradors for instance, are known for being extremely intelligent. They will go out of their way to please their owners. They learn quickly and once they have a skill, it is ingrained in them forever. Unfortunately, there are some breeds that simply do not possess that same ability to pick up new things. Above all, be patient. Every animal wil pick things up, eventually.
It is important to know which type of dog you have, whether it is a quick learner or a slow one. It doesn’t do any good to lose patience with your pet, as this will only make matters worse. If your dog acts up or does not follow direction well, the appropriate way to handle this is to hold their face in your hand, stare them in the eyes and give a firm “no” in a regular tone. Screaming or yelling will only result in undoing everything you have worked hard to instill.
Trust is a major component to a dog and determines whether the learning experience will be time-consuming or a total bust. When a dog does not trust its owner then it isn’t going to listen. They are more focused on what you might do versus what you are saying. If it appears that your pet is not responding to things like they were, then take a break. Use this time to play and help them relax. You can’t push an animal to learn: they have to want to.
When conducting dog training, it is always a good idea to have treats on hand, no matter what their age. Canines are no different than children, or some adults for that matter. They respond to treats and will do well in order to earn them. Use them as a tool to reward good behavior and your dog will go out of its way to do what you ask. Just make sure that they are good treats. Miniature marshmallows work very well.