Can you teach an old dog new tricks? The answer to that age-old saying is a big YES! You can train and teach a dog to do anything you want them to as long as it’s physically and biologically possible. But the only thing that will determine your success is patience. Read more
Yes, as long as you are patient enough, you can eventually teach your furry little friend anything you want. So today, we shall give you doggy training 101 to make your and your fur baby’s life much easier!
Popular Training Methods
These are the two most popular training methods:
Training that uses punishment or the threat of punishment to modify a dog’s behavior is aversive-based. In simple terms, Aversive-based training means using negative reinforcement. It includes and is not limited to the following:
● Physically hitting and beating
● Cutting down on meals
● Yelling or screaming
● Using instruments such as shock collars, water sprayers, etc.
This type of training is frowned upon by most people even though it delivers results. For instance, behaviors like aggression, disobedience, etc., can be fixed with aversion training. But the reason it is frowned upon is that it is abusive. While we agree that some dogs are disobedient and ill-mannered, they behave like that because they don’t know any better. You can’t expect another animal to behave according to your preferences.
Moreover, although fear is a great motivator, it will affect your relationship with the dog. Trust me, and it’s ten times better to have a dog that listens to you out of love than a dog that listens to you out of fear.
As the name suggests, this training method is about positive reinforcement and rewards. It includes:
● Petting and Affection
This training method aims to reward the dog with the things mentioned above as soon as they do something you want them to do. They will slowly develop a positive association with the activity they just performed and repeat that activity in the future in hopes of receiving a reward.
This training method requires a lot of patience, time, and effort. But it is worth it. Because even though you will notice results at a much slower rate, the overall relationship between you and your dog will remain based on love and affection instead of fear and negativity and further solidifies your relationship.
Often reward-based training is paired together with clicker training as well. Many trainers do this so they don’t have to reward the dog constantly.
How Do Dogs Learn?
A dog usually learns in 3 main ways:
Learning is passed on in genes. Ever heard of the term “natural instinct” or “animal instinct”? This is the same. Offspring inherit the behaviors, mannerisms, etc., from their parents, so instinctive learning is an automatic process.
Obedience learning is whatever you teach or train your dogs to do. It involves demonstrating or acting out what you want the dog to do, followed by positive reinforcement.
Adaptive learning is learned behavior and actions, basically learning from other dogs.
What Can You Train Your Dog To Do?
Here are some of the things you can train your dog to do:
Crate training teaches a dog to be comfortable in a kennel or crate. The crate or kennel serves as a small, enclosed personal space for the dog.
It is best to start with brief sessions and progressively increase crate sessions. Your objective is to make the dog feel safe and understand that the crate is a safe space, so avoid using the crate as a punishment.
Leash training teaches a dog to be accustomed to having a leash around its neck and practicing restraint. When starting leash training, try to find a nice sturdy leash that is also comfortable for the dog.
You can start leash training indoors and then gradually move outside. Remember to keep treats for rewards and use commands like sit or stay to control the dog instead of pulling the leash.
Potty training is quintessential in turning a dog into an ideal family member. Potty training teaches dogs to respect the household and maintain hygiene. If dogs defecate in random places, it becomes an inconvenience and a health hazard. Lots of diseases happen to both humans and dogs that are borne from their excrement.
Even though dogs usually don’t pose too many problems in the bathing department, having them bath-trained is always a good idea. It is necessary to discipline them both for their well-being and overall cleanliness.
Basic Household Training
Here are some useful instances of household training:
It is a handy trick you can teach your dog to do, especially if you live in an apartment or have a busy lifestyle. However, you need to be extra careful when training your dog to open doors so that they only listen and respond to the voice of only certain individuals instead of anyone.
You can have an electrician make a separate dog-friendly switch for opening the door within your dog’s reach. You can even combine speakers with the switch so they can hear your voice and recognize you before opening the door.
Pulling Ropes or Handles
You can find various creative uses for pulling ropes to allow your dog to perform various activities. For instance, you can teach your dog to pull ropes attached to drawers and doors to open things and retrieve your articles when you command them.
Some examples include: retrieving your phone from a drawer, getting you a nice cold bottle of water from the fridge, bringing you emergency items like inhalers or insulins from drawers, etc. Again you can teach them to pull ropes to turn up the shades for your windows or close them. The possibilities are endless.
Fetching is something all dogs are taught. It is not only a handy trick but also a playful activity. Trust me; dogs never get bored of fetching and playing fetch. You can throw the same object for the one-millionth time, yet your dog will still fetch it with its highest enthusiasm and joy.
Useful Things To Train Your Dog To Do:
Here are some things you can train your dog to do or not do to make your life easier:
Training Dogs Not To Jump
Some dogs are too full of energy, so they often act out, which often means jumping onto people. It can get incredibly annoying and troublesome for your guests or family allergic to dogs.
Training Dogs To Be Quiet or To Stop Barking
Some dogs tend to be a lot more vocal than others. They become vocal for a wide array of reasons. Often this can become disturbing as it causes a lot of sound pollution for your family members and neighbors.
Training Dogs to Do Tricks: Playing dead, Paw Shake, Circles, Howling
These are just some fun tricks to teach your dog. You can showcase their capabilities to guests and family members and show them what a good and talented boy/girl they truly are.
Useful Commands To Teach Dogs
All dogs need to be taught the following commands:
This command tells them to remain still at a certain spot and stop following you around.
This command tells dogs to remain seated at a particular spot and remain there indefinitely.
This command teaches dogs that it is time for bedtime or to get ready for sleep.
Again a common command for dogs, it teaches them to retrieve something like a toy or an article that they can carry or drag to you.
This command teaches dogs to run to you when you say come or call them by their name.
This command teaches dogs that you want them to stop doing whatever they are doing.
Useful Training Equipment and Treats
Here are some valuable training equipment and accessories to help you and your dog:
Toys are super important when training dogs, especially puppies. Always remember to buy toys that are safe for dogs and contain no harmful substances and something they can’t swallow. Dogs are notorious for chewing toys and things and always buy dog-friendly toys and accessories.
Cleaning supplies, such as tissues, towels, wipes, disposable bags, etc., are crucial in the training phase of a dog. Before they are trained, dogs can do their business randomly and create a huge mess that needs to be cleaned up asap. So always stock up on cleaning supplies.
Any rope for dogs to chew and pull on must be sturdy and long-lasting, as dogs can easily chew through them gradually.
Dog leashes and harnesses need to be resilient and, at the same time, comfortable. They also should be made up of safe, non-toxic material.
They can be used to train your dog and as a plaything.
Treats and Treat Ideas
Treats are the most important asset for any dog owner. Each dog has its favorite treat, so once you figure out what your dog loves, you better stock up on that. One treat you can easily stock up on is jerky. Dogs love jerky. There are countless options available on the market.
Besides commercially produced treats, you can also make homemade treats. It includes bread, dehydrated meat, etc. There are countless recipes available online to help you in this department.
Things To Be Aware Of
These are things you need to be careful about:
Balancing Training and Rest
There must always be a balance between resting and training. Consistent training is indeed irreplaceable, but that being said, too much training can become counterproductive. You need to strike that balance between training and resting to allow your dog to learn properly without over-exerting themselves.
The way you approach your dog is very important. Dogs are excellent at understanding body language, tone, and motive. So always engage with your dog in a friendly manner, maintaining a calm and composed demeanor and a smile on your face. Make sure to give them ample treats and praise them well, along with your good behavior.
Your Dog’s Reaction
Dogs have body language too. Once you have bonded with your dog, you can easily understand how they are feeling and what they are thinking by simply observing them. So always pay attention to how they react and observe them for signs of discomfort, sadness, sickness, etc.
How To Train a Dog to NOT Do Something?
There are many ways you can tackle this problem:
● Stop talking to your dog when it is doing that activity you want it to stop doing.
● Saying “no” or whatever command you use tells it to stop doing something else.
● Using positive reinforcement and showing them what to do.
How To Train a Dog To Do Something?
Again there are many ways to approach this. The easiest ways are:
● Positive reinforcement while doing that activity and after completing the activity.
● Praising while doing that activity and after completing the activity.