Dog Training: What to Know Before You Start

Behavior & training
Dog Training Methods

Training your dog can be a frustrating experience if you’ve never done anything like it before. This is especially true when you have a rambunctious little puppy who just seems like they will never learn. There are ways to make the whole process much easier, and you don’t have to be the “Dog Whisperer” to figure them out. Here are some dog training methods to look into that will work for the smallest puppies through older dogs that you may have adopted from your local shelter. After all, training your pup correctly is part of the process of being a responsible pet owner.

Behaviors to Correct During Training

Some of the behaviors that get corrected during training your dog are barking, excessive chewing, jumping up on you or guests in your home, and digging in your backyard. Training also takes care of “house training” so that your pet uses the outdoors to go to the bathroom.

More complex issues to deal with include separation anxiety, leash pulling, and aggression problems. Ideally, all of these are behaviors that, with the right training, will be improved in your dog. Be patient with the training process. Keep in mind that your dog wants to learn the right way to behave. They just need the correct steps and rewards to get there.

Look Into Dog Training Classes

Dog training classes are the fastest way to get your pet on the road to good behavior. There are probably some in your area that you can find by doing a simple Google search. You might even ask your veterinarian about reputable places nearby that will train your dog. Some trainers and behaviorists will come out to your home, or they have doggie classrooms you can take your pup to.

Dog training classes can help you with everything from basic training to more complex training issues. You know the old adage, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Well, it’s just not true. Qualified dog trainers can basically reprogram your dog to learn all kinds of new things. The whole endeavor just takes a little time and professional knowledge to see that the process is effective and worthwhile.

There are group obedience training classes where instructors put dogs into age categories so they are at similar stages in their life. That makes it easier for the instructor to teach behaviors at the same time because all of the dogs are close to the same level. Usually, these classes are about an hour long and last for at least 6-8 weeks.

If you don’t want to go with a group of dogs, you can schedule one-on-one private lessons for your pet. Those will probably be held right in your home with the instructor coming to you. This is ideal for your pet because they will be learning correct behaviors right in their home environment. This method is usually more expensive, but if you can swing it, your dog will likely make huge strides quickly.

Popular Dog Training Methods

There are quite a few dog training methods to use. The first, and probably most popular, is dominance training. This method has been around since World War II and is sometimes called “alpha training.” This is what Cesar Millan, aka the “Dog Whisperer,” uses most commonly.

The next training method is reward based. This is a “positive reinforcement” method that works by giving your dog immediate treats when they do something right. The dog then learns that the good behavior will net them a tasty nibble. Some professional dog trainers take issue with this type of training, but in all honesty, it truly works well and fast.

Other types of training include using a clicker, science-based studies, the Koehler method (that uses a leash to physically correct your dog), and relationship-based training.The type of training you will use depends on the time you have and the relationship you want with your dog. If you are training your dog on your own, invest in some helpful training books that outline the technique you want to use in a simple and concise manner. The better you understand how you are going to train your dog, the easier it will be for your dog to adapt and learn what you are trying to teach them.

A Few Helpful Dog Training Techniques

Overall, when training your dog you must be patient and understanding. Your dog wants to please you. They just take a while to understand what you want from them. The American Kennel Club recommends that you first learn about dog body language. This will help you connect better with what your dog may be feeling. Reward good behavior during training with treats and praise often so that your dog will learn that being well-behaved gets a positive response from you. After all, you are their owner and best friend.