There was a time when you and I had no idea how to chew food, use the bathroom or understand basic manners. Like us, our pets need to learn basic skills and not only do they need to be learned, they need be continuously practiced so that they become habits. Habits must be taught in the right way, so how do you make sure you train your dog to be the best that they can be? If you wanted your child to learn piano and you weren’t a piano teacher, would you teach yourself how to play the piano or would you just pay for lessons from a professional?
Dog training is the same as piano training. Many dog owners choose to do DIY dog training and while this can be rewarding and fun when your dog finally learns to ‘shake hands’ or ‘lie down’, it takes a lot of time and effort to train your dog right. Many dog owners can spend months trying to teach a dog new tricks or obedience habits and find themselves exhausted at how long it takes or frustrated when their dog starts misbehaving again.
Just like us, the first year of our lives is an incredibly crucial time to form new habits, and this is when you want to maximise this time by teaching your dog new skills and behaviours in the most convenient, quick and positive way possible.
There are a number different types of methods to training your dog. These include focuses on obedience, behaviour and agility. They are not all the same thing and it is important to understand the different methods in teaching your dog each of these kinds of skills.
Behavioural is focusing on training your dog to stop chewing on everything in or outside your home or to stop barking unnecessarily and annoying your family and your neighbours! Obedience is important for teaching your dog standard commands like sitting down, rolling over or staying put. Agility is about teaching your pooch to develop his or her natural instincts while keeping them fit and healthy. This kind of training can help to reinforce basic commands, improve communication between you and your dog and help train your dog’s behaviour.
Once you know what kind of training you would like your dog to receive, you need to know what method to train your dog. Reward training and praise training are great ways to show your dog what they are doing right. Consequence training or replacement training are methods of providing your dog with undesirable consequences or correcting undesirable behaviours so that they learn to practice good ones.
What it comes down to is how much time you are willing to spend on learning the correct methods of dog training and how confident you are that you will teach it correctly. Hiring a dog trainer might require a small fee, but it is important to provide the right training for your specific dog’s needs. Overall, dog training is fun! And if your dog could speak, they would be sure to thank you for it.