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January is officially National Train Your Dog Month but anytime is a good time to train your dog! Here are some of Bark Busters top dog training tips to help you live a happier life together with your dog!
Use Positive Reinforcement Techniques
Whenever your dog demonstrates good behavior and responds positively to your commands, reward them with praise for a job well done. By rewarding their good behavior, you’re reinforcing the association between good behavior and good things. It’s also important to make sure you’re not accidentally rewarding unwanted behavior. If your dog barks at you to play, don’t reward this behavior, as this sends the wrong message to your pup!
Consistency is the Key to Success
Dogs need consistency to feel safe and secure in their environment. Dogs feel better when their needs are met and respond best to clear, consistent, and compassionate leadership. This is true with dogs of all ages but especially when training a puppy or a dog new to your home! Establish and stick to a schedule for meals, playtime, toileting, and more. Deviations will happen, but the more predictability and routine, the happier you and your pup will be.
Bottom line: Consistency is the key to having a well-adjusted, happy dog.
Get to Know Your Dog
Every dog has a unique personality and may respond to things differently. Tailor your training and educational methods to suit your dog’s personality. Dogs differ in their energy levels, confidence levels, and curiosity. They also differ emotionally – with nervousness, shyness, or confidence. While some dogs are food-motivated and will respond enthusiastically to any sort of edible treat as a reward, it's important to not rely on treats to show acceptance of a positive behavior. Try experimenting with other rewards, such as praise at the right moment by showing plenty of affection.
This isn't just important to consider when choosing how best to praise your dog but also when setting your own expectations for your canine companion! Above all else, dogs need leadership. A shy or introverted human can attend a big gathering and act appropriately while there but may not choose to attend a party as their favorite activity. In the same manner, consider your pup’s personality and select an activity that would be the best activity for your dog’s personality.
Dog Training is Daily Life
While it is best to set aside time every day for you to focus on training with your dog, the reality is dog training happens all day, every day – not just when you are having a "lesson." Unlike the human concept of classroom learning, there is no start or end to when your dog is learning from you.
Training your doggo should be fun - both for you and your dog! Your positive approach and attitude will help you build a stronger bond, with trust, and respect between you and your dog. Mental stimulation is critical for dogs, so find some fun games to play with your pup, especially on days when physical exercise isn't in the cards. You can teach an old dog new tricks! (and who doesn't love a good dog trick?!) Chances are, if you're having fun, your dog is too!
Consult Your Veterinarian
All dogs need adequate nutrition, healthcare, entertainment, and security (which comes from fair and just leadership). When one or those four isn't being fully met, behavior issues can arise. While in many instances, clear communication, consistent training, patience, and trust will solve whatever issue you might be having with your dog, sometimes, there is an underlying medical issue that needs to be solved.
Choose a veterinarian who shares your medical philosophies and beliefs, then follow their recommendations for vaccinations, diet, and other health-related issues. We're all on the same team when it comes to keeping your family and canine companion safe and happy!
Praise the Small Things
Sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in the "end goal" of training, but celebrating the little wins is just as important, and will help keep both you and your dog motivated.
Dogs Learn by Association
Dogs learn by association and what occurs immediately during or after a choice they make. Dogs are not mean-spirited or vengeful; they act on instinct and continue to do what works. When we show them a better way, our dogs will make the right choices. Training is most effective when it produces consistent, reliable, and rewarding outcomes for your dog.
For example, when a dog barks at a mail carrier and the mail carrier moves on, the dog believes their barking caused him to leave. Dogs have no way of knowing their barking had nothing to do with the mail carrier’s choice to continue walking.
Body Language and Voice Tone Matters Most
Some of us may think our dogs understand every word we say, but the fact is, they simply don't understand language the same way we do.
A dog from Spain could easily communicate with a dog from the United States, because they both Speak Dog!
Consult Your Local Bark Busters Dog Trainer for Help
If you’re struggling with any dog training or dog behavior issue, don’t hesitate to contact a professional dog trainer. It is generally one of the fastest ways to get results. Bark Busters professional trainers have years of knowledge they can use to help you and your dog.
You can reach us at 1-877-500-BARK (2275) OR Click here to find your local trainer now!