Does your dog not listen when you call him? Does she jump all over strangers or bark menacingly at them? Are you afraid to take your dog to the dog park, just because he misbehaves and makes you look like a bad owner? All of these are signs that you need to train your stubborn dog. Before you sign your pooch up for a training course or just give up altogether and let him or her run amuck, try these seven techniques. They’ll help you get your dog under control.
1) Use Treats that your Dog Loves
As a dog owner, you know how it goes – there are some treats that your pooch loves and enjoys, and others that he merely tolerates. If you want your dog training sessions to go well, then you need to use his favorite treats. He’ll work harder for them, and they make receiving that reward, well, very rewarding. On top of this, the treats need to be small so that they can be gobbled down in one bite. This way you’re not losing momentum in your session when your dog stops to eat them.
2) Stay Positive – Even When You’re Frustrated
Your dog can sense your emotions. This means that when you reach that point of frustration because your dog isn’t listening or starts to get rowdy and over-excited, your pup can sense that. Your frustration will transfer over to him, and his behavior will get even worse. Your dog wants to make your happy, and a major part of this involved understanding your emotions. If you stay happy, then your dog will as well, and your training session will go that much better. You’ll actually begin to see some progress take place.
3) Reinforce Good Behavior
What happens when your dog does something bad? Do you ignore it and let it happen? Or do you punish your dog by yelling at her? Likewise, when she does something good, do you reward it? You want to always reward the good behavior, no matter when it happens – even if it’s outside of a training session. This will teach your dog that when she does something good, she gets a treat and some pats on the head. She’ll want more treats and positive attention, so she’ll keep doing those good things. Just keep rewarding them and the message will be clear.
4) Remain Consistent With Your Techniques
Let’s put it this way – if you teach your dog to sit using one command, and your family member jumps in and tries to use another command, then your dog will get confused. While you can have more than one person do the training, you need to use the same commands and remain as consistent as possible. Otherwise, your dog won’t what to do or who to listen to. This confusion will lead to gaps in the training and one unruly dog. You’re trying to correct this, not make it worse.
5) Give Your Dog a Break
You need frequent breaks throughout your workday in order to help you focus. Your dog is the same way. You can’t keep pushing your dog through the training process without allowing him to take a break every now and then. Your dog needs some time to play and just be a dog, as well as a few naps now and then. Even though you probably want to get the commands hammered home as soon as possible, it’s impossible to get through to your pooch when he’s too tired or antsy. Let your dog take a break and then resume the training when he’s refreshed.
6) Tell Your Dog What to Do
This seems obvious, but it needs to be included here. Your dog needs the proper commands to follow, and you need to give him those commands. Make sure that each is short and that they remain consistent. For example, if you want your dog to sit, then say “sit” and nudge him so that he’s in a sitting position. Give him a treat. Keep repeating this process until the dog understands the command. Don’t change the word from “sit” to “relax” or “rear on the floor” as that will only confuse your dog.
7) Remember that Your Dog Isn’t Human
People can be told what to do with the general understanding that they’ll do it. Dogs, on the other hand, are animals. There’s a limit between what they understand and can do. They will pick up on basic commands, and over time, will learn the difference between good and bad behavior. However, they won’t learn everything, and there’s a lot of work involved in getting them to understand those behavioral differences. No matter what, your dog will still do things his way on occasion, no matter how much hard work you put in.