Owning dogs is one thing but training them is an entirely different experience. Both go hand in hand in almost all cases because an untrained puppy can become a nuisance in no time.
You don’t want them to bark excessively, poop anywhere they want, pull on the leash when walking, ignore your commands, or wallow in separation anxiety when you’re off to work.
In all its entirety, you may think training should be left to the trainers. I cannot agree more. However, as an owner, you can still ace basic training commands.
Let’s be honest here. Training is a continuous process and a trainer may not be available 24/7. So, you’ve got to understand the whole process, break it down, and use it to keep on training the dog.
If you’re still not convinced, this dog training guide and tips will take you through everything from benefits to tips and beyond. Stick with me and I promise you a good dose of information.
Why Train Dogs? 3 Benefits
Training your dog is paramount because you want them to be on their best behavior and show affection where needed.
Unruly single-minded dogs tend to run away into the neighboring houses or on the roads and invite all sorts of troubles for themselves and you. So, you’ve got to train them not to do that.
This isn’t the only reason, though.
1. Control The Dog’s Impulses
Certain breeds are more impulsive than others. They are hard to train because they treat everything as a give-and-take situation.
Their intelligence is on par with a two years old stubborn kid. Catering to that kind of kid in your life might have exhausted you, if ever. The dogs do the same.
As an example, let’s take Beagles. They are adorable little musketeers that stick around you and your family for as long as possible.
However, their hound instincts kick in every once in a while, and they dash out into the wild. They may also bark the hell out at anything moving across the street. With appropriate obedience training, you can very much control these impulses.
Or, talk about Retrievers and their tendency to nip at all ages. They will go to lengths to “herd” things with their mouths.
As an owner, however, you may find that mouthiness a bit too much and, therefore, decide to do something about it.
2. Keep The Dogs Entertained
Dogs, regardless of breed, need mental and physical stimulation. Training provides them both.
In fact, as a trainer, I’ve seen that they take even the strenuous training routines as their playtime. They are good boys and girls just trying to spend some more time with their owners.
The level of physical and mental stimulation depends on the breed also. Some breeds such as Chihuahuas, are good with minimal exercise and training, while other breeds, such as Rottweilers need more walks, training, and mental stimulation.
When you look at the ease of training, both have a similar disposition. The varying needs seem to arise from their size and temperament!
3. Build A Long-Lasting Relationship
Being human best friends, dogs want to stay near you all the time. Whether that proximity leads to a healthy relationship or not is entirely up to your dealing with the canine.
That’s where training can help you build a long-lasting relationship because it makes dealing healthy and productive.
Take the example of Siberian Huskies. They are generally aloof to your commands if you don’t put in the effort to train them otherwise. With a breed this intelligent, you’ll have to go the extra mile not to let it boss over you, challenge your ideals, and stay in a healthy human-pet relationship.
Then there are German Shepherds. They aren’t as intelligent as Huskies but they are certainly clingier as Pitbulls.
Over time, they develop a profound relationship with you that may lead to the dreaded separation-related problems. Therefore, you’ve got to keep their attachment in check, also.
From the examples above, you might have noted that your relationship with the canine tethers is on balance. You’d hate the extremes. So keep on training the dog to keep that balance!
Dog Training – Why Are Some Easy To Train And Some Are Not?
Some dogs are easy to train while others are not because of their temperament deep-seated in their breed mechanics.
Their intelligence, receptive approach, adaptability, friendliness, and physical needs depend on their origin. Think about the origin story of each breed.
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks were bred to hunt lions and are considered as one of the best guard dog breeds. So, they tend to be single-minded, stubborn, and sometimes altogether aloof to your commands.
- Great Pyrenees are protective dogs because they were bred to protect herds and flocks. They are always on the move and thus, hard to train.
- Cockapoos were bred to be lap dogs. These days they also double down as therapy dogs. Naturally, you’d expect them to be easily trainable, and that they are!
- German Shepherds are working class. They are intelligent but simultaneously very down to earth, making them devoted to their owners and thus easily trainable.
The relationship between a dog’s job or origin and its trainability isn’t strict. I’ve seen stubborn GSDs and unyielding cockapoos. I’ve also seen well-behaved Ridgebacks and calm Great Pyrenees.
That brings us to the dog’s potentially turbulent past and whether they were well socialized as puppies.
In both cases, however, training comes in handy. It can’t take out the dog’s behavioral aspects. Stubborn dogs will remain so. What it does is redirect that negative aspect into something positive.
For example, when a dog tries to behave single-mindedly, you distract them effectively!
Dog Training Guide – 10 Basic Training Regimes To Follow
Multiple dog training regimes vary in difficulty and purpose. But I’m going to focus on the basic ones here because advanced-level training requires years of experience.
Only adept trainers should perform them for the sake of your dog and you.
How To Train Dogs Not To Bark?
What is a dog that does not bark? But barking when necessary should be the case. Incessant barking that begins to be a nuisance for the whole neighborhood isn’t healthy at all.
Before going into the training sessions, make sure you understand why the dog’s barking in the first place.
Your pet may bark because of the following:
- To greet you when you come home or say goodbye when you leave.
- They are stubborn and have grown possessive of their belongings over time.
- Some stimuli scare them from afar, so they naturally tend to warm them.
- They are responding to barks from nearby dogs. You know, casually, saying yeah, what’s up? I can hear you!
- You’ve been leaving your dog quite a lot, and it has developed separation-related anxieties.
- Some illnesses might have gotten the better of them.
- You haven’t been taking them out for a walk or playing with them, so they are frustrated.
Now that you’ve done the math as to what’s causing the barking spree, here are some methods to go by.
1. Use Treats To Teach Positive Reinforcement
Huskies are not legendary barkers because of their temperament but some dogs such as Pitbulls bark their hearts out. You can use treats to teach them that you value their quiet mode, not the barking one.
2. Distract Your Dog
You could use alternative ways to grab their attention indoors and outdoors.
That could be letting them play with their favorite toy, asking a friend for help to make the dog comfortable in the presence of a stranger, or bringing in the stimuli in close proximity to do the same.
3. Tire Them Out
One of the ways to stop barking is to play with them every day enough to release all their pent-up energy. A tired dog is a quiet dog; remember this.
4. Use Training Collars
If the dog’s been too ignorant of your commands, using external help such as that from training collars will help. However, they are not toys to fiddle with. You need proper guidance before training your pups with a shock collar.
Read more: Side effects of training collar
These are only some of the ways to stop a dog from barking. Wanna know more? Here are further 7 ways to do so.
Also Read: Do German Shepherd Bark A Lot?
How To Train Dogs For Basic Commands?
Basic commands such as sit, stay, roll over, and lie down are part and parcel of initial dog training.
Every dog owner wants to show off to the world that their dog does exactly what they are told to do. Follow these simple steps to know the basics and apply them right here and right now.
1. Keep The Dog On Leash
I reckon your pet isn’t trained at all. As a result, you can’t take many chances and see them run away the moment you start training.
A good leash will do the work of keeping them under your gaze and in your control. Remember, the leash isn’t there for you to pull on it but to let the dog know that you’re the boss.
2. Choose A Corner
You want to keep the dog in a corner while teaching them the basic commands. That discourages the dog from dashing away in multiple directions but two. You have to keep an eye on that.
3. Hold A Treat
Treats are the major motivators of dogs during training sessions. They are food, so the animal naturally wants more!
You wanna hold the treat at about 45 degrees above the dog’s nose to encourage it to sit and see it properly. When they sit, you feed them the treat. That’s how easy it is.
4. Incorporate Vocal Commands
Whenever the dog obeys, you feed them the treat in your hand. With time, you use the treat and a vocal command to let them associate it with the task.
- When teaching “sit,” you hold the teat and repeatedly say “sit.”
- During “stay” sessions, you move a little away, keep the treat in your hand, and announce, “stay.” Make sure to move away one step at a time and reward the dog when they don’t dash toward you.
- To teach them “lie down,” you let the dog trail the treat, and then when they’re doing so, you bring it down to the floor and say, “lie down.” If they don’t lie down immediately, you can use your hand to pet them and apply slight pressure to their backs slightly.
5. Repeat And Repeat
Training a dog isn’t a one-off experience. To help them associate cues to the rewards, you’ll have to repeat the task every day until you’re sure they’ve learned it.
For example, training them in a corner should last at least three days, and so on.
6. Make It More Challenging
When the dog’s been through multiple sessions and has learned quite a bit, you can get confident and present more challenges.
This time, try bringing in some sort of distraction such as their toys or anything that may take their attention away. Then, try training them to focus on the treat and your command.
How to Crate Train Your Dog?
Owners and professionals like us use crates to calm down a puppy or a dog when they are not supervised.
They confine them and, therefore, reduce their accidents with household items. Haven’t you seen those videos where the dogs break expensive things because they’re dashing here and there?
Here’s how to crate train:
1. Let The Dog Know The Crate
The first thing to do after bringing in the crate is to let the dog get familiarized with it. It’s a foreign object and just like any animal, dogs too feel intimidated in their presence until they know what it’s for.
- Put their favorite toys, pillows, or whatnot inside.
- Let the dog sniff the thing out.
- Sit inside the crate with them to let them know it’s fine.
- Let treats do the rest of the job.
2. Start Confining Gradually
When the dog’s comfortable with the crate’s presence, you start confining them for the period they’re comfortable. Do not abruptly increase the time and wait for the animal to understand what’s happening.
- Use treats to keep them busy inside the crate.
- Close the door and, for a brief time, monitor their behavior.
- Open the door only when the dog starts showing agitation.
- Repeat that and each time, increase the confinement time.
3. Do Not Give In To The Dog’s Barking
The dog will show agitation when they are new to being confined in the crate. You should listen to them in the first few days.
However, do not let it be a routine, especially when they bark.
When you repeatedly allow the pet to get out after they bark and whine, they will associate the behavior with the reward. Thus, you’ll have a barking dog every time you confine them in its crate.
Instead, wait for them to stop barking and only open the crate when they are calm. Also, feeding them treats at that time will serve as icing on the cake.
4. House Train Them Well Before Crating
Leaving the pet inside for longer than its capacity to hold its bowels will obviously make a mess for you. Therefore, house-train the pup before you introduce them to the crate.
But how are they going to get out to relieve themselves? They won’t. That’s where you have to be considerate of their condition and not confine them for longer than they can control their excretions.
How To Potty Train Your Dog?
Potty training is essential and I don’t need to emphasize the “why.” You could forgive small excretions of puppies but what about the big dumps adult dogs leave?
Follow the steps to minimize and later completely eradicate such accidents.
1. Clean The Crime Scenes
Make sure to clean the crime scene when the dog takes a dump inside your house in an unauthorized area.
That discourages them from using the same place for defecating or urinating because of the absence of an unruly smell. And you know how easily dogs associate smell with a particular act.
2. Know The Pooping Schedule
These are simple animals in terms of behavior. They usually want to relieve themselves after a definite period or routine.
For example, puppies go to the toilet after every two hours. Adult dogs have more capacity to hold. They could go without pooping and urinating for as many as 8 hours.
Here’s a proper breakdown:
- 2-month-old puppies: 2 hours
- 4-month-old puppies: 4 hours
- 6-month-old puppies: 6 hours
- 8-month-old puppies: 8 hours
- Adult dogs: 8 hours
3. Know The Behavior Associated With Going
Dogs show surefire signs that mean they want to go. Watch for those signs. They will roam in circles and try to assume the pooping position.
4. Specify A Permanent Location
The reason I told you to clean the accidental places around the house and deodorize them is that your pet will consider it a permanent pooping place.
You won’t have to do that with the place you want to specify for the activity.
- Take the dog to the same location whenever they want to relieve themselves.
- It could be a litter box, a hole in the ground, pads, or newspapers for indoor or outdoor but a permanent place.
5. Use The Leash for Positive Reinforcement
Keep the dog on a leash when it’s pooping to let them understand that it’s a serious activity where they aren’t supposed to be free.
Only remove it when they are done and ready to play to let them associate the removal with playtimes. After a few trials and errors, the dog will try to be on its best behavior during the activity in anticipation of freedom afterward.
6. Use Verbal Cues
Just like the leash, associate verbal cues with their go-time. Use the same word every time the dog tries to go. When they start to poop inside your house, take them to the designated area carefully, say the word, and let them poop.
Feed them their favorite treat afterward as a reward for relieving themselves in the area of your choice. After a few tries, the pup will be productive for sure.
7. Encourage Them To Go During Breaks
Use small but harmless lessons to teach and encourage the pet to go during the bathroom breaks based on their routines.
For example, if your pet goes during the break, well and good. Otherwise, crate them for the time they put off the activity. If they don’t poop after 10 minutes during the break, crate them for 10 minutes.
But what if they go right inside the crate? Well, staying beside their doing for a few minutes should be a little lesson. They won’t repeat the same mistake and be productive right in the bathroom break.
8. Do Not Punish
Accidents can happen and pups are not immune to them. Follow the steps you read to avoid them. But in no terms should you punish them for the deed.
I understand that cleaning the accident gets frustrating for you–the owner–but yelling or shouting will create negative reinforcement. The dog won’t necessarily stop the deed but do it when you’re not looking just to avoid the punishment.
How To Leash Train Your Dog?
The leash is going to be an important companion for your canine. It’s a tool to control it and loosely attach it to you when walking for its safety and convenience.
Therefore, before going on to learn the training steps to follow, realize that the leash isn’t for punishment.
1. Familiarize The Dog With A Collar
The first question that comes to mind is do dogs need to wear collars? Well, the answer is a straightforward YES. Because the collar is the first thing you need to introduce to your dog before you start proper training.
Therefore, to familiarize your dog with the collar, you will attach the leash with a collar. Then follow the below steps.
- Introduce the collar. Let it sniff but not chew. To discourage chewing, keep its favorite toy right at the scene.
- Keep the collar in your hand when the dog’s around to let it be comfortable around it.
- Put it on the dog’s neck for a brief time until the dog’s uncomfortable. Keep on increasing the time and incorporate positive reinforcement to let the dog accept it finally.
2. Introduce The Leash
After the collar, introduce the leash.
- Keep it in your hand in the dog’s presence to let it accept the new thing.
- Use treats to reward its calmness around the leash.
- Do not let it chew the leash. Let the toys bear that brunt.
- Leave the leash with the dog supervised to let him associate it with something harmless.
- Put the dog on a leash for a brief time and increase that period as you make progress.
3. Start In Your Yard
When the dog’s comfortable with the leash, do not walk it out straight away. Start right in your backyard because that’s going to give you and the pet confidence to trust each other.
4. Go On Small Walks
After you’re confident that the dog has gotten used to the leash, take it out on short walks. With these animals, everything that begins small gradually leads to better results.
Concentrate on this mantra and take things slowly from introducing the leash to taking it out on walks.
So far, you repeatedly read in this article that dogs learn by repetition. Whatever you’re teaching them will take time. How much time they will take depends on factors such as breed, past life, general temperament, and overall health.
Be patient with your pet and only go forward at their pace.
How To Clicker Train Your Dog?
This is one of the methods of positive reinforcement. It’s better than vocal praises or commands but it might not work alone as well as with treats.
1. Familiarize The Dog With The Clicker
First things first. Let the dog know that this new thing in your hand is safe and trustworthy.
- Let it sniff the clicker.
- Keep it in your hand when petting the dog.
2. Start Incorporating the “Click”
The metal strip inside the clicker makes a distinct sound when pressed. You have to make sure the dog learns to associate that sound with its good behavior followed by a treat.
- Incorporate the clicker into the dog’s daily routine by clicking it before feeding treats.
- Follow this at least 5 to 10 times or when you’re confident about the dog’s recall.
3. Introduce Basic Commands
After the dog has associated the clicker’s sound with the anticipation of a treat, begin setting this up in a typical scenario where you give it basic commands.
- When the dog obeys commands such as “sit,” “lie down,” “roll over,” or “stay,” click the clicker and feed it the treat.
- Do not confuse your pet by alternating the click and the treat.
- Repeat it a few times before you’re ready to test its association.
4. Test Its Association
Now that you’ve been through the steps above, it’s time to foolproof the association by testing if it works or not.
- Click the clicker when the dog’s attention is elsewhere.
- It should come instantly wagging its tail and looking at your hands for a treat.
- If that’s not the case, repeat the whole process to remove the room for errors.
5. Remember The Clicker Cycle
Remember that the clicker is supposed to act as a bridge between good behavior and the reward. However, do not forget to give verbal praise.
- The clicker cycle to remember is like this: Desired Behavior > Click > Treat + Praises and Love.
6. Know The Right Time To Click
I’ve seen owners ignore the importance of clicking the clicker at the right time. Dogs are impulsive animals and even a slight delay could cause a major lapse in their learning process and, thus, the outcome.
Therefore, make sure you have appreciable hand-eye coordination. That’s true for whatever training you’re using the clicker.
How To Train Your Dog For Separation-Related Anxieties?
Dogs aren’t alien to separation anxieties. They are also not limited to the breeds, as any hyper-attached dog could start experiencing them for the worst.
But hyper attachment isn’t a one-off process. It takes months to cultivate that behavior and the blame lies on you partly.
Besides hyper attachment, the dog’s turbulent history, first experience alone in the house, routine upsets, and owner death could also trigger it.
Whatever’s causing your dog’s separation anxiety, you could start by desensitizing it to the stimulus.
- Give small doses of loneliness to the dog.
- Make sure to be around but hidden for that period.
- Place his favorite toys around him.
- If possible, let another dog accompany him for the time being.
- Increase the time for which you leave him alone until the dog’s comfortable with 4 to 5 hours of loneliness.
- Do not leave your pooch alone for more than that because no amount of training can condition a dog to live like that for an extended time period. They are dogs, after all.
Besides desensitizing the dog, try bringing these changes in your behavior also.
- Do not greet him excessively when you come home.
- Do not make a drama out of your departure.
- Make sure that you hide the cues the dog has associated with your leave, such as picking up the car keys, donning the hat, etc.
- Every now and then, pick up the keys or wear your shoes and stay home to show your pooch that doing all that doesn’t mean you’ll leave.
Separation anxiety could get severe if you don’t deal with it correctly. When that happens and you feel you have no control over what’s happening, consult your vet. In worst cases, such as these, they may have to intervene with medication.
How To Use Training Collars for Dog Training?
Whether training your Huskies, Great Pyrenees, GSDs, Cockapoos, Yorkies, Rottweilers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Pitbull or toy breeds such as Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs, using training collars makes sense when nothing’s working, or you want to save your time.
They may be viewed in a bad light but their safety entirely depends on your use of them.
Just like pulling the leashes, shouting, and reprimanding, any negative reinforcement done to scare the dogs won’t bear fruit. But when the tools that help us train them are used as tools, you’ll see their benefits firsthand.
Here’s how to use them.
1. Choose The Right Collar
There are dozens of training collars in the market. You’re supposed to choose the ones that have all three types of corrections: Tone, vibration, and shock. We have listed many shock collars for different breeds after testing them thoroughly. Take some time and read about them to choose better.
Tip 1: Shock collars and bark collars are same but can be used for different purposes.
Tip 2: Always make sure to measure the dog’s neck size and pick the right-size collar. If you don’t know how to find out, check my dog collar size chart.
2. Familiarize The Dog To The Collar
Just as you introduce a normal identity collar to the dog, bring in the training collar similarly.
3. Read The Manual
Before training the dog, train yourself about the way the product works. You should avoid even the slightest chance of error for the sake of your dog.
Learn how the remote works, which button does what, how long the charge lasts, and so on.
4. Make Sure The Collar’s Snug
A loose-fitting collar will reduce the effectiveness of its stimulations. Therefore, tie the collar to the point where the prongs make good contact with the animal’s skin.
5. Start Small
It may seem productive to start with the extreme setting right away, only it’s not. You may end up hurting the poor thing.
To avoid that, start with the tone, then vibration, and lastly, shock. Go up the ladder of stimulation when the dog does not recall well.
6. Set Limitations
Owners only hurt their dogs with training collars when they transmit stimulations bigger than their capacities.
In contrast, small and quiet dogs need low levels of stimulation, while aggressive dogs like GSDs, Huskies, and Pitbulls need higher levels. You have to figure out what level of shock your dog can take and then, use a level lower than that.
7. Incorporate Negative + Positive Reinforcement
The training collars are negative reinforcement but to reap their benefit as a whole, couple them with positive reinforcement such as treats. When the dog exhibits negative behavior like jumping, leash pulling or barking, transmit stimulations and feed him a treat when it returns to its best behavior.
Practice this a few times and the dog will learn the pathway to the final reward. Make sure to use the shock collar only during training and take it off when you are done.
8. Check The Dog’s Skin
Continued use of the training collars brings bad news for the dog’s skin. Put a limit on the collar’s use.
My recommendation is only 4 hours a day and no use during the night. Also, check on the dog’s skin after each use. If there are any bruising or red marks, discontinue using the collar until things are better.
9. Keep The Remote Away From Children
Unless they are old enough to understand what accidental corrections could do to the dog, keep the remote away from them.
Any sort of unnecessary corrections will not only disturb the progress you have made but also potentially hurt the dog mentally or physically.
10. Beware Of The Dog Getting Collar Smart
Intelligent breeds such as Huskies get collar smart pretty soon if you’re not careful. They learn that the moment you pick the remote, the stimulation is going to follow.
So, they start being on their best behavior until they see your hands empty. To avoid that, make sure they don’t see the remote when you are correcting.
11. Monitor The Dog’s, Distress Signs
Training collars are worthy but not more than your pooch’s health. It may show distress signs after continued use, potential physical harm, and so on.
Related: Can a shock collar kill a dog?
How To Socialize Your Puppy Early?
Dog training works best in their puppyhood because, at that age, they are most receptive. Here’s how to do it.
1. Start With the Appropriate Age
Vets don’t recommend taking your puppies out or socializing them before their first vaccine shot. I’d argue that you could still take them out but under proper conditions such as carrying them in your arms.
Coming back to socialization, the best age to start is 7 weeks, according to PetsWebmd. However, your pup should get the first shot and deworming protocols at least 7 days before that.
From then onward, you continue to actively engage the dog in new environments worry-free.
2. Throw Pup Parties
Friends and their pets come in handy when you’re making your pup confident when meeting new people and animals. Throw plenty of pup parties in your house but make sure the guest pets are all vaccinated.
Keep an eye on the general small skirmishes as you can’t let things get out of control. That will be counterproductive to the whole process.
3. Go On Playdates
Arrange playdates for your and your friends’ pets. You are all in this together. So, you might as well help one another achieve the common goal.
4. Hit Dog Parks
Dog parks are like goldmines for socialization. Before taking the puppy there, however, make sure it knows its way around a leash. You know how dogs are. They sniff unholy things, so you may want to make sure your pup’s safety.
5. Do Not Rush It
Go with your pup’s speed and do not force anything upon it. You want to make things as comfortable as possible for them. As it is with humans and animals, stressful environments encourage unhealthy learning for all.
6. Do Not Let The Pup Be Subdued
Some dogs in the parties you throw and the parks you go to will have aggressive behaviors. They will tend to subdue your pet because they can’t help it or they are undertrained.
Avoid them at all costs. If possible, leave that place or ask them to leave as nothing’s more important than your pup’s well-being. Playing in a healthy environment will cement the foundation for its confidence for the better.
Dog Training Guide And Tips – Conclusion
Training your dog takes you both on a road to happy companionship. Your dog stays mentally and physically stimulated, you get to shake off all the anxieties and stresses, and owning a dog doesn’t turn out to be a bad decision.
However, not doing it properly will lead to the disasters you’re trying to avoid. Follow the training regimes or guides that I shared above with the tips in between and you should be good to go.
You can also read about dog training, nutrition, and more on our website. Go ahead!