Most people think of dog training as merely housebreaking the puppy, and teaching it not to chew your slippers. In reality, training a dog is setting boundaries and establishing a consistent set of rules, which will enable the owner and the dog to enjoy life together in a greater way.
Before one discusses the rudiments of dog training, let us try to get a basic understanding of the way a dog thinks. First, a dog is a magical animal the God put on earth to be a friend and a companion. Dogs are extremely social animals. If left on their own, dogs run together in packs, with a very specific hierarchy and very clear rules of order and interpretation of behaviors. As to the statement about dogs being magical, this is evidenced by a dogs’ ultimate desire to please and connect with his owner. Some dogs carry this characteristic more than others do, just as some humans are more expressive than others are.
However, humans appear to be the only animal on the planet that dogs show this level of devotion. For example, two dogs that live in the same house will have a hierarchy and determine who is the lead, or alpha. Even when dogs are companions to one another for years, they will at sundry times display selfish or brutish behavior one to another. In the case of his human companion, a loyalty and devotion frankly, that surpasses that of many humans in our life. This loyalty and devotion is the very tool that must be used to set the boundaries for the dog and his owner.
Dogs can be mischievous, but they never want to disappoint. Therefore, the first rule is being consistent. One cannot send mixed messages. If one of the boundaries is that the dog cannot sit on the couch, there can be no exceptions. One cannot expect the dog to be capable of abstract reasoning. The dog would not know that he is allowed to get on the couch because it is his birthday. However, if one decides to make the couch a reward, that is acceptable, but rewards come immediately after specific and desired behavior. Let us consider some basic elements of training a dog.
- Determine what the reward will be, and use that item/activity only as a reward.
- Being consistent is more important than being firm
- Be firm, but not rough. Training a dog is very much like disciplining a toddler. The message you want to convey must always be generated out of caring.
- Always make eye contact and speak with certainty and confidence, or the dog will be training you.
- Make the lessons short and in a routine, dogs like order and routine.
- Train in a time and place that there are no distractions
- Try to make a game of it, dogs love to socialize
In summary, training your dog is the investment one makes in him/her. A well-trained dog has less stress, and a dog with less stress lives longer. Taking care of a dog means so much more than simply feeding bathing and grooming, those things are the least you should be doing.