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Dog Training – Everything You Need To Know

Dog training is ever growing and there are different ways to teach a single command using luring and rewarding, positive reinforcement, clicker method and various other methods. Schedule a training time, be patient and consistent with the training to efficiently train a dog.. Any dog will learn and master a command only when it is repeated many times. Keep the training sessions fun and positive and end with simple basic commands. Similar to how children learning a certain skill will forget it when they grow up without practice, a dog will forget the training if it is not repeated and revised regularly.

Tips to Train Your Dog

Basic Commands

  • Sit

This is one of the excellent commands to teach your dog as this will calm your dog’s nature. Start the training by holding treats in your hand and lower it until your dog comes to the sitting position. Once the dog comes to the position, mark it by saying ‘sit’ or using a clicker and reward it with a treat. 

Teaching a Dog to Sit

  • Stay

Hold your dog in the sitting position and keep your palm out by slowly moving backwards from your dog. If the dog comes towards you, start from the sitting position again. If the dog stays, mark the position with a clicker or the command ‘stay’ and reward with treats.

Teaching a Dog to Stay

  • Down

Before training the ‘down’ command, have some smelly treats in your hand and close your fists. Hold it over your dog’s nose and once it starts smelling the treat, move your hand downwards towards the floor. The dog will follow your hand and get into the down position. Mark it with a command or clicker by giving treats and repeat the steps again and again.

Teaching a Dog to Lay Down

  • Leave it

Teaching your dog this command will ensure safe intake and could be lifesaving. Take two different treats and hold one of the treats in front of your dog with fist closed. The dog will crave the treat but until it stops reacting, gently repeat the command, ‘leave it’. When the dog leaves the treat, give it the other treat and repeat this till the dog masters the command.

Teaching a Dog the ‘Leave It’ Command

House Training a Dog

Crate not only gives a personal space for the dog but makes it easy to train them also. The crate should be a safe place for the dogs and they should not be in the crate for more than 3 hours. Start by selecting a suitable crate and make it comfortable by adding beds and toys, then slowly introduce the crate to your dog by letting it smell the crate. Use commands like ‘crate’ or ‘enter’ and hand signals to point to the crate. When the dog enters the crate, give it a treat and associate the crate with positive emotions. You can also feed the dog inside the crate but ensure that the dog has no collars or tags while they are in the crate. Crate training will require a minimum of six months to master so be patient with the training.

Crate Training

Observe the dog’s potty pattern and schedule potty training accordingly whether it is outdoors or litter boxes. Ideally, a puppy needs to have a potty break every two hours to train them easily and avoid any house accidents. This training also requires consistency and patience if the dog had any unavoidable accidents during the training period. Dogs will learn to adapt to the potty timings but if they have any indoor incidents, clean the area immediately with strong odour cleaning agents to avoid repetition.

Potty Training a Puppy

  • Leash Training

Walking on-leash will safeguard your dogs, people, other dogs and potential prey. There are countries with leash laws and so leash training is an important aspect in dog training. Choose a collar or harness of your choice, attach the leash and start training indoors. Teach a word cue or use clicker, to make your dog come to you whenever you use the word or clicker and reward the dog when it comes. Start with a few steps at a slow pace and let the dog walk beside you. If your dog pulls, do not pull it back to you or yank, stand still and let your dog come to you. Take your dog outside, only after your dog is leash trained indoors. Using a short leash could help keeping your dog beside you during a walk.

Leash Training a Dog

Proofing Behaviors: To successfully complete training is by proofing the dog’s behavior. You can do it by repeating the training in new environments, adding various distractions, with other people around. Patience is the key to training a dog and proofing it’s behaviors.

What You Should Do to Train a Dog?

Training a dog is the same as bringing up a baby and requires certain qualities which are listed below,

  • Understanding the Dog: Dogs will also have bad days and may not be comfortable with training. This could be because of a health condition or psychological issue. Notice the dog’s behavior and understand it’s needs. If the dog is feeling sick or low, give it some rest and continue the training when they are feeling energetic..   
  • Reward the Dog: Pay attention to the dog’s learning process and actions and appreciate good behaviors and gestures with treats. The dog will need affection and rewards to keep them going with the training positively.
  • Consistency: For dog training to be successful, the training has to be consistent no matter how slow the dog learns. Only with consistency, the dog will pick up certain training like potty training as a habit.
  • Avoid Confusion: If each person says a different word cue, it will confuse the dog and it won’t follow the training. For instance, when you have been using ‘Off’ as a word cue to stop the dog from jumping on people, the dog will be confused and keep on jumping on a family member if they use word cues like ‘No”. 
  • Freedom: Giving dogs their own space and time is important but the dog should gain freedom through its proper behavior. You can let your dog do what they want to do once you are sure that they are trained to have self discipline and won;t get into any accidents. No matter how trained or self disciplined the dog is, it is advisable to monitor the dog during its own time.

What Will You Need For Dog Training?

1. Clicker

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2. Treat

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3. Treat Bag

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4. Collar/ Harness

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5. Dog Harness

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6. Dog Hammock

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7. Target Stick

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8. Mat

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How to Become a Professional Dog Trainer?

Step 1: Start by training your own dog by scheduling a training time and be consistent with it. As training is a mechanical skill, training your own dog will give you knowledge and experience to train other dogs. You can first begin the training with basic commands like ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’, ‘Down’ through luring or rewarding and gradually reducing the reward. It is recommended to use positive reinforcement to train any dog. Patience and consistency is the key to training a dog. Repeat the training many times to get the dog used to it. You can try various other tricks, commands, and dog sports to know the technical aspects. Focus on behavior modification also as you train your dog. 

Step 2: Training your own dog wouldn’t be as difficult as training other dogs so once you could train your dog, try to train the dogs of your friends and family. As a trainer, it is essential to know more than one training method and choose what is best depending on the dog. Training with other dogs is the best way to learn and practice more. Check with the local trainer to work as their assistant or apprentice to learn more and someone could record your development and mistakes also.

Step 3: Trainers most often train the owner to train their dogs. So, it is necessary that you have people skills. Even if you prefer training dogs over training people, you should know to help clients and reinforce their abilities and success. Training dogs is only half way through training, so training other people will complete your training skills. You could start with friends and family or join as an assistant under a trainer to learn and gain experience.

Step 4: Educating yourself with the different training areas and dog cognition will help in problem solving and adapting to any situation. You should know the science behind the training sets to effectively choose a training method and educate the clients. The certification council of professional dogs has a list of resources that will aid in choosing dog training schools, dog training courses, and webinars both offline and online. 

Step 5: Once you are experienced with training dogs and people, join any professional dog training course to get certified as a professional dog trainer. Professional certificate isn’t a requirement for dog training but with that the clients will have more faith in your work. Try to enroll in dog training associations, as this membership will increase your value among your clients. It will assure your clients that you are serious about your profession and these associations will have a locator database allowing clients to find you more easily. 

The field of dog training is ever growing, so you have to be up to date about the field and educate yourself continuously to work potentially with your clients.

Top Trainer Recommendations

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  • Koru K9 Dog Training and Rehabilitation

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  • SF Dog Connect

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  • SF Puppy Prep

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