Basics for successful dog training Part 1/3
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Basics for successful dog training Part 1/3
Dog training is hard work! You have to be self-disciplined, attentive and consistent. In addition you need a lot of patience and perseverance. However, dog training is not only a lot of work, but also lots of fun! The proper training will simplify the coexistence life and you can grow together as a team with your dog. In this part you will learn how a dog learns and what the key points for a successful training are.
How does the dog learn?
The dog learns best what he should and what he should not, based on the well-known "Reward and punishment system" and by understanding the psychology of a dog. According to my personal experience, I achieved hereby good results in raising a dog.
When the four-legged friend comes through with his misconduct, he will do it again that way. But when it is "punished" and he can bring his misconduct in connection, he learns from it. Here the timing is particularly important because the dog can feel the reward or punishment as such only if it is made immediately after about a second. It is also very important to be consistent and to reward / punish the same behavior.
Rewards are not only treats but also toys, petting, praise, etc. The fact that the four-legged friend gets the opportunity to do something that he enjoys, such as play with other dogs, the dog perceives it as a reward. Rewards should also be varied, which affects the expectation of a dog positively. Find out what your dog likes and develop a sense for it. Only you alone can judge what reward is just the right one.
As punishment, the dog feels, among other things, following: A certain outspoken and loud sound (e.g. NO!), he will be ignored or you go with a threatening body posture toward him etc.
Be pack leader from day one
The dog is a pack animal. He needs a solid rank in his pack, to feel comfortable. You and your family are his pack. Accordingly, you have to be his pack leader from day one and the dog has to be assigned by us to a low-ranking position in the human pack. This is where he feels well and will instinctively trust us unconditionally. For this purpose he has to recognize and accept the human as the pack leader.
Here, a consistent training, clear rules and a calm and positive energy are important. Furthermore, the dog needs plenty of exercise, needs to be challenged and be loved, of course. A pack leader determines: If you for example want to go out, do not let him storm out of the house before you. You are the pack leader and have to lead him. You also decide where to go outside.
A consistent training in the puppy-age thus establishes the basis for a relaxed and balanced coexistence of man and dog. The human occupies the role of the leader that forms the foundation for the proper hierarchy in the family pack.
Clear rules and limits
The magic word is consistency. The placed rules must always be respected. Here you can not indulge, otherwise it will be very difficult, to wean his fault behavior.
- Never feed him at the table with their own food and do not let beg.
- At feeding time: demand an obedience before eating, e.g. sit or down.
- Likewise he must already learn as a puppy that his owner may at any time remove or touch his food bowl.
- Stroking, playing, feeding always go out from you, never react to importunities of the dog
- In case of bad behavior: ignore completely your dog for a longer time.
Not humanize your dog
Even if it's hard sometimes, dogs should not be treated like human beings. You hear it everywhere, but what's it specifically to not humanize dogs? Dogs act on instinct and experience, not by reason, emotions or intellect, as we humans. Facial expressions or actions of a dog shall not be attributed to human feelings. We can not expect that our language is understood and correctly interpreted by dogs as well. Therefore, it makes little sense to say to the dog phrases like "I have told you a hundred times, that you should not chew my expensive shoes!". The dog does not understand that and he does not understand the value of objects, either.
The same applies if the dog is scared or sick. There are then "human" reactions like "Ohhh, my poor Fiffy". Dogs do not understand compassion. These human responses, such as comfort and affection make things a lot worse than to help. The dog gets for his negative behavior (anxiety, nervousness), through the human devotion, a reward. Its unsafe behavior becomes even reinforced. One you must always keep in mind that dogs are instinctive creatures that don´t think and feel like humans. The feelings that dogs feel are not as complex designed as that of a man. So always remember: do not ignore the instincts of a dog.
Take into account the needs of the dog
Each dog has its own character. Here you have to give him time to learn something new and apply, so he does not lose the fun. So do not practice too long and take breaks and integrate new exercises to motivate him. He is not a computer that can be programmed quickly to your needs. With a little patience and perseverance you will achieve initial success.
Tip: Practice with your dog after a long walk, so that the dog has eliminated excess energy and thus can better focus on the exercises. Find out which toys are his favorites and what treats he particularly likes so you can reward him properly. At the beginning you should practice for no longer than 5 minutes a day. This can then be expanded in the course of time.
Give clear signals
So that the dog can understand you correctly, it needs clear and unmistakable commands and hand signals. The pitch and the energy that you radiate, plays a major role. If you say "No!" in a gentle and neutral tone, it has not the effect to the dog that he is doing something wrong. Even the posture and hand signals must be matched to the command. The commands must be used, of course, always the same. These include classical commands such as "sit", "down", "stay", "come", etc.
Each positive behavior must be immediately confirmed to the dog. Immediately means within a second. This is the only way of our four-legged friend that he can associate the praise with his behavior. Praise is, as already described, not only to give a treat. Toys, petting, verbal praise or permission to play with other dogs are also a good praise. Tony loves, besides his treats, his toys and sticks. For exercises I can give him, rather than constantly giving him treats, his beloved Kong or a stick as a reward.
Immediate correction of unwanted behavior
The dog must bring its misbehavior in connection with your commands (No! or Leave it!). This works best if you respond immediately with your call and correct his behavior. For example the chewing of furniture: Prevent it with one particular hand movement and push the dog with an assertive hand movement away from the piece of furniture. Here applies: reward is better than punishment. Correct and desired behavior you have always to reward.
In the second part, I will describe what mistakes you should avoid when it is not so successful with dog training. Furthermore, I will list in the third part what you should consider for training in the different ages of dogs.
---> Part 2/3 - Most common mistakes in dog training - Basics for successful dog training
---> Part 3/3 - What at what ages of the dog - Basics for successful dog training
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