When you get a pet home, you put them in an altogether new environment. They don’t know how the world inside it functions, they need to be familiarized with it. This is why training your pet is essential. You can find out all about training methods that work for your dog below.
How Did Dog Training Originate?
Dogs are one of the first animals to be trained by humans – the first dogs were domesticated as far back as 40,000 years ago. To summarize, it can be said that the main purpose of dog training was to help herd and guard livestock, and help humans hunt.
Our ancestors saw dogs as just a means to an end, as an animal that helped them complete difficult tasks, making their lives easier. However, as machinery came into play, the dogs transitioned from being a helper to being a companion – especially as suburban America began to shape the trend of house pets back in the 1950s.
What started off as a dominance-based relationship quickly transformed into a bond that’s weathered all kinds of hurdles.
Best Home Training Methods for Your Pet
Dog training can be pretty overwhelming. You may find yourself asking, “Can I train my dog myself or do I need to hand this responsibility over to a professional?”
Home training your dog is a huge responsibility. As a dog parent, you’ll constantly find yourself updating your training methods to better suit your dog’s behavior and temperament.
There’ll be a lot of accidents but you’ll learn on the way. Remember to be patient, committed, and consistent. In no time, the newest addition to your family will be on the right track of house training.
Here are the best training methods that work for your dog.
Dogs live for rewards and praise (and their humans, of course!). When they see you’re pleased when they do a certain thing, they’re bound to repeat it. If you reward them with treats in addition to a verbal or non-verbal show of approval, all the better!
By rewarding them seconds after they exhibit good behavior, you’re conditioning them to associate a happy experience with it, one they’re bound to repeat whenever they can. Positive reinforcement is beneficial for both dogs and humans. While significant positive attention is paid to good behaviors, the bad behavior and temperament simply goes unnoticed.
The Tough Part of Staying Positive
However, you have to remember that this method might work towards strengthening your dog’s bad behavior. By not being punished for it, your dog is indirectly being rewarded to do as it sees fit, with no negative impact whatsoever. So the next time you disregard your dog’s bad behavior, remember that you’re encouraging it indirectly.
Consistency is key. Your dog is not going to learn the workings of this method overnight so control the frequency or number of treats if you’re rewarding them with food.
You can choose to employ other rewarding methods like walks in the park, petting, praises, and toys. But before you take your dog for a walk in the park, you’d also want to consider how to teach your dog to behave in a park.
Dogs have behavioral tendencies – all determined by their genetics, life experiences, and their general environment.
The Scientific Training method relies on these behavioral tendencies of dogs. Why do they do a certain thing? Do they have some sort of motivation that prompts them into action?
The main purpose of employing this technique is to know what makes your dog tick, what spurs it into action, and to familiarize yourself with how they communicate in a given situation. By keeping tabs on their responses, this training method paves the way for owners to effectively get their message across, without the need of employing negative reinforcement tactics.
How Does Scientific Training Look in Action?
For example, if your dog is whining, don’t reprimand them. Do they want something? Do they want attention? Find out the root cause by reading their behavior and see if you can work that out without causing them harm.
Whatever tactic you bring into play, you have to remember to be patient. And confident. Dogs can sense insecurity. As their owner, they might visualize a master, an alpha, in you. When you show no traits of the same, they see you as weak and as someone that can be easily dominated.
Through scientific training, you can get a solid grasp of your dog’s behavior patterns and also control them without harming their confidence. Let them figure out the right and wrong and gently nudge them in the right direction.
Clicker Training is a popular and effective mode of training. With the use of a small hand-held clicking device, you can ‘mark’ the point where your dog exhibits desirable behavior. Based on the science of animal learning, this method helps dogs show continuity to behaviors that are rewarded when ‘marked’ by a clicker.
A Powerful Psychological Marker
However, you have to be attentive to your dog’s behavior. The treat/reward must be provided immediately after they exhibit the preferred behavior, which will help them determine which behavior is being rewarded. With time, you may not even have to hand out treats to your dog as they’ll start considering the click of the device as their reward.
For example, if you’re teaching your dog to sit down when asked, you can ‘mark’ the exact time their butt hits the ground, following it with a treat. By using this mark and reward training method, you can also teach your dog obedience commands and encourage desirable behavior without resorting to employing different modes of training.
Model-Rival Training Method
The model-rival method of training, as indicative of the name, gives the dog a model to follow. Based on the principles of social learning, this method needs 2 trainers to properly function. One dog watches and the second trainer acts as a model or a ‘rival’ for attention.
The technique was made famous by animal psychologist Irene Pepperberg, who conducted a 30-year experiment on an African Grey Parrot named Alex – who was one of the most intelligent trained animals ever documented.
How Does Model-Rival Training Work?
Through this method, a dog is made to watch a trainer complete a task or a set of tasks and be rewarded for it, fueling its desire to follow through with the same.
Your dog can potentially become very stimulated and excessively enthusiastic to perform the same task so keep that in mind. It’s best to tether it to a post or use a leash to keep it under control, so that it has the time and space to understand what behaviors will result in positive outcomes.
Crate Training Method
Crate Training is the MVP of home training methods. It works on the concept of a dog’s natural instinct to seek out a shelter, a safe space, when the outside environment becomes overbearing. While this method provides significant relief to rescue pet owners, it has something to offer to every dog parent.
For starters, crate training establishes boundaries. So even when you’re out working or running errands, you don’t have to worry about dogs wreaking havoc and chewing the legs off the furniture. As dogs hate to soil their den, crate training can also help benefit dog parents who are potty-training their puppies.
With Crate Training, Restraint Is Key
While crate training has its fair share of upsides, it’s important to ensure you’re not ‘trapping’ your dog by any means. This can cause anxiety and stress and break the bond of trust you’ve painstakingly built with your pet.
Spread out the time you’ve allotted to crate training in batches and let your dog get accustomed to it bit by bit. You can then introduce longer crate training periods. This crate has the potential to become their favorite place so remember to employ this training method wisely, and plan its location well in advance.
Benefits Of Home Training Your Dog
Home training your dog has a lot of benefits. It doesn’t matter what kind of breed your dog is, or what stage of life it’s at, or the kind of temperament and behavior it possesses. Training your dog is an essential skill to learn with a truckload of benefits to back it up.
Here are some of the benefits associated with home training your dog:
Improves the Safety Quotient
Dogs can be reckless, especially when they’re playing. While they have pretty good natural instincts, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Your dog’s safety is your responsibility. By training your dog, you not only provide better security and safety to it but you also ensure your dog takes better care of itself, especially while outdoors.
Builds Human-Canine Bond
Home training benefits both you and your dog, allowing you to establish a conflict-free bond. As it helps you understand your dog better, you can potentially be a better dog parent and by being a good dog, your dog will get its fair share of exercise and play.
The better behaved your dog is, the more you’ll be open to taking him for outings. It’s a win-win.
Works Towards Keeping Your Home Safe
Dogs that are not trained tend to indulge in destructive behavior, seeing as they’re not held accountable for any misdemeanors. Training your dog, especially when you find yourself out of your house often, is essential for ensuring the safety of your space.
Training your dog means familiarizing your dog with what’s accepted and what’s not. So the next time your dog starts feeling anxious or stressed when you’re not around, it will seek a safe space instead of chewing on furniture and pillowcases.
Improves Social Behavior
Training your dog means eliminating all those second guesses you have to make before you take your dog out to play. It ensures your dog will behave well in a social setting.
By training your dog, you not only enforce the idea of what’s right and wrong. You also ensure that your dog feels safe being around other humans and dog breeds.
Sometimes, their aversion or misbehavior is not because they’re acting out or are dominant, it’s because they’re surrounded by people they barely know, which can spike their anxiety levels.
Tips To Make Home Training Easier
Finalized a training technique? It’s time you bring it into action. These tips will help you get the answer to the question, ‘How to house train a dog?’
Establish a Routine
Dogs thrive when they establish a routine. It gives them an idea of what is to be expected each day. Change scares them – when you get a new puppy, it’s advisable to start their training in a routine manner right off the bat.
By being consistent, you emphasize just how important doing things on a schedule is. This will condition them into eating, pooping, and playing during a certain time frame only, giving you better control of your canine’s lifestyle. Don’t forget to indulge them in dog training exercises as frequently as you can.
Keep Training Periods Short
The more time you spend on something, the better hold you’ll have over it. Common sense, right? However, it doesn’t work well with dogs.
Dogs tend to get distracted easily as they have a short attention span. So holding longer and/or more frequent training sessions will not do your canine any good. The longer your training sessions, the more tired and distracted your dog will be. Tired dogs tend to make mistakes, which stumps the whole purpose of training.
It’s better to space out your dog’s training sessions. A training session should last no longer than 15 minutes a day. If your dog gets distracted easily, you may need to narrow down the sessions.
Training Commands Should be Short
Teaching your dog training commands will not only help you have a better control of your canine, but will also help you tackle any and every behavioral issue that may crop up during their lifespan.
Keep the commands short. Using one word will do the trick just fine. ‘Sit’, ‘Down’, ‘Come’, ‘Stay’ are some popular and handy training commands. Remember, give your dog time to learn. Respect the process, don’t rush it.
Pay Attention to What Your Pet is Doing
It’s important to keep a check on your dog. Most of the time, you’ll be able to interpret and diagnose the root cause of their anxiety and stress by paying attention to the behavior they exhibit.
Because your dog knows you’re keeping an eye on them, they’ll be less likely to soil the house and behave themselves.
Learn to Be Forgiving
Mistakes happen. Dogs don’t have the ability to reason. They need to make mistakes to learn. Don’t deny them that.
Instead of employing negative reinforcement techniques and making your dog fear your presence, find a middle ground to communicate. So every time you catch your dog making a mistake, redirect them to a more agreeable alternative, possibly one that will get it rewarded with treats and longer play time.
Dogs aim to please and tend to form long-standing trauma from punishment. To live the best life alongside your pet, make sure you don’t subject them to the latter, at least not without purpose.
The above-listed training methods that work for your dog are all well-documented and effective. When and if you notice that you’re still a long way from home training your dog, don’t jump from one method to the other. Take your time. Find out the ‘why’. Is your dog distracted or just unwilling to learn?
Finding out the root cause will help you determine the right course of action. Remember, home training can prove to be a great way to bond with your four-legged friend, provided you employ a method that works for both of you.