5 Rules of Dog Training Every Owner Needs To Know
5 Rules Of Dog Training Every Owner Must Know
When it comes to training your dog, there’s a ton of different ways that will work for some dogs, and definitely won’t work for others. But despite those differences, these are 5 rules that every owner needs to know when it comes to dog training!
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1. Don't Repeat Yourself
While it may seem like a good idea, this is something you'll want to avoid. Repeating a command is one of the biggest and easiest mistakes to make. This also happens to be one of the most common. After all, as humans, we do it all the time.
For Pearl Toh, an Australian cake designer and proud Jack Russell owner, it’s probably the easiest mistake to make as a first-time dog owner. “Everything is so exciting when you get a dog for the first time, and you often will learn as you go along. But the one thing I wish I knew was that repeating myself wasn’t good for the dog. It took a bit of time to weed that out of my vocab!”
When we ask someone to do something and when it's not done, we usually repeat ourselves to make it known. However, when dealing with your canine friend, that's not something you'll want to continue doing. After all, dogs learn by association. Because of this, you want to be certain they are associating the words and gestures you're using with the positive behaviours you want them to display.
2. Facilitate Predictable Outcomes
Any professional and skilled trainer knows about the importance of having a dog set up for success. Because of this, they avoid asking for something they know isn't going to work. Dog training is something that is rooted in science. Much like everything else that is, you need to be utilising the process of trial and error to figure out the right solution.
3. Pay The Price
At the very core of training a dog, it's a transaction. You are paying your dog to perform a specific action. As long as you look at it this way, you'll have no trouble with it. For instance, when you are asking your dog to perform a very simple behaviour, you might want to offer up a small reward.
Architecture entrepreneur Michael Yousef owns a chocolate Labrador, and highlights the importance of giving the deserved reward to your dog. “Simple tasks can be rewarded with small amounts of treats. At times, it helps to think about these types of situations as if you were a human. You wouldn’t do a task without thinking about what you’d be getting out of it, whether that’s financial compensation or other means of being repaid. It’s similar for our canine pals.”
However, anything that requires even more thought and effort on the part of your dog, you'll want something much grander. You'll find the price of getting your dog to perform each action can vary based on your dog's personality. The key is understanding that the more you are asking of your dog, the higher the price you'll need to pay. Dogs aren't going to be willing to negotiate. If you want to teach your dog difficult behaviour, you'll need to pay the price.
4. Calmly Guide Behaviour
While yelling is one of the things we often do as humans to other humans to get our disappointment across, that's not something that will work with dogs. A dog is very likely to find this behaviour aversive and it will come with consequences that can be avoided. Not only is it more humane to calmly guide behaviour, but it generally works much better on our canine friends. You should also be looking to reward your dog for doing something positive. Not only has reward-based training been proven to be more successful, but it can encourage your dog to work even harder to satisfy you. It can even eliminate the tools you might normally need for negative reinforcement training.
5. Letting Your Dog Choose
One of the things you'll need to remember is that all behaviour is conditional. Because of this, you need to change the conditions if you want to alter their behaviour. This is one of the most important things to understand as a trainer. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of the hardest to remember to implement.
Sally Austin is a trained physical therapist and has fostered many puppies throughout her life, and says that throughout her fostering experience she learnt that giving the dog control within reason is vital. “You can’t box the dog into a corner, you have to let it be free. Obviously you create and set some important boundaries, but you have to create those boundaries within reason. You learn quite quickly the necessary boundaries that need to be set for a dog.”
When you are training a dog, you are the teacher. You control the learning conditions that are in place. Thus, it's your job to figure out when to change the conditions that allow the behaviour you’re teaching or modifying to exist.
Dog training isn’t something that you can just treat as a side product. Dogs are very complex animals, and it’s important to understand all of their needs so that they can live the life they deserve. At Mutts With Manners, we ensure that they’re trained for you and your dog to grow and love each other!
Whether it’s puppy toilet training, your dog is pulling on the leash too much or anything in between, Mutts With Manners have helped the dog and the owner to the best possible outcome. Check out the site today and learn how your dog can be the one that everyone wants their dog to become!