If you’ve decided to train your own dog, then you should be aware of how big a task that really is. And if you’ve tried and failed at training your dog, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. Sometimes, it’s the fault of the masters for not teaching their dogs properly, and sometimes, the dogs happen to be too stubborn, lazy or carefree to actually listen to what their masters have to teach them. In either case, it’s always best to know beforehand tips on training a dog so that you can save a lot of your time and energy that would have otherwise been wasted on fruitless endeavors.
How to Train a Dog
Find a proper place
This is very important. You need to be in a place where there are minimal to no distractions, so that your dog can focus easily. If you’re training in your house, the living room is an ideal place. If you’re going outside, do so in the early morning, where there is enough sunlight but not too many people or pets out. And don’t forget to keep him on a leash when you’re outside!
Your commands should be consistent
See, here’s the thing. Dogs are smart, but they aren’t humans. For them, "sit down" and "down boy" or even "sit" might have different meanings, even if they are all the same to you. For every command you want them to perform, use just 1-2 words, and keep using them over and over again. And be sure to pronounce those commands loudly and clearly enough for your dog to understand them.
Your family members should be consistent too
When it comes to how to train a dog, a lot of people seem to forget this part. Your consistency isn’t the only thing that should matter – your family or flat mate should also use the same commands that you are teaching your dog. And don’t forget to let them know that encouraging your dog to break commands by patting or loving him when you scold him is not helpful in anyway.
Don’t punish him
Apart from being a total dick move, truth is that punishment doesn’t really work. It will only make them more scared, anxious and even aggressive. Not to mention how it will severely dent your dog’s love, faith and trust in you. Instead, opt for…
Use positive reinforcement
Simply put, when your dog does something correctly, offer him a reward for his hard work. Not only is this a more enjoyable experience for both master and the dog, but it also encourages the dog to do his best in order to earn more treats.
Consequences must be immediate
See, the thing is, if your dog’s peed on your carpet and you’re gonna punish him 1 hour later after you’re done with the cleaning, it’s not gonna work. Why? Because he won’t be able to draw a connection between what happened an hour ago and why you’re scolding him now.
Actions have to be immediate. If you want to berate him (verbally, of course), then do so when you catch him in the act, or immediately after it when he’s settled down.
Have a consistent schedule
Dogs, like humans, are creatures of habit. So when it comes to how to train a dog, make training a part of him daily schedule so that his mind and body get used to it quickly. That way he will be less resistant to his training. If on any specific day you are unable to train him, then spend 5 minutes revising his commands, so that he does not fall out of habit with his training sessions.
Have short sessions
Dogs aren’t known for their attention spans, so spending hours on grilling sessions is pointless. You’ll just be wasting your time and energy and forcing your dog to do something he would rather not be doing. Keep your sessions 20 minutes or less. If your dog has an exceptionally short attention span, then have four 5-minute sessions with 5-minute breaks in between.
Be a good leader
Look, there’s a difference between being a good parent/master and being the "alpha dog". The latter doesn’t work in a controlled city environment, especially with a dog that has been brought up with no other dogs to look up to. Be gentle, kind and patient. Your dog is just like a child, and you have no other option than to be patient with their progress. Of course, this doesn’t mean you let him do whatever he pleases – maintain a balance between being patient and being strict. And remember to never be a bully.
Slow and steady win the race
Again, patience is key. If you aren’t being as successful with your dog as you’d thought, don’t fret. Small successes are still a step forward in the right direction. Celebrate them. And remember that not all dogs are equal. Just because the next door neighbor’s dogs learnt a trick in one week and yours hasn’t been able to master it in two, doesn’t mean it is not gonna happen. It just means that in order to learn how to train a dog successfully, you gotta shake things up a bit and make them more interesting for your dog so that he is motivated to do his best!