Chances are that you either own a dog, or know someone that does. If you do, then like millions of people, you have likely experienced some aspect of dog behavior that was inappropriate. Behavioral problems in dogs can range from the simple issue of not getting off the couch, to jumping on visitors, barking, digging, or more aggressive behavior like growling and biting.We all like to think that the dog we own is a loving, caring, timid pet that would never hurt a single creature, and for the most part they are. Unfortunately this is just not true for all pets, or under all situations, at least not without some helpful guidance of the owner. Any breed of dog, from a small terrier to larger dogs like mastiffs, will generally have some common problem behavior, and will benefit greatly from a consistent training routine.This is not to say that the dogs are bad, just not well trained. We have all seen the owner that has a pet that can do every trick in the book. They can sit, stay, roll over, play dead, and maybe even do back flips. But these tricks are no good if the dog will not stay when told or chews the furniture to pieces. Doing these things is the true measure of how well trained your pet is.
The majority of people will attempt to train their pets to some degree. Regrettably this is frequently done inconsistently and without proper guidance. We all love our pets and like to spend time playing with them, chasing a ball, or just running around. This is great exercise for both pet and owner, but this is not training by itself. Training consists of a concentrated effort on the part of both the dog and the owner. Yes, I said the owner.In order to train your pet, you must first train yourself. No, you will not need to learn tricks and wait for a treat, but you will have to set aside time to properly train your pet for a consistent amount of time each week. A basic training regime will often be between 15 to 30 minutes per day and at least three days each week. Most basic training does not require hours of intensive work. In fact this can be detrimental to your pet. The utmost importance is on the consistency of your training.For the training to be its most effective there should only be one or at most two people working with the pet. This works well for a husband and wife team. Having too many trainers is much like having too many bosses at work. The dog will become confused at any changes from one person to another. Pets do know how to test you. They will try to get away with bad behavior. Also, you will need to make sure that both people are always using the exact same commands. Do not let one person use the term “down” instead of the “sit” command. Also, do not make changes. If you use “sit” do not change it to “sit down”, as this will again cause confusion to the dog.Make sure to reward your dog when commands are followed. This does not mean giving your dog a steak or even a snack at all. Try simply saying “good boy” and petting him on the head. Try to keep food reward to specific reasons. You do not want the dog to become accustomed to looking for the treat, as this too will distract from the long term training objectives. If you’re going to use treats as a reward, try to use treats that do not have an overly intense smell. Remember your dog’s sense of smell is much better then yours, if he smells a treat before doing good, he may lose the incentive to do good.
The most important aspect with regarding failure to obey command is to never hit your pet. Animal cruelty should never even be considered as a training motivator, and in fact will likely backfire in the long run. Pets do not have the same ability to reason and rationalize as humans. If a pet is hit, it will become aggressive. It may not show up to the owner, who has taken on a role of being an “alpha” leader. It will however tend to show up when the owner is not around. Such as if the dog is being watched on vacation.There are plenty of humane ways to train your pets. You will not need to use shock collars, hitting, or any inhumane methods. Your pet will thank you for taking the time to train them properly. They will do this by obeying your commands when asked, and they will not be getting into trouble. They will be much happier pets because they will be rewarded for doing things properly. They will appreciate the love you show for them for many years to come.