|Barked: Wed Nov 20, '13 12:27pm PST |
|Hi, all! I'm starting this forum for you to share your favorite dog-training methods so far. I'm also here to help you get started on finding what might work for your dog if you're a new owner or have a "special" pooch. (By special, I mean a dog who is.... Less than perfect maybe?)
"My dog is rather destructive..."
The number one part in my training, no matter the method, is exercise. All dogs need it! So many dogs are destructive, anxious, hyper, dominant, and insecure. A huge portion of that bad behavior is simply because the dog has energy that needs to be released! Get yourself into the habit of taking at least 30-60 minutes to exercise your buddy. For younger dogs or "spazzy" breeds (Herding breeds, most working breeds, terriers, etc.), the best way to exercise is by going on a bike ride, jogging, a long game of fetch, a beach-run, agility, frisbee, herding, pulling, the list goes on! For older dogs or less active breeds (many non-sporting breeds, some hounds, certain toy breeds, etc.), a daily walk will suffice.
"Okay....so I just took my Aussie on a run, but he's still a flake!"
Physical exercise is only part of it... Dogs also need mental stimulation. Try getting him involved in a sport that makes him think (agility, frisbee, nose-work, even teaching new tricks!). Don't feed him kibble from a bowl! Make him work for it. Put food in a brain-teaser (you can find them at PetCo, or you can look online to make your own. Even use toys like Kongs.)
Onward to the Different Methods!
Okay, first off, what type of dog do you have?
-Average energy level.
-He's different every day...
-I'm not really sure...
Make a mental note of what qualities your dog has...
This method is a favorite among people. It simply involves ignoring bad behaviors and "catching" the good ones. Usually clicker training is associated with this, although you can just use a keyword like "good" instead. This is great to boost confidence in shy dogs, it can also help motivate a stubborn dog. I use this method a lot, but sometimes it gets old pretty fast for certain dogs. The reward depends on your dog. Most dogs go bonkers for a tasty treat (I usually buy a small bag of fancy kibble... Those mini training-treats are SO spendy!)
Many people /think/ they're using this method, when really, they just nag and yell at their dog. (Know how people start tuning you out if you nonstop yell? Yeh, dogs do that too!) if done properly, this method can speak out to a dominant doggie, or a spazzy dog. I don't recommend it much for shy/sensitive ones though. Proper correction can be as little as a tap on the neck/side and a "Shhht!" And can go up to a sharp tug with the pinch collar and a firm "No!" The key to correction is perfect timing. If you scold even a few seconds too late, you might have just scolded your dog for being quiet...
You never want to give correction when your dog comes (even if he comes on the 20th call... Remember to keep the come command to just that, "Come" don't nag "you get your rear over here or else!...")
Also, never say their name on the correction. Fido won't sit. It's a "No, sit." It's not "FIDO! NO! SIT!!!"
Make sure your correction counts... You should only need to do one scold, don't start with a wimpy-questioning "not now...?" Always make it strong enough that you know he'll listen.
This method is a great one when properly executed. I NEVER advise using -only- corrections though, a dog ALWAYS needs praise and affection from you.
-Tones and Body Language
The most important part about training is to keep a calm energy going. Believe it or not, dogs mimic their owners. If you stay calm and cool like a good pack leader, the dog will know "oh wow, I don't have to be the insecure leader, I've got a good confident leader right here!". If you're nervous, bored, or scared, the dog will either ignore you or pick up on that and become a nervous wreck.
Tone is also important. During training, keep a positive-happy voice. Don't go overboard and turn it into your squeaky-baby voice though! Think positive-command tone. You are telling, not asking, your dog to do this. You're not screaming though...
-Practice practice practice!
In reality, any method out there can work for just about any dog. It's how the trainer executes that method. The best thing you can do is try different methods (I encourage combining them!) until one sticks with you and your dog. Your dog might respond well to sharp correction, but you might be too squeamish to deliver a hard "No" and that's fine! If you can master positive training, you will be okay!
My best advice is to never give up, never hold a grudge on your dog (corrections and praisings last only a moment before your dog forgets), and do tons of research! Watch TV shows on training, read books, study out websites.
If you're still having trouble connecting with your dog, I'd advise to contact a trainer with good reviews. They are there to train you, not the dog!
Finally, does anyone else have extra tips, tricks, techniques, and methods? I'm always learning new ways for my boys, and would love to hear from you!
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