I don’t know any parent that wouldn’t educate their child. Not only do they learn the necessities to help them thro’ life – how to read and write; spelling, mathematics etc, but also important social behaviours: such things as good manners, respect towards others, reaching goals and when restraint is required. Why would you not do that for your pet as well?
Yes, it does mean more of your time – but the rewards far outweigh any inconvenience endured. For the past 30 years I have shared my home with German Shepherds, and we have always attended dog training. Right from the early puppy stage thro’ to Agility training and into a Demonstration team where we visited retirement homes and school fetes to show off our ‘tricks of the trade’. I can honestly say both myself and my dogs have benefited immensely.
But with my past two dogs, both rescue boys, training has been a little different. At 2 and 4 yrs of age respectfully, both had already developed certain behaviours. Mostly good, but confidence within themselves, and their new environments was something that needed work on asap. Rescue dogs are renowned for suffering from separation anxiety (who can blame them!) And it takes a little time and patience to get to know your new best friend – what they like, and what upsets them. Thankfully their willingness to please seems to know no bounds, so its not such a daunting task as one would think.
Also, training has changed ie: improved, within those three decades, but you will still need to find the type of training that suits both you and your dog.
All aspects of dog training should be POSITIVE. Your dog wants your approval. His/her ultimate desire is to please you. That may be hard to believe when they’re pulling on lead, lunging at other dogs, barking incessantly, etc. But that’s what dog training is all about – learning good manners, understanding bad behaviour and realising what is required of them (and you!)
Positive Training – is the use of praise and patting as a reward, often inclusive with other training methods. To obtain the most out of a training session, plan for a time when your dog hungers for your attention (such as when you arrive home). When the dog does what is required, give them praise enthusiastically in high singsong tones, which are most pleasing for the dog. If patting, make certain it is in a way that the dog enjoys, such as stroking the dogs hair on the side of its face in the same direction that it grows, or scratching him/her on the chest.
Note: Patting on top of the head is not appreciated by most dogs.
Food Training – Food-motivated dogs work well when treats are offered as a reward. The food needs to be a favourite, such as small pieces of dried liver, lamb puff etc. To ensure that your dog is highly motivated to obey commands during a training session, train before a meal.
Clicker Training – is an animal training method based on behavioural psychology that relies on indicating desirable behaviour and rewarding it using a ‘clicker’ which makes a short, distinct ‘click’ sound which tells the animal exactly when they’re doing the right thing.
Training with your dog helps build a strong owner-dog relationship, based on trust and mutual respect. Not only will it give you confidence in the control of your dog in any given situation, but more importantly will help you achieve happy, outgoing dogs that are properly socialised.
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