Are you wondering how to train a dog? There is a lot of contradictory information on the web and sometimes it can get very confusing. As a general rule, always follow positive methods and do not apply anything that makes you uncomfortable.
Whether it is potty training, leash training or manners, I will tell you what the key concepts you need to know are to overcome most dog behavior problems.
The information is simple, the hard part is to follow through with dog training! As a general rule, if a dog is not doing something right…it's most likely the human's fault.
The good news: you can learn what to do and help your dog or puppy understand and follow your instructions. It's all about to communication, but intra-species communication. To accomplish this, we need to learn the tricks of universal learning. How do dogs learn? how do they communicate? Find it all here!
Dogs and all animals learn through the principles known as Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning and Extinction.
When you read about these principles you will notice that animals learn with both rewards and punishment. So, how to train a dog? with punishment or with rewards?
Rewards, of course! Forget about electronic collars, choke chains or any other form of punishment.
When you use rewards, you are telling the animal exactly what it is that they did correctly and they will repeat that behavior to get more rewards!
When you use rewards you are creating a positive association with the correct behavior. You canine friend will want to do it even off-leash…and even without food! (Learn here how to use food treats the correct way).
Instead give a reward for the correct behavior. What if the reward is not good enough? would you go higher? Yes! because the worse that can happen is that you are just pampering your furry friend!
When you use rewards the right way, you will also be reinforced when you see the behavior you want happening more often!
If you use rewards the exact opposite happens, your pet will feel joy during training sessions! He will actually feel joy in every aspect of his life. Positive reinforcement makes us and the animals feel good and learn at the same time!
That said I would like to make a clarification. You will be using punishment, mostly inadvertently. Punishment is defined as something that when given reduces the likelihood that the behavior will happen again. There are some things your dog might not like, for example, when you hug him or when you completely ignore him.
Focus on the positive way, rewarding good behavior. And as for punishment, yes...ignore your dog when he does something bad.
How to train a dog the right way? With positive training methods!
You can use them all! Each one will be good for each different situation.
I always say that dog training is a little bit of teaching and a little bit of understanding. You are teaching your pet some English, but in return you need to learn how to speak dog!
Do you think barking is the way dogs communicate? Before any sound comes out of their mouth, they have a full set of body postures that can communicate many things. You can learn about them to understand your dog and anticipate his needs. This can be extremely useful to prevent dog fights or attacks from your dog or directed at your hound.