Dog training is necessary if you plan to drive it to exhibitions, or somehow “use” it in the house duties (to hunt, leave to guard the house, take it with you for protection, if you often go in the evenings in a hectic area).
If you do not plan any of this but have a large or active dog, you will still need to train your puppy: so that the animal understands when to stop playing and what to do and what not to.
Dog training at home
Cynologist services are effective and convenient, but not necessary: the basic pet commands can be trained independently.
The difference between education, obedience and special training of the dog
First, we clearly define the boundaries between education, obedience, and special training.
Education: instilling in a pet the basic rules of behavior in the home and on the street.
A well-bred dog understands where she can sleep and where not, knows where her bowl is, knows how to behave on the street (does not show aggression unnecessarily), knows when and with whom to play. This concept is vague, so the list may differ depending on the breed and the requirements of the owner.
Usually, education = partial training. It can take place without “binding” to the commands, and the dog can perform the necessary actions without “reminding” the owner. Raising a dog to a greater extent takes place in childhood, but some new rules may be introduced later.
Training: special training of the dog to perform actions on a specific command. The owner said “sit,” and the dog sits. He said “down” – lies. Said the “speak” – will bark. There are several main commands, and there are additional ones for different fields of activity (shows, hunting, home and/or owner protection, search work, support for the blind, and so on).
How to punish and praise?
Since the training cannot do without it, we will start with the punishments:
- Do not start the training with punishments. Light demonstrative punishments (formidable tone, slap) can be used in extreme cases, and for teaching prohibitive habits (do not eat furniture, do not eat outside the kitchen, do not sleep on a sofa or bed, do not bite, and so on).
- If you punish, do it the same way, so that the pet is used to it and always understands that the owner is unhappy. Use the same strict tone (no need to shout), call the pet by name, using the words “stop”, “no”.
- Physically – you can slap the pet slightly on the croup (above the tail or side), or on the nose (if it has bitten something). The slap should not be aimed at hurting – it is a demonstrative gesture indicating discontent of the owner. You can also not give your pet a favorite treat if you usually do.
- To punish a dog for misconduct is necessary: the animal must know who is in charge. But this must be done right away, otherwise, the pet will not understand why the owner is dissatisfied.
- You can’t: scream, beat with force, beat with some objects (with a newspaper or a curled sheet of paper), lock up, deprive of food, water or walks, punish for too long (for example, continue to communicate in a strict tone for 2-3 days – the puppy will simply forget reason).
- If the dog does something wrong during the game (and she likes the game) – you can stop playing. Take a break for a few minutes, and then you can continue. If the dog behaves wrong again, take a break again.
- If the dog lowered its head, tightens its ears and looks from the bottom up – it shows obedience. Punishment can be stopped. If the puppy is aggressive (for example, on a light slap, or on a strict tone) – it can be gently taken by the withers, slightly pulled up (you can raise a couple of centimeters if the puppy is still very small and light) and shake. That is how puppies would be punished by their mother.
In contrast to punishment, the dog should be encouraged if she does everything right. Ways are:
- Say “well done”, and say the name of the pet.
- Give a treat. For this, during the training period (as well as on every walk), it is recommended to have a bag of goodies. Which ones will have to be determined in practice: buy different ones and make sure that the dog will like it the most.
- Give a favorite toy, play with your pet (at least a few minutes).
Basic commands and training techniques
The pet must know several basic commands – in order to interact with the owner and not harm himself or others.
List of basic commands:
|Command||Why is it necessary||How to learn|
|Stop||Stops any wrong action.||Stop the wrong action if you notice. If the dog does not obey, you can punish it.|
|Heel||On a walk so that the dog does not run away from the owner.||When walking, keep the dog on a short leash, if it runs back, keep it. At the same time periodically repeat the command, saying the name of the pet. If it obeys, give praise, pet and give a treat. If not, punish.|
|Come||To call a dog. It is mainly used for walking, when you let the dog run from you.||Call the runaway pet by name, adding a command. If he doesn’t react, show a treat or favorite toy, and give it when he runs up.|
|Sit||Will make the dog sit down.||It is necessary to calm and "fix" the animal. For example - to put on a leash, or to treat ears or eyes, or to switch the attention of a mischievous pet during a game or walk.|
In principle, for a pet, this set should be enough. If the training is quick – you can additionally master:
- Fetch – bring the item that you threw (ball, stick). It is useful for walking – and so that the dog “drop” energy, and that he receives physical activity, and does not get fat. The training is simple – we throw an object while pronouncing a command. Often a dog, seizing it, may itself return to the owner. If not, we call him, using the command “here”, or without words, enticing a treat.
- Down (the dog should lie down), stand (should stand without running back) – just like to “sit”. The main thing in working out these commands is for the dog to execute them right away and not get up until you allow it.
- Place – used at home, if you need to reassure a dog that has played out, or if someone came to visit. At the command “place” the dog should go to his corner. She must be trained at the same time as the dog is trained in her place in the apartment.
- Give a paw (or just a “paw”). For training, stand in front of the dog, say the command, and extend your hand palm up at about the level of the pet’s chest. Often, after several repetitions, the dog will raise its paw – then it needs to be stroked and a treat given. If this does not happen – you can take her hand with your hand, and slightly raise it from the floor, and praise after that.
Clicker for dogs – how much is needed for training?
The clicker is a small plastic remote control the size of a matchbox with a button. Click on the button – a quiet click sounds. In training, clickers are used to make it clear to the dog that she is doing something right.
The clicker is good because: it’s
- cheaper than giving the pet a treat for each executed command (a simple clicker costs $3-5);
- does not injure the psyche of the pet (unlike punishments for misunderstanding and incorrect execution of commands).
Using clickers is not necessary, but convenient, especially if the pet is not good at learning commands.
Dog training in training schools and individually
Not everyone has the time, patience and desire to train a dog. In such cases, you can entrust this task to specialists – dog handlers.
They train dogs either individually or in special schools and courses.
Services of a dog trainer (dog handler)
A more common option. A trainer can usually be found in any, not even a very large city.
Ideally, the dog handler should have their own training ground. Often this is a section of a private house. Also, a specialist can deal with a dog at home (but it will cost 3-4 times more expensive).
Cynologist services cost can vary from the city and country where you live. Depending on the dog’s abilities and the number of training teams, a minimum of 5-10 lessons should be conducted.
Schools and dog training courses
Schools and courses are available only in large cities. You can study in them both in groups and individually.
What are the differences from training with one specialist:
- usually, a dog training school has several dog handlers on staff who can teach more commands (for example, in addition to “general” areas, these can be specialists who train dogs for hunting or guide dogs);
- the cost is higher (the school needs to maintain staff, a website, spend more on advertising);
- better conditions for practicing: schools usually have playgrounds, and “simulators” for tricks, and assistants to the trainer (for example, for practicing “take” commands);
- classes can take place in groups, and during training, the dog will learn to behave normally with other animals.
In principle, these differences are not always noticeable – often dog handlers also have an assistant and an equipped training area, and they know a lot. Therefore, it is worth choosing (between a school or 1 trainer) only by reviews and by where you will be easier to get to.
Differences in the training of puppies and adult dogs
Dog training can be carried out at any age. The training of puppies is the simplest and most effective: in childhood, the pet has not yet formed a character, it makes contact more easily, has more energy for interaction.
Below we will consider tips on self-training.
Puppy training: proper puppy education from a very young age
First, general rules:
- When to start: you can start from the moment you become the owner of the puppy (that is, usually from 2-3 months or a little later).
- How long to train at a time: look at the behavior. If the puppy does not want to concentrate on studying, do it for 5-10 minutes at a time, but often (several times a day).
Training a puppy should be divided into 2 stages:
- education – instilling the correct behavior in the house and on a walk, which the puppy must observe without commands and reminders;
- training – learning commands.
Raising a puppy should include the development of such habits:
- Know your place in the apartment. If the dog is large, or if you do not want all the furniture to smell like your pet, determine its place and allow it to sleep only in it. To do this, you need to wake up the puppy if it falls asleep in the “wrong” place, bring it to his place, and hold until it settles where necessary.
- There is only a certain place. The dog will eat porridge and food only from a bowl, but if you give it a large bone, it can drag it away and bite it outside the kitchen. For training, we simply select the bone and allow only the bowl to eat. If dog doesn’t obey and drags back anyway, we repeat. If it continues, we simply select and don’t give the bone.
- Do not go to the toilet at will, but wait for a walk. Or, if these are small breeds (like a toy terrier) that can walk in a tray or on a diaper, we teach you to go exactly where you need to.
- Do not spoil the interior. To do this, you need to catch the puppy at the crime scene when he spoils something, and punish.
- Behave correctly on the street: do not pick up and eat anything, run near the owner, do not rush at other animals or people (even if it is a desire to play).
Teaching commands is the same as we described above (“Basic command and training techniques”).
Training an adult dog: features and problems in training
Dog training of dogs that have already matured has such difficulties:
- they have already developed character, habits and attitude to different situations have formed;
- if a large dog aggressively responds to compulsory training, this can be dangerous for a trainer;
- lazy and phlegmatic breeds can acquire knowledge much more slowly than in childhood (for example, raising an adult bulldog or Chow Chow will be more difficult than training a shepherd or Labrador dog);
- adult dogs have less energy and a desire to interact with an outsider (if this is not the owner), and even they can not stand an hour lesson.
What should the correct training and upbringing of the dog look like if it is already more than a year old:
- Start with the simplest commands (like “sit”, “fetch”, “come”). If the dog has already lived with you for some time, she will learn the “come” and “fetch” commands the fastest, or have already mastered on joint walks.
- Active teams (“fetch”, “heel”) are best mastered in real conditions, on a walk. All other commands that can be mastered at home – it is better to master at home, where the dog has fewer distractions.
- Use dog treats to encourage. You can try to take a general training course without them, but if the dog does not show interest, it is better to use a tasty stimulus.
- Do not train for long – it is better to exercise often and regularly. Let’s say 10-15 minutes, but every day, and only 1 command per “approach”.
- Make a list of commands that your pet really needs to know and start learning with them. Usually, a dog that does not participate in exhibitions and does not perform any special “tasks”, it is enough to know “heel”, “stop” and “sit”. If the training is given with difficulty – you can do only the basic commands.
- Consider the health status and age of the pet. For example, if the dog is already young, and she has sore joints – do not train her to “sit”.
- You can try to reinforce the command with a voice or gesture.
If you don’t know how to approach the trainer, you can take 1-2 lessons from the trainer and ask him to show how to deal with the dog on his own.