When I first got, Pod, my lovely Labrador, he was just a few weeks old. I was anxious that I was not going to be able to handle him properly with my kids all grown and away.
The internet provided me with a lot of information and picking specific ones was a big challenge.
Hi, my name is Sarah, and I am thrilled to share with you my top 5 dog training methods on Danials site treatfortrick.com
I am saying top because there are dozens of ways in which you can train your dog and picking specific ones can be a pain in the neck. Therefore I would like to share with you the effective ways I found on the internet and used them.
I finally settled for the ways stated below.
They proved to be very effective not only for my dog but also for my friends with whom I shared the information with.
1. Using a positive reinforcement
Well, I first learned of this method when I was reading Dawn Sylvia’s journal on ‘How to Train your Dog.’ At first, I was not sure if this was going to work, but it turned out to be the best, that’s why it tops my list.
According to Dawn Sylvia, the method is very popular that it was used to train Obama’s dog, Bo.
Positive reinforcement basically involves rewarding your dog for every good action taken because dogs always repeat actions that are followed by a reward.
At first, I was wondering how this was going to work out with my puppy.
How will he learn that whatever I gave him was a reward and not the normal rations?
I was shocked when I realized that my dog was responding to instructions as he waited for a reward.
According to Dawn’s journal, a reward should come immediately after the action, and that is what I did.
One thing I noticed is that this method requires consistency in every aspect.
Encourage everyone who comes in contact with your puppy, especially your family, to use specific commands.
You also need to be consistent with your rewards until you are sure that your pup has mastered that particular instruction.
You can then remove the rewards gradually. Remember that only good behaviors get rewarded.
2. The Alpha Dog training.
The second on my list is the alpha dog training which is also very effective.
At first, I was like, and I don’t have a pack of dogs in my house, why should I read about the Alpha dog? A little bit of digging over the internet proved me wrong.
It is one of the popular ways to train your dog.
Naturally, dogs like their wolf cousins have still had their instinctual pack mentality.
The difference is that dogs no longer live in wild packs; they live with us and take us, their owners, as part of their pack. Therefore, somewhere in your dog’s mind, there is a specific chain of command.
For a perfectly trained dog, you, the trainer, should be viewed as the alpha dog.
The rest of the family fall in line and dog comes last. Therefore, as a dog owner, you must start by training your pup to submit and respect the human members of its ‘pack.’
To teach my dog this method, I had to learn his body language. I could tell if he was acting rudely or submissive.
Whenever he needed something, say going out, he had to submit to me humbly, sitting down at the door as I opened it.
The same applied to feed, and I would make him lie down patiently as I set his meal after which I will give a go ahead.
I also noticed a few drawbacks with this method. Pod became very anxious and fearful all which changed gradually as he adapted to his new place in the pack.
3. Clicker method
The use of a clicker or a whistle is another efficient way I used to train Pod. The method is similar to positive reinforcement and can actually go hand in hand.
So, how does it work? For this method, you will need a device which can produce a sharp sound, when your dog accomplishes a certain task, you click on the clicker.
A whistle can come in handy.
The clicker needs to be sounded at exactly the same time that the work has been done.
The dog can be trained on different sounds. For example, two whistles will represent a different command from one whistle.
After the dog has mastered a certain click sound, you can start introducing other verbal commands to blend in with the clicks.
I followed this method to the latter and was really impressed by what my dog could learn.
The method is mainly used to build certain character on the dogs by introducing new tricks and commands. It is however not effective in curbing misbehavior in dogs.
I learned this trick from Doggy Dan’s Online Dog Trainer which I highly recommend checking out.
4. Relationship building
Since our dog was going to be a part of my family, relationship-based training came in handy.
This method combines different training ways which are focused on an individual approach by you and your dog.
How is the relationship between you and your dog? Or how do you want it to be at the end of the training?
If you are aiming at strengthening the bond between you and your dog, then this is going to be an ideal method for your dog.
The method helps you and your dog understand each other.
Now, since you are the human, you will have to understand your dog first. With Pod, for instance, I had to learn about his body languages and interpret each of them appropriately.
Within the first week of training, I had established his favorite rewards which helped a great deal in preparing for training.
Learn the nature of your dog, its dislikes and likes after which you can train it to understand you.
This method takes time as it is done gradually.
Introduce your dog to basic concepts after which you can increase the level of difficulty.
Remember that relationship-based training can be used alongside other methods to strengthen the bond between you and your dog.
Just learn about your dog and then use the knowledge to make him understand you.
5. Using Electronic collar
They say save best for last, but frankly, this is my least favorite dog training method.
It is a very effective method as dogs are forced to master commands as first as possible.
In this method, the dog is leashed with an electric collar which delivers an electric shock when the dog fails to complete a given task.
The method is mainly used in field training especially for shepherd dogs and hunting dogs. The method trains the dog to observe certain boundaries failure to which a punishment follows.
The dogs can learn to keep a specific distance from their owners.
As earlier stated I dislike this particular method because it relies on punishment and not rewards. Dogs are taught what they are not supposed to do instead of what they are supposed to do.
Furthermore, the shock might induce anxiety and stress on your dog.
The method is only recommended for professional dog handlers who know the required limits. If the collars are misused, they can cause physical injuries, pain and psychological trauma.
The guide that helped me train my dog.
Those are my top five dog training methods which proved effective with my dog.
Remember dog training methods need consistency and patience.
Unlike humans, dogs have a relatively small memory capacity and can only learn a couple of commands in a given time.
Before you select a training method for your dog, you should know that different dog breeds have different learning rates.
Some dog breeds are fast learners and clever while others are very slow. Other breeds are almost unteachable, but with a proper training method, you can break any breed of dog.
Other reasons to consider are the purpose of your dog.
For example, mine is a house dog; therefore, I trained it to be friendly to everyone including strangers.
If you are keeping a dog for security purposes, you will definitely pick a different training method from someone who is training his dog for proper house etiquette.
Secondly, pick a training method according to your schedule.
Some methods require a lot of time while others take a short time period for each lesson.
I really hope that this article helps someone who is stranded out there. I wrote it so that whoever reads it does not have to go through what I went through learning how to train my dog.
I would love to hear your views on the above methods if you have used them.
Please leave a comment in the comment section, and you never know who you will be helping.
You may also like reading Danail’s Doggy Dan review where he discusses how this online dog training helped train his Saint Bernard named Iron.