Dog Obedience Training for Novices
While it may be easier to train some dog breeds than others, all dogs can benefit from basic dog obedience. I’m sure all dog lovers and even some folks who are not, know about the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan. While not everyone will have the skills to train a dog as he does, everyone can train their dogs to be obedient – at least to some extent.
Tips for Successful Obedience Training
There are some basic rules that apply when training dogs regardless of the breed. Most dogs can begin basic dog obedience at about 10 weeks, but be warned that their attention span is short. As such if you start training them to be obedient when young these tips will come in handy:
- Choose and stick to a method: There are different ways to teach obedience to puppies. For almost any dog, using treats is a sure-fire way to success.
- Go slowly: Puppies are like children so don’t expect them to learn everything all at once. However, obedience training must be done frequently to be successful, but limit sessions to about 15-20 minutes for puppies.
- Establish command. It is important that the dog knows who the boss is from early on.
Teaching some Basic Commands
The basic obedience commands for dogs are stay, stop, come and sit. Before beginning training decide on whether you will be using a clicker or treats. Once you have determined the method to use and the words you can begin training.
- Speak loudly and clearly when issuing commands to the dog or puppy. It is with repetition coupled with praise and rewards that your dog will learn and remember what he’s supposed to do.
- Always start off your training session by calling your dog’s name to get his attention.
Teaching the Sit Command
One of the most popular basic dog obedience commands is how to sit. Doing it can be as simple as this:
- Hold a treat in your hand and hold it above the dog’s head so that he cannot reach it.
- While holding the treat, push the dog down into a sitting position while saying, “SIT”. Make sure to be firm when issuing the command.
- Do not allow him to jump and take the treat from your hand; when he attempts to do so tell him firmly, “NO”, and keep doing that while pushing him back into the sitting position.
- Continue to do this until the dog associates sitting with a treat. Over time he will sit when commanded without any problem.
For this to work you will need to do it more than once per day, but remember to do so in short periods of time.
Barriers to Dog Training
Basic dog obedience tricks can be rendered ineffective if not done properly. There are some problems that almost always come up in dog training. Some of the most common ones to avoid are:
- Not being consistent. If the training will be done by just one person there is less likelihood of inconsistency, however when others want to help problems can arise. If other members of the family want to help everyone should use the same words and hand signals. For example, do not use the words “stay” and “heel,” use one or the other at all times.
- Trying to do too much too quickly. You may be excited about training your puppy or dog, but go slowly. Trying to get them to do too many things too quickly will only confuse the dog and frustrate you, the trainer.
- Not rewarding the dog immediately after they have obeyed your instructions. You should establish a connection between doing well and being given a treat. As such you should avoid punishing the dog if he doesn’t respond to a command.
You may find that you still need some professional help to complete training your dog, especially if you started with a grown dog.