Training helps to keep your dog’s mind active and helps you to understand each other. People expect dogs to behave when out walking or when people come into your home, but a dog won’t understand these rules if they haven’t been taught.
You will see people shouting at their dog, I have been guilty of this myself in the past, when it runs off or jumps up, or even has a tiny accident on the carpet, what is really needed is training. You have seen programs like ‘its me or the dog’ and ‘the dog whisperer’, they make it look so easy, well it is – to an extent, time and patience is required. When I take my dog out, I let her off the lead for a run on the field, I am still practising my training techniques here, as we have not quite mastered the art of coming back yet. My dogs philosophy is, if it moves chase it and ignore the silly woman who is throwing chicken flavour treats at me, but practice makes perfect and im sure we will get there in the end.
The best way to train your dog is to make it fun. You can do this by offering rewards when your dog does something positive when you ask. If your Dog behaves in a certain way for example, your dog sits down when you ask and then receives a reward like a ball, or a treat, they will want to behave that way again. If you repeat this exercise several times making sure you reward your dog straight away for their good behaviour and then add the command ‘sit’. Your dog will eventually respond to the command without needing the reward. Practice makes perfect.
Clicker training, as I call it, is another reinforcement, which can be used along with treats, the clicker makes a distinct sound when pressed and its much faster than saying well done or good boy/girl it is more effective than using treats alone. The treat should come immediately after the click, once the dog learns the sound of the click it tells the dog that he has done well and he will receive a reward. Eventually the rewards can be given less and the sheer sound of the click becomes the reward. I have never tried this method with my dog, but I have read a lot of positive accounts regarding clicker training. My horse was clicker trained, the difference is phenomenal, to say the least, when I want to trot, I make a clicking sound with my mouth 2 times and she trots, if I want to canter I make the clicking sound 3 times and she’s off, no leg on required she does it automatically, It makes me look great at shows as you can imagine.
If you need help getting started or some guidelines to follow, try this Basic Command Kit by Mikki. It contains a clicker, a larger Ragger toy a house lead, which helps you train your dog from a distance, a treat pouch and a basic training guide book with step by step instructions and illustrations