Top 7 Popular Dog Training Methods
Here’s the truth, dogs can be trained to do simple commands, fun tricks, and habits that’ll fit perfectly into your home. But your furry buddy isn’t going to learn anything on their own. They need you to put in the time and effort, too. Thus, it’s a joint project where both of you get to know more about each other’s learning and teaching styles, and coming to a middle ground that works for you and your dog.
Think of it this way, people learn in different ways–some are visual learners, while others might be auditory learners. The same goes with dog training, some dogs might respond to one method better than others, so it’s best to find the right combination of method that works well for your dog.
Here are seven popular methods to train your dog:
1. Getting A Trainer
You might have heard of Obedience Classes for dogs. It’s not only great for learning tricks and basic commands, you and your pet can also benefit from the socialization with other dogs and their owners.
There are also other services such as getting a private trainer. Depending on the trainer and their scope, your dog might be able to learn basic to advanced tricks, commands, and even correct problematic behavior.
But the important thing to remember when finding a trainer is to research and don’t forget to check the feedback on their services just to make sure your dog is in safe hands. There are many companies, such as H&H Dog Training and Delaware K9 Academy, that can provide one-on-one training or you can opt for residential training where they train your dog in their home for a minimum stay of three weeks.
2. Positive Reinforcement
This is one of the most popular training styles. Also, plenty of trainers and pet owners use this style because of how easy it is. It’s pretty simple: reward good behavior. For bad behaviors, the treat, reward, or a favorite toy can be taken away.
Rewards need to be given immediately. For instance, you’re training a puppy to use potty pads. After the puppy successfully uses potty pads, you can reward them with a treat and praise. If the puppy doesn’t use the potty pads, you don’t need to punish or reprimand harshly. The key is to focus on the correct behavior.
Keep in mind that your dog will need some time to get a hang of it, so be patient. Most importantly, be consistent. So, it would be good for all family members or housemates to remember to reward the dog for good behavior. In this way, even if you aren’t around, the dog recognizes that their actions will be rewarded.
Remember, when giving them treats, make sure that you give very small portions to avoid overfeeding them.
3. Alpha Dog
In a way, this is a biological trait for dogs. In a pack, the alpha dog leads, and the others follow. So, when training your dog, you need to be the alpha.
Here’s how you can show dominance to your dog:
- When serving food, have them wait before they eat.
- Command your dog to sit before going out for a walk.
- Don’t allow your dog on the furniture, including your bed.
- Don’t get down to your dog’s eye level.
4. Clicker Training
Clicker training is very similar to positive reinforcement. Sometimes, it’s used simultaneously with positive reinforcement.
In this method, the trainer uses a whistle or a clicker to make a sharp noise. This noise, which is a signal for a reward, is made when the dog is able to do a command. So, step one is to help your dog remember that when they hear the clicker, a reward is coming.
To do this, use the clicker and reward them several times. After they’re accustomed to it, you can now add the commands. If they successfully do the command, use the clicker, and then provide the reward.
This is a fantastic method for learning new tricks but it isn’t the best for fixing problematic behavior.
5. Electric Collar
Before deciding to use an electric collar, it’s important to note that this is best used by professional trainers. If you want to use it, you should talk to a professional first as it can cause unnecessary pain or stress to your dog.
Basically, an electric collar will spray or shock your dog if they misbehave or fail to do a command. Usually, an electric collar is used when you’re training a dog at a distance and you aren’t using a leash.
But this method is limited because it can help your dog learn what not to do but it doesn’t teach them what they should do instead. Many owners also find this method to be problematic as it can stress out the dog and cause anxiety.
6. Mirror Training
Mirror training is also known as the model-rival method. To do this, the trainer must have another human being to act out the commands. The trainer will reward the other for any completed commands, and then reprimand them for bad behavior. When the dog sees the process, they can easily recognize what they should and shouldn’t do.
In rival training, the same human acting out the commands will act as a rival to the dog. The person has to compete with the dog and try to get the command done faster, in order to get the treat.
7. Relationship-based training
This method should be used alongside other methods that work well for you and your dog. No one else knows their dog better than their owners, and dogs definitely know their owners very well, too. Using this bond will help your dog because they know how you behave. For example, when you’re cross or when you’re pleased, they’ll be familiar with the change of the tone in your voice.
In addition, as a dog owner, you’ll also know the body language of your dog, as well as what motivates them and what they don’t like. But along the way, you’ll find out more about your pet. For instance, there might be an area in your garden that your dog just loves to dig up, you can find out more about why they do this and what you can do to stop it.
Overall, training dogs is a task that requires patience. When doing so, you can always use a combination of training methods that works for you and your pet. But remember to always ask for professional advice or take advantage of the resources that are available to you.