Adopting a puppy or an adult dog can bring you immense joy. Those of you who’ve already done it know that spending time with your canine companions is the ultimate mood booster. And why wouldn’t it be? A pooch loves his human unconditionally. However, just like children, dogs need to be guided and taught good manners, otherwise, they might begin behaving badly. That’s precisely why you need to take your dog’s training seriously.
When it comes to dog training, I advise you to start slow and small. Meaning? Basic commands and fun tricks first. Teaching your pup some basic dog training commands and tricks such as ‘come’, ‘stay’, ‘drop it’, and ‘back up’, will give your furry pal structure and can help prevent or overcome common dog behaviour issues. Plus, the process will most likely strengthen your bond with one another.
Once your furry family member learns the basics, you can proceed to house or potty train him, teach him how to walk on a leash, socialize him with other pooches and people, and last but not least, tackle any unwanted behaviour that he exhibits. But in order to train your canine companion successfully, you’ll need dog training equipment. Depending on the main tool used in the dog training sessions, there are many different ways to train a pooch. Here are some of the most popular and effective ones.
A Dog Training Collar
Although it still may not be the most popular way to train a dog, the use of dog training collars has been on the rise in the last few years. Many people choose this method of behaviour modification because quality dog training collars deliver fast results and eliminate the constant need for your presence to train your dog.
Spray bark control collars and shock collars (also known as electronic collars or remote training collars) are the two most common types of dog training collars. Spray bark training collars for dogs are made to emit a burst of citronella or air when your dog starts barking or whining. This will interrupt and deter him from barking. If you opt for a spray bark control collar for your pup, remember not to use it when he’s in the company of other dogs because if they start barking, your dog’s collar may activate and thus confuse him. Another piece of friendly advice I want to give you is to look for collars that are certified pet-friendly or pet safe. Your pooch’s well-being should always come first.
Electronic, or shock collars, are remote training collars that use electric current passing through metal contact points to give the dog a signal which can vary between two extremes: a mild tickling sensation and an intense shock. Luckily, most modern shock collars offer the flexibility of adjusting the shock level as well as the option for a warning beep or vibration before the jolt arrives. A number of pup parents say that the vibration mode alone has done the trick for them.
Before you decide to tackle some of your dog’s problematic behaviours with a shock collar, you need to know all the important facts. Electronic collars are a form of aversive behaviour modification, which is the opposite of positive reinforcement. Furthermore, some dogs have learned to fear people and objects they link to the collar. All of this serves as a reminder to do the necessary research and carefully opt for certified pet safe products.
A common form of positive reinforcement, clicker training is a simple and incredibly effective dog training method that’s based on the use of a clicker. As you may already know, a clicker is a metal strip placed inside a small plastic box. When pressed, this object makes a distinct clicking sound. This tool is a much faster way of training than saying “good boy” and its results are much better from the ones that treat training alone generates.
Professional dog trainers suggest combining clicking with treats. By rewarding your pup with a treat, he will learn the positive effects of the clicking sound. After a while, your dog will start reacting to the clicker itself. Luckily, clickers aren’t expensive and can be found in most well-established physical and online pet stores.
How to Properly Clicker Train a Dog
“Loading” the clicker is one of the most effective clicker training techniques. The very first step you need to take is creating a calm and friendly environment for your pooch. Beginning the training session in a distraction-free area while your canine companion is hungry is the ideal scenario. Make sure you have plenty of delicious dog treats during the training because they are an essential part of it. Small pieces of unseasoned cooked chicken or turkey make for an easy and relatively cheap option.
Once everything’s all set, you can proceed to introduce the clicker. The most important part of this step is to give your furry one a treat immediately after pressing the tool. Practice makes perfect, which is why you might want to repeat this click-and-treat combination several times.
Testing your dog is the next step. After a number of repetitions of the second step, you might want to see whether your pup has begun associating the clicking sound with positive treatment. The easiest way to test your dog is by using the clicker when he’s not focused on you. If he hears the distinct sound and starts paying attention to you, looking for a tasty treat, it means you’re ready to move on. If that doesn’t happen, don’t worry. A few more training sessions might get you there. Remember: patience is key.
Using a clicker to teach your canine basic and advanced commands is a smart decision. Pressing the clicker at the exact same moment your pooch exhibits the desired behaviour or performs the right trick will help him associate his actions with the click as well as the reward. If you and your pup have regular clicker training sessions, chances are he’ll soon start performing the desired tricks without you using the tool.
Target Stick Training
As the name suggests, target stick training is based on the use of a long lightweight stick for the purpose of teaching dogs both basic behaviours and complex tricks. You can choose between simple, fixed-length target sticks or fancier ones. Some collapse for easy storage, whereas others come with a built-in clicker. The latter can be extremely helpful as they wed two different dog training techniques. If your pup is already well acquainted with clickers, I strongly advise you to use one when target training him for better and faster results.
How to Properly Target Stick Train a Dog
If you decide on this simple yet effective way to train your dog, you should start by rubbing some of your pup’s favourite food on the end of the target stick and encourage him to smell it. When he does, push the clicker and reward him with a treat. This is how he’ll learn that touching the target stick is a good thing for him. Some professionals believe that verbal commands can be excluded in this case.
Once you realize your pooch understands the basics of this training exercise, you should move on to the next step: making things a bit more difficult for him. Start moving the target stick in different directions – left, right, above and below your dog’s nose. Click and offer him a treat each time he follows the direction of the tool. Practice this on a daily basis to improve the results. A dog that comprehends the basics of target training can easily learn how to navigate obstacles or walk correctly at his human’s side.