It is very important to train your pet dog, no matter if he is big or small, young or old. In addition to improving his behavior, the training will also improve your relationship. The dog will learn what he can and cannot do and will respond to your commands, which will make his life safer (for example, this can prevent you from being run over by running after the dog if he runs away or gets lost in the street).
Method 1 of 4: Preparing for Training
Step 1. Buy your dog's favorite treats
Take small pieces that can be given as a reward for every thing he does without you having to worry about the animal getting fat. Some breeds, especially Labradors and Beagles, are very food related and you can use some of the daily ration as a snack.
Step 2. Choose an environment with few distractions
The backyard is a good option, as the idea is for the dog to hear you and not watch the other animals having fun in the park. At the beginning of training, when you are still not sure of the animal's responses, keep it on the leash so you don't have to scream to get its attention if it gets distracted. In these cases, just give the guide a slight tug.
Once your dog has learned the basics, add distractions to the lessons so that he understands that you want him to react the same way under any circumstances, not just in the backyard
Step 3. Keep training sessions brief at the beginning
A typical training program involves two sessions of about 15 minutes a day. Reinforce the commands by asking the dog to sit before meals or stay when you put the lead on him for a walk.
Each dog has a different concentration time, but some breeds are more trainable because they have greater concentration, such as German Shepherds, Border Collies, Labradors and dogs that were bred as hunting animals
Step 4. Be realistic about the speed of progress
It is possible to teach an old dog tricks, but the process will take longer. Don't expect him to learn as fast as a puppy in the socialization period, but don't be discouraged by slow progress: keep going and you'll be rewarded in the end.
Method 2 of 4: Choosing the Type of Training
Step 1. Use training with rewards
Many training methods advocate that you demonstrate you dominate the dog: be a leader through encouragement, not punishment. See him as a new child member of the family who needs to follow the house rules for everyone to benefit from it.
Reward training works on the principle of rewarding good behaviors for the dog to repeat. By ignoring unwanted behaviors, the dog will realize that it will not benefit from them and will stop them
Step 2. Learn to use a clicker
Detailed clicker training can be found here, but the principle is to teach you how to associate the device click with a reward or treat. When the association is made, issue a command and use the clicker to mark the exact moment of the desired behavior before rewarding the animal.
The advantage of using the clicker is that it is not necessary to reward the dog with a treat and it is possible to accurately mark the desired behavior
Step 3. Never use a choke collar
You can end up causing irreparable damage to the dog's neck or even killing him. This is cruel and your pet will probably not like you very much.
The use of choking or electric collars represents lazy and poor quality training, which depends on fear and pain to dominate the dog. You should encourage the dog to choose the right behavior, never make him fear you
Step 4. Do some research on dog training
Look for books and articles about training in libraries and bookstores or on the internet. Learn more about dog behavior and psychology to get a new look during training.
Step 5. Never yell or hit the dog
Since dogs live in the present, fighting him about something that has already happened will only associate negativity with his presence. The animal will not learn the lesson and your relationship will suffer. If you catch him doing something wrong in the act, use facial expressions and disapproving sounds to show you're not happy. The only thing you will achieve by screaming or acting violently is the destruction of your bonds.
Aggression usually results in fear on the part of dogs. If you hit a dog hard or often, he may fear the approach of anyone's hands. When he sees a child's hand approaching to caress, he may think he will be attacked and bitten out of fear
Method 3 of 4: Teaching Basic Commands
Step 1. Start by teaching the dog to sit
Once he has mastered this command, he can control it in a variety of situations. For example, if he hears the doorbell ring and runs to the door to bark, it may be possible to interrupt the behavior by asking to be seated, rewarding obedience, and taking him to a room where he will not bark.
- Have a treat on hand and place it at the level of his snout. As you take the treat upstairs and he follows it with his head, say "sit down". When the dog's head turns up to look at the treat, he will sit down. The moment his ass touches the ground, use the clicker and give the reward.
- When the dog is reproducing the behavior frequently, don't give the treat every time. Since he will not know whether or not he will receive the reward, he will try even harder to earn it. Start rewarding him only when he obeys you four or five times.
- When the dog is sitting on command regularly, ask him to do this before putting the food in the pot and on the sidewalk before crossing a street.
Step 2. Teach the dog to stand still
Make him sit down and then step back. Say "stay" and when he doesn't move, use the clicker, reward him and praise him. Gradually increase the distance until you can leave the room without the dog moving.
Step 3. Teach him to come to you
Start in a small place so the dog is never too far away. As soon as he turns to you and heads towards you, say "come", make the click, and when he catches up, praise him and give him a treat. Keep repeating the process until the dog understands what you want him to do. Call him to you whenever you feed him or in any circumstance where he would already come to you anyway.
- Make the act of coming to you good for the dog. Show animation and reward him often. Start with short distances and free the dog to go back to what he was doing.
- This command tends to cause a lot of confusion for both the dog and the owner. When we're nervous about the dog, we usually call his name to give an earful. This teaches the animal that coming to you is a bad thing and gives conflicting instructions, which prevents it from obeying that command. No matter how long it takes your pet to come to you, always show your appreciation for his presence and give him plenty of praise.
- When the dog is obeying the command in a small environment, try it out in the backyard. Unless you have complete confidence that he will obey you, don't let him go off his leash in a park or other open space. Use a long lead so you can hold the dog in case he disobeys you.
Step 4. Teach the dog to be out and about
If an adult dog doesn't have much control of where to go, go back to basics and train him like a puppy. Exercise the animal a lot and keep it confined to a small room or a house (the animal must love the house). Take him out every hour and when he needs it, use a command of your choice and reward him. Do this as soon as you wake up and before bed too. In time, the dog will understand that this is a very easy way to receive a treat and will begin to control himself to relieve himself only on the street.
In case of "accidents" inside the house, don't fight with the dog. Just clean up the mess with an enzymatic cleaner to remove odors and keep the dog from relieving itself in the same place. Do not use products with bleach, as ammonia is also present in urine and can end up reinforcing the smell
Step 5. Teach the dog to keep items quiet
To start with, choose something he usually picks up but that is not his favorite toy. Let him pick up the object and offer him a delicious treat. Since he needs to drop the item to eat, say "drop" the moment he opens his mouth and make a tidbit click. Repeat the process just like the commands taught earlier.
- Once the dog is trained, it will be possible to ask him to leave inappropriate items quiet. Praise him when he lets go of the object he was about to bite.
- Remove temptations from the dog's path during training. If he catches something inappropriate, especially if the item is harmful, press his cheeks, on the back of his jaw, to open his mouth and release the item. Don't forget to praise him when he drops the object. Never use force to open a dog's mouth unless it is biting into some dangerous item such as medicine or a sharp object.
Step 6. Teach him how to get off furniture
If your dog tends to climb on furniture or jump on you without permission, ask him to get out cold and praise him when he obeys. If necessary, remove it from the site. If he jumps at you without permission, make a disapproving noise and move your knee forward to stop him. Keeping him on a leash indoors is also a good way to get him out of furniture, especially if he tends to act aggressively at these times. Limit verbal interaction until the dog is in the dog.
Step 7. Teach the dog not to jump on people even when he is excited
To teach this, use tidbits and a command such as "sai". If that doesn't work, use a can of compressed air with a trigger in front of furniture to punish him from afar when he jumps on someone.
Method 4 of 4: Taking the Dog's Special Conditions into Account
Step 1. Remember that you are teaching an adult dog that has had many experiences
Training is a process that lasts an animal's entire life and must continue regardless of its age. However, if the dog has been rescued or has bad habits, it is necessary to think a little more to define the best way to train him.
Step 2. Take health conditions into account
Check up the animal with a veterinarian to identify limitations and find out if there are any health problems that might explain the disobedience.
- A dog that refuses to sit, for example, may experience pain in the hips, which makes obedience difficult. To get around this, you can use pain relief medications or opt for an alternate command such as "standing".
- If the dog appears to deliberately disobey you, he may be deaf and not hear commands. Replace verbal commands with hand signals to teach him.
Step 3. Get to know the dog better to know what motivates him
For example, if the animal is aggressive towards other animals, is it fear or territorialism? Discovering the triggers that trigger the behaviors can help you effectively retrain him by building his confidence around other dogs or by removing toys that make him territorial.
- If the dog runs away frequently and is not neutered, arranging for neutering can help.
- Define problem areas in the dog's behavior to reinforce their training. Does the animal have a bad habit that needs to be controlled, or does training in general need help?
- If the dog responds well, try teaching him some tricks. Training is a great way to bond with each other and teach that you are in charge. Training an animal that is suffering from a loss can distract it and reduce its suffering, making it feel more secure with your leadership.
- Whisper when talking to the dog to encourage him to listen more carefully. Over time, the animal will recognize sounds without you having to say entire sentences. In addition, you'll be able to reduce the noise level inside the house so as not to disturb other residents while playing or teaching him something.
- If the dog is deaf, create simple hand signals like quick movements. Still, say the commands, as some dogs are smart enough to read lips.
- Know what your pet likes. When training a dog in a safe, fenced environment, you can throw a toy he likes to have him pick you up as a reward. If the dog doesn't know how to do this, but loves to play "tug of war" with toys, use this as a reward.
- Each dog has unique tastes, so experiment with different foods to see what he prefers. Chopped sausages are many dogs' favorite snacks!
- If you don't have a lot of free time, have the dog sit, lie down, or obey another command to "earn" his meals.