Dog Obedience Training Program Basics

How to Start Your Own Dog Training Program

Young woman training her dog
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Are you ready to start training your dog? A proper dog training program is the cornerstone of good behavior in dogs. It has often been said that there are no bad dogs, only uneducated owners. Most dogs thrive with boundaries and predictable routines. Without obedience training, they simply do not know how to behave. Well-trained dogs are happier and healthier than untrained dogs and so are their owners.

There are tons of different ways to train your dog. You may choose to sign up for a dog training class, hire a professional dog trainer for private lessons, or even send your dog to board with a trainer. But what if you want to do it yourself? Plenty of people successfully train their dogs on their own. It's a great way to save money on training costs. It's also a wonderful way to bond with your dog.

Starting Your Own Dog Training Program

In order to effectively train your dog, it's important that you have a plan. You will need to gather some equipment, set up a schedule, and learn a few things about training. Here's what you need in to begin a dog obedience training program yourself.

Dog Training Equipment

Effective dog training does not require many items, but there are a few basic supplies that will help make the process more convenient and effective. Choose a dog collar or harness that is suitable and comfortable for your dog.

Then, decide which dog leash is best for training. For example, a retractable leash is not appropriate for dog training. You will also need dog training treats that your dog enjoys and are easy to eat quickly so the reward is more immediate. There are plenty of great treats on the market. You can also use something you make at home, like plain cooked chicken or turkey.

Choose a Training Method

Before you begin dog obedience training, choose the best method for you and your dog. Training styles vary, but most trainers agree that dogs respond best to positive reinforcement, such as praise or treats. One common training variation, known as clicker training, includes the use of conditioned reinforcer. There are plenty of dog training books and websites where you can learn about training techniques and determine which best suits you and your dog. When planning out your training methods, don't forget about socialization.

Set Up Dog Training Sessions

Success is usually attained in small steps. Training sessions with your dog should last 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times per day. This is especially true for puppies because of their very short attention spans. Longer sessions can cause even an adult dog to become bored. Start by teaching basic commands. Try to stick with one action per training session so your dog does not get confused. Often, the sit command will be one of the easiest for your dog to learn first.

Next, you can train your dog to lie down. At the same time, work on teaching your dog to stay. In addition, your dog should be trained to come when called as soon as possible. This is one of the most important fundamental commands. Once your dog has mastered these dog obedience basics, you can move on to fun tricks and advanced commands.

Troubleshooting During Obedience Training

Dog training takes time, and you and your dog are likely to hit a few bumps along the way. You may see some resistance or stubborn behavior. Keeping things positive and reward your dog for good behavior, just make sure you use a reward your dog will work for.

You may also notice common behavior problems in your dog such as jumping up, barking, or even aggression. The best way to correct any misbehavior is to interrupt it. Shift your dog's attention to something positive. Try running through cues that your dog has mastered followed by rewards. Keep your demeanor cool and confident, and be clear about what you mean.

Positive reinforcement is the key to success. Do not punish your dog or become angry, as this will only cause confusion. You can try to hold your dog's attention with treats and enthusiasm, but know that it is time to end a session when your dog becomes bored or tired. Try to end sessions on a positive note. Eventually, successful training will be achieved with patience and consistency.

If You Need Help With Dog Training

Some people prefer to leave the training to the experts. You can find a professional dog trainer who offers private training sessions. Some trainers even offer online sessions. Many dog owners prefer to join a local dog obedience class so they will be under the supervision of a dog training instructor without the higher cost of private sessions. Plus, classes challenge your dog to learn around the distractions of other dogs.

Dog training classes or private sessions can also be an addition to your own training program. The dog trainer can help you improve the program and customize it to your dog's learning style. Try to be as involved as possible when it comes to your dog's training. You and your dog will be a stronger team when you are directly involved in the training process.