1. Positive reinforcement is important. Although there are numerous theories regarding how to train your dog, most dog training experts acknowledge that positive reinforcement is most effective. Positive reinforcement involves rewarding your dog with verbal praise “good dog”, physical praise like a pat on the head and food rewards. It does not involve yelling at your dog, smacking or punishing them.
Positive reinforcement works since it forms a bond of trust with your dog. Dogs are motivated by rewards especially food rewards.
2. Consistency is vital. If you’re working with your dog on a particular skill or trick then attempt to train them at the same time each day. This helps your pet learn what to expect. Most dogs thrive on structure and will perform and learn faster when they know what’s expected. If you are training using food rewards, try and train your dog before mealtime so they’re a little bit hungry and motivated.
3. Have patience. Dogs often learn in waves. Sometimes they pick things up rapidly and the following day it looks like you must start again from the very beginning. Be patient. Begin each new trick with tiny steps and be clear about what you expect. Even with the smallest tricks such as “sit” you should break it down into smaller steps.
4. Use hand cues along with verbal cues. A number of dogs have an easier time comprehending and remembering hand signals than they do with verbal cues. Assign a hand signal to every trick or behavior you are training.
5. Train in small increments. Dogs have short attention spans. Trying to train them for twenty or thirty minutes isn’t going to work. They’re going to get frustrated and lose focus. Instead, keep training sessions to a maximum of five minutes.
To start with, you may want to train for just a minute or two until eventually your dog learns to look forward to training. Dogs can learn to dislike training. Keeping the training sessions short will help them learn to enjoy the process.
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6. Always end on a positive note. Learning a brand new trick is hard work. Finish each training session, no matter how frustrating, on a positive note. Always give your dog a trick or behavior to perform that they know how to perform and finish with a food reward and lots of praise.
7. Keep your dog healthy. Finally, one of the most important dog training tips from the experts recommends feeding your dog a quality dog food, giving them plenty of fresh water and ensuring they have adequate sleep. A healthy dog is a more content dog and will understand desired behaviors far more quickly.