Dog Training Methods – Stay Patient and Have Fun!

Dog Training MethodsGetting Started

It may be a while since I worked as a dog trainer in the UK Military and as I live in the Philippines now, for sure it was a long way away, but one thing is for sure, the basic principles of dog training remain the same no matter where you are.

There are two things that you are going to need when training your dog and no matter which of the various dog training methods you decide upon, neither of them costs a penny. The first one is patience. It takes time and many, many repetitions and exercises to train a dog. There is no quick fix but it should be a fun, joyful and rewarding experience for you and, more importantly, for your dog. And just look at the reward – many years of love and companionship from your well trained four legged friend.

Dog Training Methods

Whether you decide to attend local dog training classes or go it alone and train your dog by yourself, there is one other item that you should never forget to have with you at all times – your sense of humour. Dogs are extremely sensitive to human emotion, especially their owner’s emotions. If you are tense and stressed your dog will feel stressed and nervous. He’ll make more mistakes, further increasing your own frustration. The whole experience will create training anxiety in your dog and nothing you do with him will stick.

On the other hand if you throw yourself into your dog training with enthusiasm and enjoyment, your dog will love the exercises. Praise lavishly, laugh , have fun. Don’t get angry or shout if your dog is not getting it. Just keep practicing and it will soon click. Ask yourself how long it would take you to learn a new language becasue that is what you are doing., You are teaching your dog a way to communicate with you.

Sometimes people feel so frustrated or unsure about their own ability to train their dog that they send it away for a couple of weeks to a trainer’s facility somewhere. Eventually they get their dog back, better behaved but not as bonded. Is this a good exchange? I don’t think so. The time you spend training your dog is building a special bond that will last a lifetime. Don’t give that away.

In those rare cases where you have such an extremely hard-headed or hard-to-train dog that you really do need outside help, then the trainer that you hire should be your guide. He should not really be training your dog, he should be training you to train your dog. The first 10% of the way he will lay down the rules, show you what to do, how to react, and he will be there to check on progress and give you guidance for as long as you need (or pay) him. But the exercises and daily repetitions should be done by you.

Group training is my favourite approach; the dog gets to socialise, you get to socialise and everyone is hopefully happy. Just be sure to pick a good local class, with a reputable trainer who knows how to make the lessons fun for both you and your dog. If there are no local classes, then try to get together with a friend and his or hers dogs, watch a YouTube video, then practice together where ever you can find a suitable place.

There are many dog training books that you can buy that will ouline the dog training process. I’d advise you to seek out those whose dog training methods are 100% positive.  The clicker training method is something I will go into in more detail on a different occasion but that is one method of positive training that you can do at home.Dr. Ian Dunbar is the ‘father’ of the positive approach being the first to introduce puppy classes way back int he seventies. His Before and After Getting Your Puppy books are good for any dog owner and they include basic training exercises which are an excellent place to start for anyone training their pup at home.

You are welcome to send specific puppy or dog training questions to me using the comment form and I will answer them in future posts.