Many people believe that dog training is difficult. Many also believe that some dogs simply cannot be trained. Both views are wrong. The truth of the matter is this: all dogs are trainable, and training a dog doesn’t have to be hard work. In fact, training a dog can be fun. Of course, it is true that some dog breeds are easier to train than others. However, we do not agree with the statement that there are dogs that cannot be trained, because that is very false. What we venture to explore then, are some of the things you need to do to get your dog training right.
Parameters to measure success
You will be considered to have trained your dog well if you are able to pass on the essential canine skills to your dog in a reasonable amount of time.
In addition, you will be considered to have trained your dog well if you achieve the essential canine skills in a lasting way. This means, in other words, that you will not be considered very successful in training your dog if the dog forgets the skills taught in one day.
Therefore, in a nutshell, the parameters by which success in dog training can be measured include:
– The length of time spent in transmitting the essential skills to the dog.
– The skills instilled in the dog.
– How long the skills are retained by the dog.
Of course, if you are taking too long to pass on certain skills to the dog, if you are finding it impossible to instill certain skills in the dog, or if the dog keeps forgetting the skills it was taught, this is not the case. necessarily means that you are not doing things right. You have to keep in mind that there are two variables at play here. The first of these is your skill, aptitude, and dedication as a dog trainer. And the second of these is your dog’s natural ability, in a context where some dog breeds seem to “do” things faster than others.
Early initiation as the key to success in dog training
Simply put, there are some skills that you can only teach a dog when they are young. This means that the common belief that puppies under the age of six months should not be trained is completely wrong. In fact, there are some skills that you will find difficult to teach to a dog older than six months. It’s worth noting that unlike us humans, dogs are (in some ways) highly evolved animals, whose process of learning life skills begins the moment they’re born. That is why a cub that loses its mother at three months of age can survive in the wild, whereas it would be very difficult for a human baby that lost its mother at the same age to survive on its own in a similar environment.
Now the best time to start training a dog would be when he is learning basic life skills so that the skills you want to pass on to him are also adopted along with the basic dog life skills. That way, the required behaviors would be part of the dog’s personality. They would be more deeply rooted in him or her. This is not to say that an older dog cannot be trained. It’s just that you would find it harder (and less fun) to train the older dog.
It later emerges that some of the people who end up getting the impression that their dogs are untrainable tend to be people who try to teach their dogs certain skills too late in the dogs life. When dogs fail to choose such skills, they are labeled dumb, while in reality it is not their fault that they cannot choose the skills, but rather the trainer’s fault for not starting the training sooner.
The correct use of rewards and corrections as the key to success in dog training.
When we get to the nitty-gritty of dog training, it emerges that various skills and behaviors can only be passed on and ingrained in dogs through the correct use of rewards and corrections.
The greatest reward you can give a dog is attention. And conversely, the greatest correction/punishment you can give a dog is to deprive it of attention.
So, if you want your dog to choose a certain behavior, you have to simulate (or rather illustrate) it, and then reward it (attentively) when it behaves accordingly, and also punish it. her (with attention deprivation) when she or she doesn’t behave accordingly. Looking at the dog lovingly is one way to ‘reward’ it with attention. Petting it is another form of reward for her attention. Verbally praising the dog is another way to reward him with attention. True, the dog may not understand the words, but he can feel the emotions behind them. The dog seems to have that ability.
Meanwhile, if your dog was enjoying your attention while doing something right and you deprive him of that attention the moment he starts doing something wrong, he instantly senses the reaction and makes the connection between his bad behavior and the lack of attention. He is inclined to correct the behavior to get his attention back. These things work particularly well if the dog you are trying to train is still young.
What you should not do, however, is hit the dog as a form of punishment/correction: the simple reason is that the dog will not understand that being hit is a form of ‘punishment’. Rather, the beaten dog will assume that you are just being violent towards him or her. If the dog keeps doing things like running into the street or messing up the neighbors’ things, you’ll be better off looking for ways to restrict his movement, rather than hitting him.
Patience as the key to success in dog training
You will not succeed in dog training unless you are patient. Keep in mind that it takes dogs some time to pick out ideas that seem too simple to us as humans. There are people who have the misconception that you can only be successful in dog training if you are “tough”. On the contrary, this is one of those efforts where kindness and the ‘soft approach’ seem to work better than the hard Spartan approach to training.
Persistence as the key to success in dog training
Closely related to patience (as the key to success in dog training) is persistence. You won’t be successful as a dog trainer if you give up too easily, that is, when you illustrate a desired behavior to a dog and then give up if the dog doesn’t pick it up right away. The truth of the matter is that you have to model a desired behavior to a dog multiple times, while using the necessary reinforcers, until the dog eventually learns what is expected of him or her.
Constancy as the key to success in dog training
This is a scheme where, for example, after settling on a particular reinforcer (reward or punishment), you need to apply it consistently, so that the trained dog can understand what it really means. One of the worst things you can do while training a dog is to send out mixed signals, because once the dog gets confused it becomes very difficult to train.
Other keys to successful dog training
On top of this, you may need to do some more research (online or in the library) before getting started.
And if your DIY efforts to train your dog fail, you should consider enlisting the help of a professional trainer before giving up on the dog altogether.