Protective, loyal, and always happy to see you even after leaving them the whole day, dogs have been human companions for millennia. So, if you decide to get a new, loyal member of your family, then congratulations!
While your new pup may look so cute and are so much fun to play with, they also tend to get into all kinds of mischief. This is where obedience training comes in. In this article, we’re sharing everything you need to know about teaching your new buddy good manners and the right conduct.
Obedience Training: What Is It?
When you have guests coming over or if you’re going to another home, you want every family member to display good behavior and proper manners, including your pup. This is the goal of dog obedience training. At its core, obedience training is all about providing your dog with a good foundation to become a polite and well-behaved dog in society.
Dogs don’t really speak, making it difficult to communicate. However, obedience training, through consistent routines and making it clear what’s established for them, can help with communicating and ensuring that both of you get on the same page.
In general, most people, especially those without the time, experience, or patience, opt to enroll their pup in a formal dog class or comprehensive K9 Bootcamp program like the ones offered at Allbreeds. Dog classes and programs are most recommended since your canine buddy will receive proper and professional training to develop the foundation of lifelong behavioral skills.
Other than teaching your pup basic commands and compliance, a dog trainer also helps guide you through several dog issues. For instance, taming aggressive dogs, and some DIY pup training or training techniques you need to reinforce at home.
That said, even if you enrolled your pup in a K9 Bootcamp or doggy lesson, it’s important that you still spend time training your dog at home to supplement their professional training lesson and reinforce what they’ve learned. Regardless of how you do it, obedience training is necessary to raise a pup.
Benefits Of Obedience Training
So, why is obedience training necessary when you adopt a new dog? Below, we share some reasons and benefits of dog training.
- It Encourages Desirable Behavior
Perhaps the obvious reason to train your pooch is that it helps you encourage good behavior while discouraging undesirable ones. Obedience training can teach your pup how to sit, heel, and stay as well as the fundamentals of what’s acceptable and what’s not. This way, both you and your pup can better enjoy each other’s company.
- It Ensures Their Own Safety
The better you can control your pup with voice commands, the better you can ensure their safety when unrestrained. A pooch that bolts when off leash has a high risk of being in a road accident or getting lost when they slip out the front door before you’re ready to leave.
- It Offers Mental Stimulation
Like us humans, dogs also get bored. And when they get bored, they can get into several mischiefs or form behavioral issues such as excessive barking or chewing. Training your pup–whether training him the essential commands or fun new tricks–can be a fun mental exercise that feels like playtime.
Plus, it also helps keep them physically active, preventing serious health problems such as overweight and obesity.
- It Ensures Better Socialization
Being well-behaved also helps prevent your dog from experiencing potential conflicts with other dogs or animals they meet. As your dog learns to respect boundaries and properly behave in social situations, people and other dogs will be more comfortable and at ease around your pup.
As a result, more of these social interactions will provide positive experiences not only for your pup but also for other people and pets.
- It Builds Trust
Training builds a strong, mutual bond. It enhances the partnership and companionship between you and your pup, ultimately enriching the relationship you share with him. When your pup successfully learns a new command, it also helps build the trust and affection he feels towards you, making him a loyal and reliable companion.
The Three Must-Have Elements Of Obedience Training
Whether you’re leaving your pup to a professional trainer or training him on your own, there are three elements that successful obedience training should have. These include:
Dogs have a short attention span to instinctively act on a decision, especially if untrained. Any period after the average 1.3-second window can confuse your pup. And the more time you give them to process something means you’re giving them more time for their mind to run wild and wonder what’s going on.
That said, being extremely observant and quick around your pup is important. This way, you can pick up praise-worthy moments or catch on mistakes while being able to react within this short attention span.
This way, you don’t give your dog too much time to think and cause confusion. Your dog will feel as though he needs to respond to whatever has happened within that short period and understand if it’s a ‘bad dog moment’ or a ‘good boy moment.’
For instance, if you caught him peeing in an off-limits area, you need to show it right away that it’s bad behavior. Saying ‘no’ or ‘bad dog’ when you caught him in the act allows him to associate what he’s currently doing as something ‘bad.’ Whereas reacting after a few minutes after he already peed on the area can confuse him about what he did wrong. Even if you try to show him by pointing at his pee, your pup won’t understand it.
Motivation is universal. If we have a goal in mind or see something that we like, it gives us the necessary oomph to achieve our objective. This is the same for your pooch.
When your dog is doing well, you’re supposed to reward and praise him for his efforts. This helps reinforce that his actions are correct and that he should continue with this behavior to reap the benefits.
As you repay your dog’s good behavior with a tasty treat, you should also correct his mistake. For instance, don’t give them a tasty treat for a wrong action on command. This highlights that what he did was bad and that you don’t want that behavior.
That said, you need to find out what’s most rewarding to your pup. You want something they really enjoy and love and give them the motivation to work harder to achieve their reward more frequently.
The last element is consistency. This one requires discipline from both you and your pup. Even if you hear different tips from other dog owners or online, don’t try them all.
This only confuses your pup since the pattern of commands isn’t consistent and always changing. Doing this only prevents your dog from adjusting effectively and learning over time since he doesn’t know how to react to a variety of things all at once.
In short, you want to provide him with a few, but consistent commands and tricks instead of barraging him with mind-juggling actions and commands.
For instance, if you don’t want your pup to jump up on your furniture, then don’t let them do it at all. If you allow your pup to cuddle with you on the sofa today and only to get angry at them for doing the same the next day, you’re just creating confusion.
Remember, dogs don’t speak. They act entirely on commands and emotion when it’s been reinforced over time. Without consistency, don’t expect him to be obedient.
Starting Obedience Training: Things You’ll Need
When training your pooch, having the basic equipment can make it easier. That said, your dog training toolkit should have these items:
Dogs won’t listen to you unless it benefits them. As mentioned before, they should have the motivation to listen and follow your commands. And one of the best ways to do that is to lure them with treats.
While it’s best to get your dog’s favorites, you also need to choose something healthy since you’ll be giving it to him for every job well done. Also, make sure to cut the treats into small pieces so he won’t feel full and become sluggish in the middle of your training session.
- Treat Pouch
Of course, if you’re going to cut the treat into small pieces, you need a treat pouch to carry them. This ensures that you have always had free hands to give signals while also providing easy access to your dog’s training rewards.
- Collar and Leash
A collar and a leash allow you to control your pooch while preventing him from running away in the middle of your training session.
In general, you want a well-fitted collar that won’t cause suffocation or choking. It’s recommended to skip the traditional neck collars and opt for a harness instead. Dog harnesses slip around your pup’s front legs and snap closed behind his upper back. This design helps reduce tension on your pooch’s neck and prevents suffocation.
In terms of leashes, it’s recommended to start with a short leash to keep him close while instilling discipline. As your pup becomes more well-behaved, you can start using a longer leash during training.
- Recall Line
A recall line gives your pooch the freedom to explore while you remain in control. As its name implies, this is the perfect tool for recall training, teaching them to come back to you and not go the opposite way.
The clicker helps in making obedience training a bit easier. Like treats, a clicker marks and reinforces correct behavior–whether by following your command or when your dog does it naturally.
Four Dog Training Basics
Whether your pup is enrolled in a K9 Bootcamp or you’re doing DIY training, below are the most basic commands and tricks that your pooch should be trained for.
Dogs often love running off when they have the chance. But before letting your dog loose, you need to be confident that he’ll always come back when you call, regardless of what they’re doing.
Thus, out of all the dog commands, teaching him to ‘come’ might be the most important and should be on the top of your list. Recall training can help protect your pooch in any situation. In general, it’s best to teach your dog his name first before starting recall training.
Teaching your dog to ‘sit’ is one of the most basic dog commands for a reason; ‘sit’ serves as a foundation for most commands, including ‘stay’ and ‘down.’ Teaching your pooch to sit helps ensure calm and controlled behavior while reducing the out-of-control and undesirable hyper behavior that most untrained dogs display.
‘Down’ or ‘stay’ is another essential command that your pup needs to learn to stay obedient. This command keeps your dog in one place and is critical if you wish to control your pup during sensitive situations. The ‘stay’ command is essential to ensure your pup’s safety as well as manage impulse control.
- Loose-Leash Walking
Teaching your pup to walk on a loose leash can prevent the annoying leash-pulling moments during a walk. This makes your daily walks much safer for your pup and more enjoyable for you. It allows your pet more room to sniff and explore.
The ‘heel’ is a stricter version of loose-leash walking. Teaching a dog to heel involves training him to stay close by your side while walking, instilling self-control in your pup whether it’s on or off leash.
The idea of coming home to sloppy kisses, wagging tails, and furry goodness can bring a smile to anyone! While it’s truly an exciting time, getting a dog can also be intimidating and a big undertaking, especially when training your dog.
That said, we hope that you learned a thing or two from this comprehensive guide and that it has given you a better idea of how to raise an obedient canine companion successfully.