Tips for Dog Obedience Training

Photo by Destiny Wiens

We all love our smellydogz: their personalities, their cuddles, even their bad breath. We love everything about them! However, loving our smellydogz and having a well-behaved, properly trained dog doesn't come without hard work from both dog and owner. There are a lot of reasons to work on obedience training with your dog; ultimately, training keeps everyone safe, healthy, and happy and ensures the best relationship between you and your dog.

The training process can be a lot of work, depending on the temperament and past experiences of your dog, so the earlier you start the better! However, dogs are adaptable; whenever you decide to start the process, you will experience results. Patience, time, and repetition are key to the success of obedience training.

There are different types of training, so it’s important to decide which approach you’ll choose and stick with it! Consistency is key and immediate reactions to wanted and unwanted behaviours will help make the process smoother for you and your smellydogz. Since dogs tend to live in the moment, they often won’t remember something that happened just minutes prior. That is why it is important to immediately reward good or correct bad behaviours.

Here are some tips to help you get started with obedience training.

1) Where to Start with Dog Training

Starting with simple commands first is important to building the trust required to move on to more complicated training. Tasks as simple as name recognition helps you create positive reinforcement your smellydogz craves. 15-30 minutes of training a day is all it takes!

2) Choose Their Name and Use it Often

It is important that your dog recognizes their name, and a great way to do this is to use it often. Chat with Molly when she’s walking by your side, or give Archie a call when he’s fetching a stick. By using your smellydogz’ name often and associating it with positive behaviours, your furry friend will learn it quicker!

3) Define House Rules

Defining house rules is important in dog training. But, it’s  more important  to remember when establishing rules, consistency is key. Make sure all members of your household know the boundaries and rules in place for your smellydog. For example, is Murphy allowed on the furniture? Do we feed Betty  from the table? By making sure these rules are always in place, your dog will have a much easier time learning them, making the home a happier place for all!

4) Identify Rewards and Reward Good Behaviour

A dog training with their owner.

Whether you choose to reward dog training with love, lots of praise, a toy, or treats, it is important for promoting positive reinforcement. Somes studies even suggest that praise is as effective in dog obedience training as is giving treats!

5) Teach Your Dog Recall

    Teaching recall is one of the most important aspects of obedience training. Not only does strong recall skills help you  avoid the heachaches of your dog ignoring you when you call, it also helps with the health and safety of your dog. If your dog ever gets out of the yard or off the leash, it’s important that they come when you call to avoid the unthinkable. A tip for starting out is to start small! If your dog looks when you call, reward that behaviour. Eventually work up to your smellydogz running to you at the sound of their name.

    6) Teach Your Dog to Sit & Stay

      According to Cesar Milan’s blog teaching your dog to sit is one of the easiest dog obedience commands there is. By guiding the sit movement with the help of your dog's favourite treat or toy, hold your hand over their head, causing them to look up, and eventually sit. Reinforce with positive behaviour and you’re well on your way to accomplishing this command! Once you've perfected the “sit” command, you can work on “stay”. Have your dog sit, then use the “stay” command. Slowly increase the distance between you and your dog to achieve a higher degree of this command!

      7) Teach Your Dog to “Leave It”

      This trick will help your curious dog stay safe when exploring and sniffing out potentially dangerous foods and objects. The idea behind this command is to teach your dog that if they “leave it”, something better will come along! 

      8) Fun Tricks

      Bonus tricks such as speak or roll over are great skills to add into the training repertoire as your dog progresses in his obedience training. While these skills don’t help with safety or  health, they play a large role in building strong bonds between you and your pooch. The time you put into teaching these tricks is bonding time and goes a long way toward building a strong relationship between you and your dog.  Your pup craves your attention. Teaching fun tricks is a great way to bond with your smellydogz. Some great classics are shake a paw, sit pretty, high five, and the ever challenging play dead. 

      Five tips to keep in mind when working on your obedience training:

      1. Do not punish unwanted or negative behaviour
      2. Focus on rewarding positive behaviour and ignoring the negative
      3. Be consistent with your training. 
      4. Practice patience with your dog. These commands take time, but they are well worth the effort!
      5. Keep up with obedience training! Don’t give up, and always keep teaching and learning!

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