Author: Dogsee Chew
Published in: Feb 28, 2020
Training is an important part of a dog’s life, just as education is for humans. Canine education helps dogs develop several life skills that improve the overall quality of their life. It not only helps keep them mentally stimulated, but also teaches them some important communication skills and manners that help them build healthy relationships with humans. A simple handshake trick, for example, helps your dogs understand verbal cues. Getting rewarded for good behavior helps them understand the link between actions and rewards. Training your dogs helps in the overall development of their personality. It teaches them positive behavior, manners and sociability. Moreover, training your dog helps improve the life of the dog parent as well. Trained dogs are friendlier, communicate better and have higher adaptability to different environments.
While the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is a popular one, most dog behaviorists don’t agree with it. There is no age to start training your dog. However, if you have brought home a little puppy and not adopted an older one, the ideal age to start basic training is when the puppy is around 2 months old. This includes essential house training and socializing. The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) states: “In general, puppies can start socialization classes (or the more informal version of it - puppy play dates with other dogs) as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccination at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first deworming. They should be kept up to date on all vaccines throughout the class.”
Gradually, you can start training them basic commands like “no”, “sit” etc. Formal dog training can start when the puppy is around 6 months old. Starting training before that might not be very fruitful as puppies have a shorter attention span. It is wiser to start with brief but regular training sessions in the beginning, and gradually increase the time as your little one gets more comfortable with it.
While many of you might choose to take your little ones to classes, some of you might want to do it yourself because of a lack of options or simply because you want to experience the joy firsthand. There is nothing wrong with either of the choices. While training classes might be a more practical option if you have a busy schedule, training at home can be a great excuse to enhance your relationship with him. Therefore, it would be good to evaluate all your options and choose the one that is best for your dog.
If you do end up deciding to train your puppy at home, there are a few things that you will need in order to ensure that the training sessions are fruitful and smooth for both of you. Here are the essentials to puppy training that you will need to up your dog training game.
Training your little one can be extremely overwhelming, especially if it is your first dog. There is a gamut of information out there, which can further confuse you. Training your puppy is a big project and must be considered as one as well. Therefore, it is important to take out the time to do your research thoroughly.
There are various aspects of training that you would need to be clear on. It could range from things like the first set of basic commands to teach your dog to the several techniques of training and figuring out what works for your pup. You will also want to design a plan for the training. It is best to start with house and crate training, moving on to leash training. As he grows older, you can start the process of socializing and more complex forms of training.
Discipline is extremely important to ensure that your training is effective. Here we do not mean disciplining your dog, but having and sticking firmly to a training schedule. In order for training to truly work, consistency is key. You will need to be regular in training and also use constant cues so as to not confuse your pup. The entire family will have to be on board with the cues and the ‘rules’ you want to establish. For example, if getting on the couch is supposed to be prohibited, then the entire family will have to ensure that they discourage it. Further, all will have to ensure that they don’t mix up commands such as “no” and “off”.
Changing behavior takes time. It involves, first and foremost, establishing the difference between desired and undesired behavior and then reinforce good behavior and discourage bad behavior consistently and patiently. Therefore, it is important to manage one’s expectations and understand that it is a process that takes time and investment. Losing patience if the first attempt doesn’t work is not the solution. It will, in fact, build a negative association towards training for your dogs, thus becoming ineffective.
It is important to remember that you are communicating with an animal who not only speaks a different language but is new to your ways as well. Training requires a lot of patience and persistence. Dogs, just like children, take time to pick up on external cues and taught behavior.
There are some tools to aid training that will make your training more productive and smooth. Below is a list of tools that are helpful in training and easy to find as well.
Leashes are extremely important tools for training your dog. Ideally, they need to be about 4-6 feet long, to allow your dog some slack while also keeping him close enough to you. Choose comfortable material like heavy cotton, leather or nylon.
Collars are important pieces of identification as they hold your dog’s tag and information, thus important, especially when your dog is first foraying the outdoors. Harnesses help guide your dog better without unnecessary tugging and pulling.
Clickers are a form of immediate positive reinforcement. They are a great tool to deliver praise for every good behavior, especially when a treat may not be possible. However, to start off with, clickers work better when immediately followed by a treat to for speedy positive association.
Target sticks help train dogs to walk and stay on target without swaying or deviating. There are various options with built-in clickers as well. If you don’t want to invest in one, you can also use a spoon as a target.
Treats are very important to the training experience. They are the bedrock for establishing positive behavior and are often called as ‘currency’ by professional trainers. It is treats that you need to give, generously and consistently, after every desired behavior to establish it as such and to encourage more of it. While you are training your dog for various long term reasons, you will have to accept that your little furbaby is in it just for the treats. Treats also make the training session more rewarding and fun for them.
Ideally, treats should be small and easy to carry even outdoors. But most importantly, treats need to be light and healthy. Healthy puppy training treats not only allow rid you of the guilt, but they also help you treat generously and make the sessions more fruitful and engaging for long. It is also important to have a treat bag or a portable bag that is convenient to carry and store.
Dogsee’s nutritious range of treats is 100% natural and preservatives-free. The Dogsee Crunch range of treats are single-ingredient, with no additives. It is grain and gluten-free, designed specifically for healthy dog training. Made from a real fruit or a vegetable, Dogsee Crunch Apple, Banana and Beetroot are freeze-dried to retain 95% of its nutrition, Coconut is fat-separated to give the best of coconuts to your dog. Dogsee Chew’s Puffies, on the other hand, are made from Himalayan cheese. These low-fat treats are sourced all the way from the Himalayas and are extremely delicious and rich in protein and calcium, ensuring that these training sessions are guilt-free for you and drool-worthy for your pup.
Dogsee Crunch's Freeze-Dried Beetroot
Dogsee Chew’s Puffies
While training your dog leads to a better future for your dog by building a stronger dog-parent relationship, the time spent in the training itself is a great excuse for some bonding. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you have fun because that is what will ensure that your dog also has an enjoyable experience with training.