I grew up with dogs. I love dogs. So I figured dog training would come naturally to me. But it turns out, no matter how well-meaning I was, my techniques weren’t very effective.
I was training my dogs to be obedient, but not to enjoy the process. It took me a while to figure out why they were so unhappy.
The truth is, I was making all the classic mistakes. I was following all the wrong advice. I was believing all the wrong myths.
That’s why I wrote this blog… to help people like me.
Here are 5 dog training secrets experts won’t tell you.
Understand Your Dog
Learn about your dog’s likes, dislikes, interests, and needs. Figure out what she needs from you and make sure you deliver it.
If you want a loyal dog, you need to be there to meet her needs. Teach her that you are there to provide what she needs.
Unleash Her Energy Instead of bringing your dog to training class, or keeping her inside all day, unleash her energy by taking her for long walks and biking.
Play tug-of-war, frisbee, hide and seek, fetch, and chase, and let her get in some good exercise. Allow her to burn off all that excess energy.
When your dog is exhausted, it is much easier to train him and therefore it is important to learn how to communicate with him and understand what he wants.
Your dog is the most amazing creature in the world, but there is so much about him that you don’t know.
For instance, if your dog doesn’t have an effective bark, how do you know that he is trying to communicate with you?
Know Your Dog’s Habits
If you’re going to train your dog, you need to know all of his or her habits. That includes if your dog likes to “hang out” in corners or behind chairs or if your dog gets up and down quickly, or if she likes to jump on you when you’re at the door.
You have to be able to use all of this information to train your dog, especially if he or she is going to be used for work, therapy, or daily walks.
Most of the videos and books I found to be on-point with their tips are written in two to three minute increments.
It’s a short time to actually learn something and it’s important not to rush through the process. Take the time to actually read through the material before you dive in. Be sure to really listen to what the expert is saying.
Reward Your Dog
Reward doesn’t mean food and treats. Treats are an easy way to get them to do what you want, but they are one-time use.
What about getting your dog to do something over and over and over?
How about being the first one to open the door, or give them a pat on the head?
Don’t Do This!
Just because we want our dogs to do things, doesn’t mean we need to punish them for doing it.
Use the opportunity to teach them a behavior and reward them for doing it.
We can’t force our dogs to do anything. But we can give them a moment of indulgence after something they are working on.
What do I mean? Provide them with an exercise or a treat in the middle of doing the right thing. This way they feel like they are being rewarded for the good behavior.
Train Your Dog By Playing Games
Most people think games are the way to train a dog, but they are so wrong.
Games are a wonderful tool but they won’t work for long. If you play games for your dog for long periods of time, you will teach your dog the wrong behaviors and you won’t get better results.
I’ve had dogs for years and years and I can tell you with confidence that the ones that could play games most of the time were the ones I could work with long term.
The games my dogs enjoyed were different than the games that my family enjoyed playing. I think it’s very important to find a game your dog enjoys.
I remember I was trying to teach my family how to play Simon Says. They all got a kick out of it for the first 10 minutes but after that, it was like pulling teeth.
Don’t Over Train
When I was a kid, my dad used to have an old dog. He would take the dog for a long walk every day and the dog’s fur would be damp.
That dog was a house dog, but after a while he didn’t have any fur. My dad trained him to be a dog.
Just like you wouldn’t let your child do too much, you don’t want to over train your dog.
Instead, do lots of short training sessions throughout the day. Keep it fun and interesting and reward the dog with lots of treats.
But don’t rely on just training once in awhile. You should be training your dog every day. Some people think you should always walk your dog on a leash.
Learning how to train your dog takes some work and perseverance, but it’s definitely worth it. Your dog is part of the family, and part of the family deserves to be happy and healthy.
Learn how to train your dog today!
Do you have some suggestions on training secrets experts won’t tell you? Share them with me and I will add it to this blog.