Training is an activity that can not only be useful in your daily life, but it can also be gratifying for both you and your dogs. By spending quality time together, you'll strengthen the bond between you and your dog, keeping your pet mentally stimulated. It will take some time, patience, and lots of treats, but soon you'll start seeing results!
In this post, we'll focus on reward-based training though there are a number of different methods for training your dog.
To keep it simple, reward-based training consists of rewarding your dogs when they do something that you want them to do.
A reward doesn't necessarily mean a treat (surprisingly, some dogs are not very food-motivated!). It can be anything from verbal praise to fuss or cuddles, whatever you feel your dogs will enjoy the most.
As for unwanted behaviours, just choose to ignore them! That way, they will not lead to the desired reward, and your dogs will soon learn that there is really no point in keeping up with them. They will be much more interested in performing the desired, rewarded behaviour instead.
Here is an example: when they sit on command, they get a reward. Soon, your dogs will start sitting more readily and voluntarily in anticipation, as they have learned that following the desired behaviour of sitting, there will be a reward.
This learning process happens by making positive associations between a behaviour and a reward. At the same time, your dogs will be making positive associations with training and you, the provider of rewards!
If you want everything to go smoothly, there are two things that you should keep in mind: timing and consistency. For your dogs to make the correct association between the behaviour you want them to do and the reward, your timing must be spot on. As for consistency, it will help your dogs learn much faster and with fewer mistakes, as you'll be giving them clear directions on what you want them to do.
Even though dogs have been mentioned throughout this post, training is not only for them! The learning process is very similar across species so virtually every pet can be trained. You can even make training a family activity and get your children involved with pet care.
Why not take advantage of these last summer days, go outside and start training your dog today? If you need any help, we're here for you!
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