For first-time dog owners who are attending obedience training can sometimes feel overwhelming. Dogs can be even more difficult to convince to pay attention in class more so than children. It's no wonder why many pet owners seek out professional help for dog obedience classes.
If you can find obedience training for dogs near you, you can certainly save yourself a lot of hassle. But is there anything you can do to help the process along by yourself? This blog will cover some of the basics of obedience training for new owners.
What Counts as Obedience Training?
There's actually a ton of training that needs to be done when you get a new dog. Exactly how you define these depends on the person. For example, many new pet owners are eager to toilet train their dogs right away. Others want to train their dog to accept getting onto their leash before walks.
In each case, training is about modifying dog behavior to make things easier for you - and safer for your dog. The main goal for training should be to maximize both dog wellness and owner wellness at the same time.
Obedience training is teaching your dog to be well-behaved and overall obedient. It is the process of getting your dog to understand verbal commands and to be willing to comply with them.
Why Obedience Training Matters
Obedience training isn't just crucial for your own sanity - though it certainly helps keep you sane! At its heart, obedience training is all about safety for your dog and for those around them. Obedience training is the method by which you can stop your dog from aggressively jumping and biting. Family members or guests, particularly the young or elderly, are at significant risk of getting hurt by an unruly dog.
Obedience training is also how you can stop your dog from running off into dangerous areas and getting it to return when necessary. This kind of safety is key to dog wellness. How can you keep your dog safe if you can't control where your dog goes?
Do I Need Dog Obedience Classes?
This is something of a contentious topic. Dog obedience classes are undoubtedly useful for helping progress obedience training. They're also convenient if you're generally busy. However, many would argue that if you can't find the time in a day to spend time training your dog, you probably don't have the time to own a pet at all.
Additionally, a significant part of obedience training involves building up a personal rapport with your dog. You don't just want a dog that follows commands. You also want it to be able to follow your instructions. True friendship and loyalty come from working together.
That said, many obedience classes are group classes, where you bring your dog yourself and work with others. You can also get private lessons on how to best master obedience training. Many training classes are less about trying to take on the role of teacher for the dog and more about giving the owners the tools they need to become dog trainers themselves.
We're just in the business of dog wellness and aren't experts in dog learning. However, if you want some tips on dog and puppy training for obedience, here are a few to get you started!
Basics of Obedience Training
The first thing to understand about obedience training is the importance of positive reinforcement. Dogs are simple creatures compared to us humans. They don't have much understanding of things like the law or manners. What they do understand are dog treats.
Making sure to have some rewards on hand is always essential. However, sometimes dogs have trouble connecting treats with positive reinforcement. In this case, you can augment treats with another stimulus, such as the increasingly popular clicker training.
Beyond positive reinforcement, the second most important aspect of obedience training is consistency. If training isn't constantly reinforced, your dog will quickly forget everything that you are trying to accomplish. Good obedience needs to be a habit.
Once you've committed to positive reinforcement and regular sessions, you can get down to training. It's better to start with the easiest training options first. Getting your dog to sit on command and then come on command for treats is where you should probably get started.
To teach a dog to sit, you can use your positive reinforcement both as a "lure" and as a reward. Tell your dog to sit and hold the treat above its nose. This encourages them to adopt the sitting position themselves. You should never try to physically put a dog into the sitting position. They aren't going to understand what's going on, and it's just going to stress and confuse them. The main focus is to simply associate the word "sit" and the action of sitting with the treat.
You can use the same process for teaching your dog to come. Give out treats when saying the word "come." Then you can start dropping treats near you to encourage them to associate the command with the action of running toward you to get a treat. You must never use the "come" command before punishing your dog - this is just going to lead to confusion.
Of course, obedience training is also about preventing unwanted behavior as much as it is rewarding the behavior you want. However, the best obedience training is all about encouraging good behavior. Dogs don't always understand why an action is wrong. It's critical to remain calm and not get angry. If your dog is jumping up at you, you should firmly but gently push them back down. When you do this, you always use the same command, such as "No" or "Leave it."
Before long, you'll start to see responses from your dog. You just need to keep at it! You'll improve your dog's safety and of everyone around it. As for the other parts of dog wellness, don't sweat it - let Wagmo handle it.