A dog can be the best addition to any household, period. It’s crucial to train our dear pooches and set boundaries to keep everyone happy. That way you can ensure a safe and healthy environment for everyone.
Lana is my lovely Poodle, and she is one year and seven months old. Since Lana arrived at my house as a puppy, she has shown her smart and defiant personality that prevails until today.
I did some training with her during the first couple of months since her arrival. But nowadays, I’ve been delving deep into Youtube tutorials, guides, and vlogs on the subject to refresh my knowledge.
Here are some of the techniques and tips that worked wonderfully with teaching my dog. It’s mostly a surface-level approach to boundaries, learning commands, and overall improving the daily coexistence with the rest of the pack.
I should also state that I’m no expert in this subject. Everything I’ve written down should be taken with a pinch of salt. Always do your own research!
Positive Reinforcements Are Essential
One of the first things your dog has to learn is to associate a gesture or a sound. With either a clicker or a whistle, for example, your dog should associate it with the certainty of a reward.
It is also useful to reward your dog at random times when it’s acting in the desired behaviour. Let’s say the dog is sitting down, has a calm attitude, or is just chilling. Those moments are ideal for giving out small treats. Over time, the dog will associate those attitudes with a positive outcome.
We can identify three primary positive reinforcements that we can use either separately or altogether for dog training. The owner can use physical touch, words of encouragement, and treats to reward the desired behaviour.
At some point, you will want to remove the food prizes from your training sessions once the dog has already interiorized the commands. Dogument TV has a great video about this subject, although most of my information came from Spanish-speaking videos.
Practice Every Day With Your Dog
It is essential to set short and frequent training sessions throughout the day.
If you got 10 spare minutes, take your time to reinforce the commands with your dog. Always continue rewarding their behaviour with pets and treats.
Keep in mind dogs can get tired from training too! It’s always useful to space out the training moments with playtime or just doing other things around the house.
I structured these sessions with 10 minutes of training and a small break for playing but depends on each individual case.
You should also consider your dog’s age since training a puppy demands different techniques than trying to teach an older dog (for instance, if you’ve adopted a “problem child”). This video by McCann Dog Training can give some more insight into how to train older dogs.
Patience Is The Key
My dog didn’t have any problems with learning how to sit or give the paw. But learning how to stay calm when I open the front gate has been a struggle for Lana.
Dogs have different learning curves, so it’s impossible to expect the same progress in all of them. Never lose your cool, and always be mindful whenever they make a mistake.
Overall it’s always a good idea to learn about your dog’s personality and read their reactions. Having short sessions also helps with keeping engagement and avoiding getting derailed.
Daily Exercising And Bonding
Some countries seem to excel in dog care for cultural reasons. Unfortunately, Latin America still has a problematic relationship with taking proper care of any type of pet.
Street dogs are a massive problem in Chile, and the problem stems from this mentality. Therefore, daily dog walks and regular bonding aren’t as ingrained as I would like.
But this shouldn’t stop you from scheduling ahead and planning your walks, even if they’re short due to other compromises. The important thing is to keep your dog active, whether it’s a high-energy pet or a couch potato.
The fundamentals for proper leash training by Zak George are an excellent guide for dogs of all ages (the video starts at 2:10 if you want to skip the sponsor).
Set Boundaries And Reinforce Them
Never use physical punishment to try to control your dog.
Usually, just a tap on your dog’s snout with your index finger is more than enough to put them back into line if they’re getting too rowdy, but this measure should only be used in extreme circumstances.
Using the word “no” alongside proper body language and attitude is enough to make your dog comprehend the boundaries you’ve set.
If my dog gets too excited barking inside the house, I make sure to give her timeouts in the garden until she has calmed down before letting her back in, for instance.
Final Thoughts On Dog Training
Every day I need to keep an eye out for bad behaviour whenever Lana gets too excited or tries to bite me while playing. But the improvement is significant compared to when she arrived at my house.
I’ve set a daily walk schedule accommodating all my other responsibilities to have at least 30 minutes for her.
She can stay inside the house without causing trouble or peeing on the floor —unless the neighbour’s cat is nearby—.
And I understand that it’s a constant process that requires patience, consistency, clear instructions, and lots of treats.