Discover the top ten dog training tips from your veterinarian in Costa Mesa, CA
Dogs are loyal, affectionate, and playful. Officially termed “man’s best friend,” they have a special place in our hearts. However, people and dogs are very different animals. Dogs have innocent, yet sometimes unwelcome, tendencies such as jumping, digging, and chewing that can make life with dogs somewhat difficult. Difficult does not mean impossible. Discover the top ten dog training tips from Dr. Rand Spongberg, a veterinarian in Costa Mesa, CA. These tips can improve your relationship with your dog by teaching him/her important skills for living with humans.
Training your dog will not only improve your lives and enhance your bond, but it will also keep your pet safe. The key to successful training is good communication. Your dog should understand how to behave and why to follow your commands. Reward the behaviors you like, not the behaviors you dislike.
Once you decide the skills you would like to teach your dog, you can begin training. To maximize the learning potential and for an effective training experience, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
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- Keep training sessions short. Dogs do not have long attention spans. An ideal training session is 15 minutes or less. During that time you can work on a single skill or switch between skills. Practice new skills and keep old skills honed.
- Quit on a good note. Stop the training session before your dog becomes bored or frustrated. Try ending with a skill he/she can do well to keep it positive.
- Dogs do not speak English. Dogs are not born understanding English, but they can learn specific words. Keep terms simple. Dogs get confused when familiar words are buried in complex sentences or when different phrases are used for the same meaning. As a family, choose specific words or phrases and be consistent with them.
- Take baby steps. Dogs learn best when new tasks are broken down. For example, if you are teaching your dog to stay, first try just a few seconds and slowly make it harder and increase the duration. This helps your dog stay on task and learn faster in the long run.
- Work on one new skill or part of a skill at a time. Some skills, such as a solid sit and stay, are complex. You and your dog will get frustrated if you try to teach everything at once. Instead, start with one skill or part of the skill at a time. Once your dog has mastered that, add another skill or another part. If you work on all the parts of a complex skill individually before putting them together, you will have more success.
- Take a step back if you hit a wall with training. If you are trying a new skill and you stop making progress, you may have tried something too difficult too quickly. When you run into challenges, take a step back, make the skill easier, or repeat a skill he/she can do successfully before trying to increase the difficulty.
- Practice, practice, practice. Practice with your dog in different places and with different people. Applying the knowledge in different situations helps dogs as much as it does people. Learning how to act in different locations and with different people is part of training.
- Use rewards. Find a treat or reward your dog truly loves. This makes it easier to keep your pet’s attention and is a true treat or reward for his/her hard work.
- Be patient. Training takes time and effort, but it can be fun. Be patient and persistent with your dog and the hard work will pay off.
- Prevent problems. Prevention can be a good solution to many problems. With dogs, preventing a behavioral problem is often the best way to deal with it.
Remember that your dog is a dog. He/she wants to play, have fun, and use his/her natural impulses. Find ways to make training fun and rewarding, but also give your pet safe ways to use his/her energy. Increased physical activity and mental stimulation will keep your pet busy, make him tired, and give healthy outlets for nervous energy.
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