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Start a Dog Obedience Training Program

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Start a Dog Obedience Training Program
Photo © Kimberly Zwaagstra

A proper dog obedience training program is the cornerstone of good behavior in dogs. It has often been said that there are no bad dogs, only uneducated owners. Most dogs want to please their owners, but untrained dogs simply do not know how. Well-trained dogs are happier and healthier - and so are their owners. Here are some guidelines to enacting a dog obedience training program yourself.

Dog Obedience Training Equipment

Effective dog obedience training does not require many supplies, but there are a few basic supplies that will ease the process. Choose a dog collar that is suitable and comfortable for your dog. Then, decide which leash is best for training. Acquire the best gear for your dog and learn how to use it properly.

Getting Started with Dog Obedience Training

Before you begin dog obedience training, choose the best method for you and your dog. Training techniques vary, but most trainers agree that dogs respond best to positive reinforcement, such as praise or treats. One common training variation, known as clicker training, includes the use of conditioned reinforcer. When planning out your training methods, don't forget about socialization.

Dog Obedience Training Sessions

Success is usually attained in small steps. Training sessions with your dog should last 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times per day. This is especially true for puppies because of their very short attention spans. Longer sessions can cause even an adult dog to become bored. Start by teaching basic commands. Often, the sit command will be one of the easiest for your dog to learn. Next, you can train your dog to lie down. At the same time, work on teaching your dog to stay. In addition, your dog should be trained to come when called as soon as possible. This is one of the most important fundamental commands. Once your dog has mastered these dog obedience basics, you can move on to fun tricks and advanced commands.

Troubleshooting During Obedience Training

Dog obedience training takes time, and you and your dog are likely to hit a few bumps along the way. Expect to see some common behavior problems, such as displays of defiance or aggression. The best way to correct the misbehavior is to interrupt it - shift your dog's attention to something positive. Try running through commands that your dog has mastered followed by rewards. Keep your demeanor cool and confident, and be clear about what you mean. Positive reinforcement is the key to success. Do not punish your dog or become angry - it will only cause confusion. You can try to hold your dog's attention with treats and enthusiasm, but know that it is time to end a session when your dog becomes bored or tired. Try to end sessions on a positive note. Eventually, successful training will be achieved with patience and consistency.

Dog Obedience Training Resources

Some people prefer to leave the training to the experts. A professional dog trainer can come to your house and train your dog for a fee. You may decide that sending your dog away to a dog obedience training school for a period of time is worth the expense. Many dog owners prefer to join a local dog obedience class so they will be under the supervision of a dog training instructor without leaving their dogs with someone else. Remember, your dog will be more likely to view you as master when you are directly involved in the training process. Plus, this is another way to enforce the canine-human bond.
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