Wouldn’t it be nice if all you had to say was “load up” and your dog lept into the back of your car? Or maybe “leave it” when he comes across that dead squirrel? For the record, my dog and I are still working on that last one.
There are a multitude of dog training classes and books that you can use to begin training Fido. Training your dog is not only a great way for the two of you to bond, but also makes day-to-day interactions with your pup much easier.
Hiring a Dog Trainer: Ask the Right Questions
Whether your dog is just a puppy or getting up into his years, the best time to train is now. The first step is finding a credible trainer. Dog owners should be cautious about who they hire to train their dog because anyone can claim to be a dog trainer.
When you search for a trainer, you should first ask them questions that will reveal their dog training methods and philosophy. Petfinder.com recommends that you start by asking them these questions:
What educational organizations do you belong to?
The Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior are both organizations that require their trainers to keep up-to-date on their skills. A trainer that belongs to organizations such as these can most likely be trusted.
How big is the class?
Make sure that if the class has more than 10 people enrolled in it, the trainer has a qualified assistant with them. Too many dogs in a class will spell out a disaster for everyone involved.
Do you require proof of vaccinations to enroll?
If the trainer doesn’t require proof that your dog has been vaccinated, this is a clear sign that this is not a good trainer. You want someone who cares about your dog’s health.
After asking these questions, ask the trainer if you can sit in on a class to watch. This will give you a good idea of what your pet will be learning and how nice the facility is. Do the other dogs in the class look happy? What about the owners? Does the trainer use any physical punishment? If the answer to the last question is “yes”, you should probably skip out on that trainer.
This may seem like a lot, but you will feel good about putting your dog in trusted hands after you’ve done your research. Trust your gut and make sure that both you and your dog seem comfortable with the trainer you choose.
Dog Training Schools
Maybe you want to train your own dog and learn how to train other dogs as well. Being a dog trainer is a rewarding career for those passionate about what they do. You don’t need to be certified to become a trainer, but you will want to possess the skills required to do your job well. You can check out some of these top-tier dog training schools to learn more:
The Association of Professional Dog Trainers
As we’ve already mentioned, APDT is a trustworthy dog training website that requires its trainers to keep up with new skills and continually learn. APDT offers free webinars and educational tools to take those important first steps to becoming a dog trainer. Check them out at the APDT website.
Animal Behavior College
This school offers graduates the opportunity to become professional dog trainers, dog groomers, or veterinary assistants and has been approved by the International Association of Animal Behavior. You can find them at http://www.animalbehaviorcollege.com/dog-trainer.
PAWS Training Academy
As one of the leading schools for teaching Assistance Dog and Service Dog trainers, PAWS Training Academy offers hands-on experience for students. Anyone looking for a rewarding career to help those with disabilities should look into this school. Look for your chance to enroll at the PAWSTrainingAcademy.com.
At Home Dog Training Basics
There are plenty of tips at your disposal for at home dog training. You can go out and purchase/rent dog trainingbooks, classes, and videos. There are even online dog training classes you can sign up for.
While we can learn many things from Youtube, it is recommended that you find books by accredited authors who know what they’re doing.
However, Youtube videos from popular dog trainers such as Cesar Milan or Victoria Stilwell have some great insights as well.
Here are 7 rules to get your started dog training at home.
1. Getting Started
So you’ve decided to skip the professional trainer and teach your dog at home. After you have watched enough dog training videos and books to last you a lifetime, begin by starting off slow with your dog. Here are some tips for basic home training:
2. Keep the sessions short
My dog and I have something in common: we both have really short attention spans. Since I know the struggle personally, I keep the training sessions to about 10 minutes long. This way, the dog will be happy to come back the next day for another training session and will be more attentive.
3. Use positive reinforcement
You want your dog to associate the command with reward, not punishment. Punishing your dog will not work in the long run and studies show that your dog will work harder to please you than he would out of fear. Make sure to always give them positive reinforcement in the form of praise even if your dog is more food motivated.
4. Train before mealtime
My dog is very food motivated, so I don’t have much trouble getting him to listen for a treat. If you want your dog to have even more motivation, schedule a training session right before his normal feeding time.
5. Don’t repeat “sit” over and over
Repeating the command over and over will only make your dog insensitive to the word and he/she will ignore you. Say it once and if they don’t follow it the first time, try again later. Make sure to reward your dog when they DO listen.
6. Don’t get frustrated
Remember when your math tutor literally walked out of the room in frustration because you didn’t get what they were trying to tell you?
Maybe that was just me. The point is, I try to recall those fun times with math when I train my dog. Be patient. Not every dog is as smart as a border collie and some will take more time to catch on.
7. Having Fun During Training
The most important thing to remember while training your dog is to have fun.
You two are a team and while there is work involved in training, it should be a fun and bonding experience for both of you.
VIDEO: Dog Training 101: How to Train ANY DOG the Basics
This is an awesome dog training video by Zak George’s Dog Training rEvolution. He takes a group of big hyper dogs through a lure exercise where the goal is to leave a yummy treat alone for 5 minutes.
Zack is a fan of the clicker training technique. He first gets the dog’s to understand the clicker is a positive reinforcement. Marking the correct behavior with the clicker sound & the meaning “Good Dog”. Then he continues on step by step gradually increasing the amount of time before the dog gets the treat.
Some of Zack’s other helpful tips include:
- Keep close eye to eye contact.
- Create a tight “training bubble”, keeping your dog close & super focused on you.
- When working with hyper dogs, you also need to be super quick in order to make sure they get the message before they get distracted.
Watch as Zak helps a group of owners teach their dogs to resist temptation!
Source: YouTube/Zak George
A note from Zack
This is a MUST for anyone new to dog training, or anyone who has reached a plateau. Dog training should not be about domination, but communication. The latest installment of my “Dog Training 101” series is up, and it’s a good one! Absolutely PACKED with entertaining dogs and great info. Y’all are going to like this one:) Believe it or not, I’ll give you a quick lesson on how to teach your dog to leave something alone when you ask, look at you when you ask, sit, lie, down, tips on working with high energy dog, the importance of the training bubble, the value of clicker training, and of course how to achieve great communication with your dog!
I find it so gratifying to know that thousands of people will see these videos and that together, we are encouraging people to use more effective and humane approaches to training. Quite honestly, I really do not think there’s anything like this out there today when it comes to dog training. If you like the video, click “LIKE”:) and tell me what you think!
Help me get this video out there! Do you have a preference when it comes to hyper dogs vs. chill dogs?