5 TIPS to train your dog
We all wish to have the perfect dog, the one that we can take everywhere with us, the one that makes us proud, the one that knows how to react in every situation, the one that never disobeys any of our commands. However, training a dog, like any other animal, requires involvement, time and... money! Here are a few tips to optimize your training sessions, to better understand your dog and to develop an excellent relationship with him through training!
1. Generalize the behaviours you have taught your dog
Dogs find it difficult to generalize the things we teach them, and they need to be taught the proper commands in different environments. For us humans, it's hard to understand that our dogs don't understand what sitting means in any environment or situation.
We have an extremely high-performance brain, capable of understanding complex things such as concepts. If I teach you a trick in your living room, let's say jumping, it will be very easy for me to make you jump afterwards in different contexts, without any prior learning.
However, for your dog, you will have to practice it in different situations before he understands that the word "jump" means that he has to jump, even at the dog park, at the vet's office, or during obedience classes in a room full of dogs, etc.
As long as the command you wish to generalize to your dog does not have excellent results (i.e. more than 90% success after only one request), continue to reward each attempt! Don't make the mistake of reducing the number of rewards when your dog does not master the command you want to teach him!
2. Have a clear training system
It's very simple, the more you will repeat a command to your dog, and that it is without consequences, the more he will get used to the fact that this word is just a simple background noise! Think of the sound of an air conditioning system: when it starts up, the noise it makes is distinct and we can hear it very well. However, after a few minutes, our brain no longer pays attention to it and we can't hear it!
To prevent our dog's brain from learning to ignore us, it is better to use violence and avoid repeating (a very difficult exercise for humans!). If your dog tends not to listen to you, reducing your demands and starting at an easier level (I'll talk about this below) will help you to make yourself understood. You can then go back to your original demands.
3. Dare to compromise
It's all about understanding your dog's needs and finding solutions to make it easier for him to adapt to what you want from him! Your training will absolutely benefit from it!
4. Grieving for what your dog is not
We all tend to have unrealistic visions about what our dog could and should be! Don't tell anyone the secret: no dog is perfect! Even your dog trainer's! They all have their qualities and faults! And often, they even have qualities related to their faults... A very vigilant, very nervous dog, for example a sheepdog, will tend to be quick to respond to commands, and to listen. On the other hand, it will also be a dog that will be easily surprised by a suspicious noise!
5. Work on the foundation
Too often we are in a hurry to show our dogs commands or tricks. We aim for the stars when we don't have the vehicle to get us there!
Training a dog is a long process, which requires that we put down one stone at a time. The simplest behaviors, and boring to show its often the basis of more complex notions!