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Importance Of Dog Training In The Early Stages Of The Dog-Owner Relationship

There may be a dog or dogs in your neighbourhood who, to put it mildly, are just poorly behaved, to the point where you may be wondering if the owner/owners ever attempted any type of dog obedience training at all. These dogs may bark or growl at passersby, snap at or try to bite anyone who tries to approach them, and literally obliterate/destroy other people’s property. To make matters worse, some owners will actually apologize for their dogs’ actions, which is essentially their positive reinforcement of bad dog behaviour.

To avoid such potential circumstances with your dog, it is important to begin obedience training at an early stage in the dog-owner relationship. This includes puppy training as well as training an older dog that may have been rescued or adopted from a shelter. Furthermore, dog training can also play an important role in providing for the safety and protection of your pet, as instilling even the most basic commands could prevent the dog from “poking its nose where it does not belong” due to its inquisitive nature.

Recognizing that most dogs, particularly puppies, have shorter attention spans, here are some guidelines/steps for initiating dog training in the early stages of the relationship:

  • Short Sessions – Dogs can tire after lengthy repetition so consider shorter training sessions multiple times daily rather than one intensive or concentrated block of time
  • Focused Attention – Work on one command at a time to allow the dog to focus its efforts/energies and learn that particular command faster and more effectively
  • Reward Appropriately – Begin by extending or offering a treat whenever the dog responds as desired but eventually stop using treats and simply show praise/approval
  • Positive Reinforcement – Dogs generally want to please their owners and positive reinforcement is a vital part of dog training – And remember that not correcting inappropriate behaviour is actually giving positive reinforcement in a negative way
  • Be Consistent – Ensure that all family members participate in the dog training and that all commands (verbal and hand signals) are given consistently by each person 

The importance of basic dog obedience training simply cannot be underestimated. For reasons of personal enjoyment as well as safety and protection – for both the owner and the dog – instilling good behaviour habits, as well as a positive reinforcement of those behaviours, will set a foundation for many years of pleasurable companionship.

Basic Dog Training Commands Through Repetition And Positive Reinforcement

You may have seen television programs in which dogs have competed in obstacle course trials, Frisbee-catching tournaments, or long-jumping events (landing in water). While these types of competitions may make for interesting viewing, they are at the extremes of dog training and probably not viable activities for most dogs and most dog owners.

As an aside, one take-away from such competitions is the amount of praise and positive reinforcement that is lavished on the dogs when they have completed their runs/turns.

When it comes to dog obedience training, for most dogs and their owners, there are basically a half-dozen commands that should be practiced and instilled through repetition and positive reinforcement. These include:

  • Sit – Shows a form of politeness by the dog and should be the first command taught
  • Stay – Perhaps a more intuitive command in terms of signalling an impending threat
  • Down – May follow or accompany the stay command (another safety command)
  • Come – Is an encouraging or welcoming command (together with a hand gesture)
  • Heel – A bit more complicated to train and master (introduced later in training)
  • Walk (on a leash) – Prevents lunging or pulling and signifies a friendly demeanor

If the importance of dog training does not mesh with your personal schedule, you may consider the professional training programs available through Alpha Paws, one of the leading dog training providers in Toronto and the GTA. Our professional dog trainers are skilled in delivering the type of dog training and positive reinforcement needed to ensure that your pet’s responses and behaviours will meet your expectations when in your home/family environment.

If professional dog training classes would best suit your needs and those of your dog, call the professionals at Alpha Paws today at 905-830-9500 or 1-647-694-4584 to arrange an assessment time and determine which dog training classes might be optimal for your dog.

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