My Dog Training Steps To Success
Every dog trainer and owner has their own methods on how they train their dogs. In my household, there are few concepts I consider essential for success because they help create a solid foundation to build upon. When I see undesired or problematic behavior arise in a dog’s daily life – more often than not – one of these pieces are missing from the puzzle:
If these five steps are used in everyday life when living with their dog, there will be a reduction in unwanted behaviors! In fact, I practice these concepts in my personal dogs’ lives and they are incredibly valuable to maintain control over a multi-dog household.
Every household has their own set of rules to keep life going as smooth as possible. Additionally, rules help define expectations and, if consistently maintained, house rules help prevent unwanted behaviors.
The rules in my house for my dogs are likely very different from your rules in your house. Every person has their own limitations on what they allow and don’t allow within their home. Below are the rules I consistently maintain every day unless stated otherwise:
In addition to the consistent rules I have for my dogs – there are specific rules for the humans living within the home as well. All doors to spare rooms within my house are to remain closed, all shoes are to be put in the closet, no food is to be left out on counter or table tops, and all trash belongs in the trash can. This is to prevent all dogs from getting into something they shouldn’t be messing with.
Fulfill Biological Requirements
Problem behaviors often stem from under stimulated dogs. Every dog has their own unique requirements for mental and physical stimulation. It is important to meet these individual needs every day if you do not want your dog to display unwanted behavior.
In order for dogs to continue to offer behaviors we find desirable, we need to reinforce the behaviors we like to see and the good behaviors we are teaching the dog. Every dog will have their own unique preference to what they find highly rewarding.
All of my dogs are unique in their individual preferences for reinforcement. I use their individual preferences to my advantage to teach them that they will receive access to these rewards when I see the behaviors I like. Even if I am not actively training my dogs, I am still mindful to provide some sort of reinforcement when I see good behavior because this will increase the likelihood of those good behaviors happening again.
Strong Working Relationship
I believe every dog should have a very strong desire to engage and work with the pet parent. Learning can happen without this strong bond. However, learning is accelerated when the dog and human mutually enjoy working with one another. Developing this type of relationship starts with having a positive mindset and built with games!
Training for better behavior is a vital component of reducing unwanted behavior. Dogs naturally jump, bite, bark, and dig, and we need to teach dogs how we want them behave if our expectation is to live peacefully together. Teaching dogs specific incompatible behaviors reduces unwanted behaviors because the behaviors cannot happen at the same time.
Instead of looking at behaviors dogs do as a problem – begin to think “What can I teach my dog to do instead of the behavior I do not like?” Adjusting your mentality on how you perceive your dog’s unwanted behavior will help support a positive mindset for training.
All dogs, including my own, do behaviors we do not like. If we begin to think about solutions to prevent the problem, we can develop a clear training program to teach the dog an acceptable behavior which ultimately reduces stress for everyone involved!
My puppy, Quest, is very food motivated and can become over excited when it is dinner time – he would bark and jump for food. I knew he was excited for dinner which I am thrilled he loves his food. I was not thrilled with all the other behaviors that came with the excitement so I taught Quest to go into his kennel and wait for his dinner. Doing this eliminated the barking and jumping while replacing it with a behavior that still got him what he ultimately wanted – food.
In addition to training incompatible behaviors, daily training in other avenues proves beneficial as well. All of my dogs have a minimum of one training session a day and this is to maintain old behaviors as well as learn new behaviors. My two adult dogs, Pica and Loki, only receive one training session a day, whereas my puppy, Quest, receives training more frequently throughout the day.
My Plan For Success
There are many different ways to raise and live with dogs, but I have found the steps outlined in this article are incredibly valuable to owning a well-mannered dog. Undesirable behaviors are reduced when you create and maintain consistent rules, fulfill your dog’s biological requirements, provide positive reinforcement for desirable behavior, develop a strong working relationship, and teach incompatible behaviors.