dog trainingTraining your dog is not easy. Sometimes it can be really frustrating. Especially when a so-called "tried-and-tested" way of training a dog is proving to be not so effective after all.

Before you start with your training, first…

Clear your head of any notions and any "correct" ways of training you might have heard before so as not to have any expectations or frustrations later on.

Bond with your dog. Every dog is different. Know your dog’s temperament and attitude. There are basically five different types of temperament: High energy/outgoing; shy; strong-willed; calm/easygoing; and aggressive. Determine which type is yours. Often times, a dog’s breed can be a helpful in determining his/her temperament.

It is difficult to know how your dog was treated before you had him/her. Let your dog know that he/she is accepted and loved. Let him explore his new home and get to know the new people around him/her. Be forgiving when he/she makes mistakes.

Some activities that can help create a strong bond between you and your dog are feeding your dog, walking your dog, bathing your dog, taking your dog with you when you go outdoors or in the car, allowing your dog to be with you when you are doing chores, playing with your dog, exercising your dog, housebreaking or paper training (without harsh corrections), consistent daily routines (for feeding, walking, playing)

Some Do’s and Dont’s that you must remember

Be generous with praises. Dogs love positive reactions from their owners. Your dog will love you for your positive reinforcements, love and affection and will reward you. Above all, be very patient.

Never hurt, yell or punish your dog. This will make your dog afraid of you and will result in ineffective training.

Use friendly, high-pitched tones in praising your dog. Use firmer tones when correcting. Never use a threatening voice when training your dog.

Use your hands for cuddling, petting and hugging your dog. Never use them to threaten him/her. Again this will only make your dog afraid of you.

Choose a quiet and secluded area for your training as there will be less distractions.

At the start of training, your sessions should not be very long. Around 15 minutes for the first two weeks is enough. Gradually increase your training time based on your dog’s age, temperament and attention span.

Use body language effectively as this is an important tool in communicating with your pet. Some things you might want to try out are: getting down to eye level with your dog and playing with him/her, a casual, relaxed stance will make your dog think that you are not in charge, when training a small dog give him/her some space. Do not tower over him, or he will feel threatened, never stare directly into the eyes of your dog for more than a couple of seconds. It is unfriendly, challenging and threatening.

Training materials

Leather leash – trainers suggest a length of six feet as it allows the proper distance and control. For the width, select a size that is most appropriate for your dog’s size.

Training collar – for the training collar, trainers suggest a jeweled type which is composed of small, metal links. This type releases the grip around your dog’s neck quickly and smoothly.

Shake can – used in startling and getting your dog’s attention. Create one by dopping a few pennies in a soda can. Seal the opening with tape.

Dog crate – should be just the right size for your pet. It is a kind of indoor dog house that is useful in transporting pets and in training for housebreaking and other behavioral problems.

Puppy gate – this is helpful in limiting your dog’s dog’s access into the house without blocking his/her view.

Squirt bottle – provides an element of surprise in training. Create one by simply filling an empty spray bottle with water.

Corrective techniques

Rule of thumb: Love your dog and your dog will love you back. In training, never, ever hurt or punish your dog. It will only make it afraid of you. Always be generous with praises, love and affection. However, it is appropriate to use correction techniques that will cure behavioral problems. Corrective techniques should neither be too harsh or too mild.

Remember, it is only after you have bonded with your pet that you should use corrective techniques. Your dog should have learned how to trust you first. And always follow with praise after your dog has corrected his/her negative behavior.

The most effective method of correcting is the corrective jerk. To execute: Stand with your dog on your left. Allow about 3 feet of leash to drape between you and your dog. Pull sideways and slightly upwards on the leash and firmly say "no". This will not hurt your dog, but will startle him and get his attention. Praise your dog after the first corrective jerk. Always remember your do’s and don’ts.

Now that you’ve covered the basics, you can start teaching your dog other tricks.