How do you train a Dog to………..
It is a question I have received quite a few times now via email.
How do you train a Dog to sit, stay, fetch, roll over, stop barking, etc, etc.
I could probably write a million posts about the various ways to train a Dog to perform a specific task and I will return to a few in the future.
However, there are, for me at least, a few underlying factors that are the root of any good Dog Training technique.
I bet there is not a Dog owner on the planet who has not got angry and exasperated with their little Bone Muncher on more than one a hundred occasions! We all wish we knew exactly what we had to do so that our Dog would learn quickly what we wish it to do/not do.
There is NO magic formula to instantly, well behaved, Dogs. Each Dog has its own personality and will respond differently, faster, or slower to commands and training depending on numerous factors, including its temperament and background.
All of that being said, there are a few basic rules that we can all follow to ensure that our training works the best it can.
How Can I Train My Dog?
Below you will find what I believe to be the main factors you need to implement to successfully train your Dog. Whatever you are trying to achieve you will do well to bear the following in mind.
Exercise. This is THE main factor that can either make or break the successful training of your Dog. A Dog that has been given plenty of exercise will be much more receptive to training.
Let your Dog tire itself out adequately and you will be amazed how much easier the training goes. If you are having real problems getting your Dog to behave, take my exercise challenge and you will be amazed at the difference in your Dogs ability to respond to training.
Stay Calm. Trying to train your Dog when you yourself are full of energy is like trying to train a Dog that has not had sufficient exercise. It won’t work. You must be “too cool for School”. Staying cam and relaxed will lead to much better results. If you want your Dog to sit on command it is no good being angry every time it does not perform to your satisfaction. You need to give off positive vibes.
No aggression. Being aggressive in your Training will not leave a good impression on your Dog. Mild mannered Dogs may become scared of you and very strong willed Dogs may become aggressive back. It is easy to become angry and aggressive when things are not going well but this is exactly the time you need to take a step back and have a cup of Tea!
Expect it to take time. Do not be fooled by the latest advert for an e-book that promises an obedient Dog in the next seven days. It just won’t happen.
If you haven’t realised it yet then I will tell you now. There isn’t a Dog on the Planet that will will always repeat an action every time you want it to. Training takes time and energy and that is just the way it is when you own a Dog.
Repetition. Often forgotten, it is an unfortunate fact that repetition is often the key to Training your Pooch. Do not expect wonders immediately.
Training of whatever nature takes lots of practise. You need to repeat over and over to be successful and even then there will be times when you get that look like they are saying “it just ain’t gonna happen today buddy!”
Praise. The little wiggle bottoms love praise. After every good action they perform they must be given lots of praise. A Dog that knows it will get lots of affection for performing well will be much more inclined to do so. Heap on the love. Don’t only do it when you are Training though. You should always let your Dog know how much you love the little Monkey.
Have fun. Have some fun. You need to bond properly with your poop machine. Play time is a very important part of training. A Dog that loves your company and knows that you are fun to be around Will be a lot more responsive. Make sure you make your Dog smile on a regular basis. It will certainly help in your Training.
They’re just Dogs. Never forget this. They are, for the most part, a simple creature. They would be happy as Larry if they just had a few walks a day, got fed, had some Love and a nice Sofa to sleep on!
Most Dogs, apart from a few exceptions, do not have massive Brain power. It takes time to get through to that little Brain that just has a train of thought running through its head saying ” I like, food, I like walks, I like my Mum, I want, food, I want a Walk…..”.
You get the idea!
Not in their nature. You can try and try to get your Dog to play fetch and if it is not in their nature it just won’t happen. You have to be aware of your Dogs limitations and natural tendencies. Sheep Dogs herd sheep for a reason. Most other Dogs would be useless at it.
There is just no point tearing your hair out trying to train your Dog to fetch the morning paper if its natural tendency is to completely ignore it. Train your Dog depending on its nature. You need to know its limitations and its areas of excellence. You can then adjust your methods and what you try to teach it accordingly.
For God’s sake why? What’s the matter with you? Just why on earth have you been trying to train your Dog to stand on its hind legs, stick its tongue out and Bark the National Anthem!
Be realistic about what you want to train your Dog to do. Some things are fun to see your Dog doing and the Dog may enjoy them. Others are just daft and unnecessary. Your Dog is not just for your amusement. Leave the poor Guy alone why don’t you.
Be happy with what you have. OK, so your Dog has learnt basic commands. It will sit, you have mastered leash training a Dog, it is housetrained, but you want to teach it how to roll over?
Sometimes you just have to accept things. Not all Dogs are ever going to learn what you want them to do. All Dogs can be taught to do the above (some A LOT slower than others) but some Dogs will never perform certain tasks. If the Training is not necessary to having a happy home and ensuring it, and your safety, then just be happy with what you have.
Belly rub! You know it makes sense!
May the Doggie Force be with you all.
GOod writeup!! I remember when we were training our dog, it was often frustrating to teach it new tricks – but with time and patience, it all got done
Taris Janitens’s last blog post..The Importance of Posting on Other Blogs
Loved your post!!! Patience, consistent, and repetition is the key to your success.
Excellent article! The funny thing TDB with this kind of post is that whenever we write one of these we end up with instructions on training HUMANS… “Do this, don’t do this, be calm, patience is king”. In other words, don’t behave like a human when training your pooch. Great!
Karina A.’s last blog post..Wake up: they DO have feelings
I’m trying to train our dogs not to dig up my flower beds. Any ideas?
Barbara Swafford’s last blog post..NBOTW Offers A Free EBook
Taris, that’s it. You have to be patient.
Potty Training Puppies, couldn’t agree more. Repetition is so important but often overlooked.
Karina A, too true. Training is mostly about the person. We need to make sure we go about it in the right way. Apart from when they are digging up your plants! Which leads me to…..
Hello Barbara, nice to have one of my favourite Bloggers here. I can’t go in to too much detail here but a few tips-
Sprinkle chilli powder, this will deter them.
Make sure there are plenty of Toys.
Apparenty Dogs won’t dig if you put some of their own fresh poo where they normally dig!
Give them a sandbox and teach them they can only dig in that. Ours love digging sand.
Hope these few suggestions help.
I think dogs are more inclined to be trained if they want to please you. Building a relationship/bond with the dog will result in a dog that almost “trains themself”. Atleast that is what I have found.
Dog Breed CD, you have got that right. A strong bond goeas a long way to ease of training.
I don’t like to be pessimistic, but I am convinced that some people are just not capable of training a dog. They should stick to goldfish.
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Hi Jan, you made me nearly spill my Vino. You definitely need to have the right mental approach to succeed in Dog training. Even the basics can get some peope too stressed!
all of yor replies leads me to a question bout my new min pin 10 weeks old eating my cats food and the cat eating his and potty training gonna be hard he is hyper and i still have to get ipee pads to place in bathroom for over night and day time in kitchen area any other ideas for me to use????
Hi Sheila, firstly let me direct you to
How To Stop Puppy Biting, and I will say that for the potty training, start getting up in the night.
Set the alarm for a few hours after you go to bed. Get up and let the pup out. Keep putting it forward every night until finally you are back to regular time. It is a great way to train them to hold on until the morning.
For the day time let the pup out as much as possible and praise it when it does its business.
For the food, forget it, it’s what they do. Just feed them seperately. We put the Cat or the Dogs out for feeding, just keep them seperate.
Hope this helps a little.
tyvm i appreciate that very much but the howling and crying is awful he started that last night wat else can i do bou t that HELP!!!!!
Hi Sheila, it should settle down pretty quickly. Being noisy is just part of them settling in to a new environment. As long as he has a bed and water in the night things will settle down. Sorry not to be of more help.
Some things just need to be waited out. Don’t forget to klet him out in the night though if he is still making a mess. It will soon pass as long as there is no problem with the Dog.
You’ve made some very good points in this post. It is also important to remember that every time you interact with your dog, you are training him. For example, if you want your dog to behave a certain way, you have to be Consistent in your actions. You cannot give him mixed messages about what is acceptable vs. unacceptable behavior.
Julia’s last blog post..Training a Fearful Dog to Stop Biting
Julia, good comment. Consistency is very important. Mixed messages will seriously set back training.
My pitbull does fine with me and my child And female & children strangers and other pets. But when a man cmes aroung he goes crazy and forgets all my comands And trys to attack. How can I fix this bad behavior my vet said its possible but he wont come around the dog (for clear reasons) I saved this dog from my neighbor and he is a sweetie to all except males.
I think it would be best to get a professional in to help you if there is an agression problem. I would not like to offer advice in case it resulted in someone getting hurt. Sorry to sit on the fence like that and I hope that you can get him to behave better.
I have tried that everyone says to train him…. IDK but maybe u can help with this problem I have a puppy who im house breaking she will go outside and i praise her and give her a treat then as soon as she comes through the door she pees in the floor not even 2 seconds after she peed outside
Kitty it may well have been that before you had the pup it was partially trained to go in the house. What I would do is to keep her outside longer after she goes to the toilet. Keep something on the floor inside so it is easier to clean but the main thing is to tell her off when she does it, it really is a matter of time normally for these type of things.