As a dog owner, you know how important it is that your dog obeys your commands. Working with your pet to obey you is one way to bond with your dog. It also creates a happy living environment for both you and your pup.
What is Obedience Training?
Obedience training is the process of helping your pup learn expected and desired behaviors. No matter the age, size, or breed of your dog, obedience training will help you and your pet lives more happily together. Obedience training specifically teaches your dog commands.
There are many different approaches to dog training, but they all share one thing in common. Obedience training always involves some sort of conditioning. This is often done by rewarding your pup for positive behavior or punishment for negative behavior.
Along with the reward or punishment, obedience training involves teaching your dog a command, either verbal or nonverbal. These commands signal the desired behavior you want to see from your pup.
Why is Obedience Training Important?
One of the biggest benefits of obedience training is that your dog will exhibit more positive behaviors and less negative behaviors. This makes it easier for you to enjoy spending time with your pup instead of being frustrated by negative or destructive behaviors. Due to better control, you will likely be able to bring your dog to more places that can help them develop social bonds.
Another benefit of obedience training is that it can help keep your dog safe. If your pup learns to come when you call, it can avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Obedience training also allows you to better understand your dog and your dog to understand you. It helps calm your dog’s nerves when they understand what is right and wrong and that you are in control. Training allows you to learn small signals from your dog to help them behave better in new settings.
Finally, obedience training also helps keep your dog’s mind alert and strengthens the bond they share with you. As long as you stay consistent and patient, your pup will gain mental stimulation from training sessions and look forward to that time spent together.
What are the Different Types of Obedience Training?
Many people have different views on the best types of obedience training for dogs. You need to do some research and decide which type of training fits you and your pup.
Positive Reinforcement Training
Positive Reinforcement training refers to training that gives your dog a positive stimulus when they show the desired behavior. This positive reinforcement is more commonly a treat and verbal praise.
Many trainers agree that this type of training is the most effective and can lead to great outcomes.
One big challenge for positive reinforcement training is that it is time-consuming. It takes many repetitions for your dog to learn what you want from them.
However, if you start with basic commands such as “sit” and “stay,” your pup will soon learn to look to you for guidance. This may make learning difficult commands a bit easier since trust has already been established.
In addition to the treats and praise, many pet owners and trainers also use a clicker. Clicker training involves a small plastic device that generates a clicking sound when pushed. This noise becomes a positive stimulus that encourages the desired behavior.
The clicker sound also must be followed by treats and praise for your pup to associate the noise with a “good thing.”
Alpha dog or dominance training is a type of obedience training where you are in charge and train your dog to submit to you.
This type of training comes from the idea that your dog sees your family as a pack, and you want to be the alpha rather than have your pup be in charge.
Many modern trainers believe this technique is outdated and not helpful for training dogs. However, many popular trainers, such as Ceaser Millan, implement dominance techniques.
In this type of training, you would not allow your pet on furniture and would always lead the way in and out of doors, as well as eating and sitting down.
The biggest downside to this type of obedience training is that the underlying cause for your dogs’ unwanted behavior is not addressed. Thus, you must constantly reinforce your dominance.
This can potentially create issues if you have children or elderly family members present and you, as the alpha, are not present.
Electronic training is another option for obedience training that relies on your pup wearing an electronic collar. These collars may deliver a shock, vibration, or noise when your dog shows an unwanted behavior.
This type of training may be most effective when used sparingly when your dog has a large area to roam or in an unfenced yard.
Most pet owners do not see great results from this type of obedience training if it is the only method being used. It often creates a great deal of stress in your pet as they are constantly punished for bad behavior.
This training lacks a model or stimulus for the wanted behavior, leaving your dog somewhat confused.
Should I Hire a Trainer?
Dog trainers have a great amount of experience working with dogs of all levels in obedience. However, hiring a trainer may be a bit of an expensive choice to start with.
If you have the time and can be consistent, try using positive obedience training at home. Spend time each day working with your pup, giving them positive feedback. Many dogs, especially at a young age, will respond well to consistent and patient home training.
Another option is to take your dog to basic obedience classes or puppy socialization classes. These classes are often more affordable than private trainers. And the courses allow your pup to socialize with other dogs and humans as well.
These classes are also a great way to continue to bond with your dog while you practice obedience commands and techniques.
You may find your dog is not responding to you or a class environment. Or, you simply do not have the time to commit to adequate training.
In this case, hiring a private trainer may be the best option. Many trainers have facilities or are willing to come to your home to work on obedience training.
Obedience training is more than simply getting your dog to do cute tricks. It allows you to live peacefully with your dog.
Obedience training also provides a framework for your pup to know what is expected of them. It leads to a better relationship and a happier life.