Owning a dog is probably among the best experiences a human being could possibly have. It can also become a nightmare if you let the dog behave in anyway it wants. Bad habits are easily developed, and dogs are no different to children in this aspect. You’ll have to train the dog to cooperate with you, whether it’s feeding, walking, playing, sleeping or toilet training.
Having a well-trained dog can be a great pleasure, but getting there is not very easy. It is a journey that you and your dog have to make together – trite as that sounds, it is true. First of all, make sure that everybody in the family has something to do with the dog, and is familiar with it.
Secondly, come to terms with the dog’s role in your family. Agree on where the dog will sleep, where in the house it’s not allowed, the feeding times and place, who’s responsible for dog walking etc. To make sure everyone in the family is known to the dog and a bonding takes place, it’s compulsory to involve everyone in training the dog.
Dogs rely on routine. They need a good, solid routine to feel secure, and a secure pet is a happy pet. It is much easier to train a happy pet, after all. For starters, decide where the dog will sleep in advance, and take it there at bed time. And do not let those big eyes blackmail you into letting it sleep in bed just for once – once it is established, a habit like that is very hard to break.
Next, set fixed feeding times. The occasional treat outside feeding time is fine, but this is also a key in toilet training. If you mess this part up, you will have a lot of messes to clean up, and you cannot really blame the dog for it.
Once you have those things in place, you can move on to simple tricks and commands, like sit, come, roll over – the whole deal. Here, nothing works as well as bribery and very lavish praise.
Dogs love to be petted and shown love, so each time your dog does something right, let it know it did the correct thing by giving encouragement and lots of love.
Please remember that you cannot get a dog trained properly through fear. Praise and encouragement is what works and it can be a rewarding experience for you, as well. There is nothing quite as uplifting as a pair of doggy eyes looking at you adoringly as if convinced that you are perfect – be patient and you will see that it is worth it.