Every so often I get requests about how I trained Judy, so I figured it was high time I do a post with some tips when it comes to getting your dogs to behave. I am BY NO MEANS an expert, but I did get Floyd to listen and shake on command in a matter of days, which is apparently big deal in the world of Basset Hounds, and trained Judy to therapy level certification. With that in mind, here are some of my best dog training tips!
My Best Dog Training Tips
|Judy is not always an angel!|
1. You are the boss, applesauce. Dogs have a sneaky way of trying to be the alpha whether they weigh 5 pounds or 55 pounds–they want to be in charge. From an early age (or early on in your life as a pair), you have to demand the respect from them that you would of a human child. I KNOW this sounds crazy. But would you let your human child run amuck down the street/into traffic/in a field? Probably not. So, don’t allow that from your dog. Make them aware of boundaries immediately and use the same commands every time (off, no, etc.) Unlike humans, dogs don’t understand “no” or “stop” mean basically the same thing, they know that a certain word means a certain thing.
When Judy was a puppy it was so cute to have her cuddled on my lap, but as a previous Lab owner, I knew it was no longer cute when an 80-pound dog wanted to sit on your legs. Be consistent with your commands and consequences so your dog knows what he or she can expect.
2. Never stop training. This kind of goes along with what I said before. If you stop working with your dog, your dog is going to stop working with you. It’s that simple. Be consistent. Judy is 1 and a half and we still train for an hour or more every single day. I want her to be a dog I’m proud to take in public, on an airplane, to a nursing home, hospital, etc.
3. Food = Love. Training Judy stopped being so complex when I realized that she responded to me just as well whether I was holding a treat or a piece of kibble. Dogs love food and will typically do whatever it takes to get it from you. Rewarding an animal for good behavior is not going to make them obese if you’re using proper training treats and not doling out a rawhide every time they sit.
Note: Many people use clicker training with dogs when they first begin training. This is an amazing technique where you make the clicking sound when good behavior happens and reward them with a small treat. I don’t use this particular method with Judy, because she reacts negatively to the noise. It’s all about knowing what works best for your pet!
4. Understand limitations. I know that when Judy looks at me and lays down after two or more hours of working–she’s done. She isn’t going to perform to the level I expect her to and I need to be OK with that. Don’t expect to work with your dog for one day and have him or her obeying every command, either. Like everything else, training an obedient dog takes time. When we first started working together, I would allot 30 minutes of training per day, 7 days a week. Eventually we worked up to 3 hours per day, 7 days per week. It was A LOT of work (100% worth it), but I had to pace our work together for the sake of my sanity and hers!
I hope at least some of these tips help! If I missed anything, leave it in the comments and I’ll get back to you ASAP!