A well trained dog is a happy dog
Dog training is vital in any dog’s life. A dog that receives training is a well stimulated dog and is healthier as well. A dog that undergoes regular training gets to not only exercise his mind through commands that teach him how to be the best that he can be for you, his master, but will also get to stretch his legs and use his body for activities that make him happy too. The positive reinforcement he will receive as a reward for good behavior also stimulates his brain and brings him more joy.
Reward based training also enhances his relationship with his trainer, who then can pass it onto his owner. Whether the reward comes in the form of a tasty food treat or simple verbal praise, like saying “good dog”, is a pleasant sounding tone that the dog hears and recognizes as pleasing his owner, which then pleases him too.
Training your dog using rewards based training also teaches your dog what unwanted behavior is. For example, your dog may be seeking your praise or a treat from the goodie bag for chewing up your shoes, but without the positive reinforcement or receiving any treats, he learns that this is a behavior that he should stop doing as he learns that it doesn’t garner him any rewards.
Sometimes, owners tend to react to unwanted behavior by raising their voices in an angry tone, but this does not help your dog learn as the attention still given may be mistaken for something that he thinks should grant him a reward. In these cases, it is best to ignore your dog rather than to scream at him as your dog will quickly learn that not receiving any attention proves that he did not do well and is not being rewarded.
Physical punishment is never a method that should be used when training a dog. By doing so, you may be prolonging the problem, or worse, making it worse. This is also why it is recommended to enter your dog into a training program while he is still a young little puppy. There are also benefits that come with entering them as youngsters as it teaches them how to socialize with other dogs. Your puppy learns how to be around other dogs through walks, interactions with other dogs at the park, and will be perfectly comfortable around all types of breeds, as well as other animals before they are adults.
It is also important to note that the window for puppies to learn is best between the ages of 3 weeks to 17 weeks of age. As for dogs that are no longer puppies or already at an adult stage, training classes are still prefered but they must be reward based training that includes the act of positive reinforcement.
Dog training for any breed at any age is truly rewarding, not only for your dog but for you as well. It is so important in fact that training your dog actually underlines what being a responsible pet owner should be.
When you purchase or adopt a new puppy, you will find that your kids will be the most eager ones in the house to want to be a part of the dog’s life and will be anxious to help. There are many ways to get your kids involved but the easiest ways would be to simply include them in the everyday needs and responsibilities that go into owning and taking care of a dog.
Tell your children that dogs need to be fed, they need to be groomed, and that they need to be taken out for bathroom breaks and for walks and runs. These are all activities that your children can easily be a part of like putting food in their bowl, or combing their hair. When you take your dog out for a walk, allow your kids to hold a part of their leash in their hand. Besides the joy that your kids will experience for being a part of their dog’s life and daily activities, your dog too will learn to trust your kids and this will be the beginning of the lifelong friendship that your children will have with your dog.
It remains true that the full responsibility of dog training should remain with the adult/s, but there are an entire slew of activities that your kids can still be a part of. But there are basic skills such as teaching your dog to sit, to stay, to come to you, and to walk with a leash that are all adaptable into what your kids can be capable of. But as it should be, there must be adult supervision at all times, not just for your kids but for the benefit of your new pet dog too. Let’s not forget that kids can be rough or don’t know their own strength, whereas dogs may not be as big and strong as the kids think they are.
When teaching dogs to sit, parents should show their kids how to hold a treat just above the dog’s nose, while moving it back over the head of the dog. Then tell your kids, “so your dog can still see the treat, he will roll his head back while slowly sitting down.” Then go on to saying “when he sits, say ‘good boy’ and give him the treat while petting him nice and gently.
When teaching how to go for a walk with a leash, show your kids how you hold their treat right above your waist right before saying “let’s go!” With your dog’s eyes on the treat and your feet starting to move, your dog will start to move with you. After a few steps, you can stop, offer the treat to your dog, and then let your kids try the same trick. With any luck, your dog won’t be grabbing the treat and will wait for it to be given after following the next command given.
As for teaching your dog to stay down, you would also hold the treat in your hand, while in front of your dog’s nose. Then slowly put it down to the ground and watch your dog follow the treat. It is here that your dog will lie down which is when you can give him his treat. Again, your kids can try to copy this but you must be there in order to interrupt wrong behavior and more so, to correct or perfect the skill.
If your kids are a little older, you can also let them be more involved by allowing them to help out with the more advanced tricks. But make sure that they know the basics before attempting the more complicated such as following numerous commands in a single skill. For example, teach your kids how to make your dog sit, and stay, while you walk away. A little further at a time til finally you’re across the yard and your dog is still sitting, and still staying, behaved, and waiting for your next command.
You cannot put value on the relationship your kids will have with your dog and training allows them both that window of opportunity to gain trust towards one another. With this, they will both learn to respond to cues, body movement, and verbal commands.
Having your kids there as you go through your dog’s regular routine can be very helpful and there is no limit as to what your child can do to help train your pooch. One example of co-parenting/training your pet puppy would be to have your child give your pup the command to sit and stay while you prepare your dog’s dinner. Once the bowl is down and ready to be eaten, together you can both give the command to begin to eat.
When your dog misbehaves, you can also teach your child not to scream or raise an angry voice at him. You can explain that you always need to be kind to your dog. Never take their food, don’t take their toys if they’re playing with it, and never ever tease. This interaction will be more productive and will be beneficial for everyone in the house.
Ultimately, dog training is vital and whether you have children in your home or not, all these training examples are what will form and shape your dog into becoming a well behaved good dog that everyone will love.