We get many puppy parents asking for advice on what they could be doing on their own to help their canines become better companions. Providing proper training for your dog is a big part of your role as a responsible dog parent and there are some great tools that will help you and your canine friend strengthen your relationship with one another.
Remember that positive reinforcement training is the most effective way to teach new behaviors and build a lasting bond with your animal.
Dog training treats
In training treats serve a specific purpose of increasing the frequency of a desired behavior. Simply put, from the dog’s perspective when they are engaged and in learning mode, treats serve as reinforcers given to a dog directly after the dog performs a targeted behavior – adding something of value to increase the possibilities of an outcome. Therefore treats should carry value. They should be something the dog is motivated by which is visible in by the dogs interest in wanting to learn from you as their guide.
The term “treats” is different than the term “reinforcer” because of the implied effect. When offering dogs treats, we may not be as thoughtful or considerate to the value the item has for the dog and its influence on motivation and performance.
In addition, treats are typically delivered differently than reinforcers. For example, you may give your dog a treat before you leave home; maybe its a ritual you have adopted since bringing your dog home.
Dog training leash
The purpose of a leash is not to hold your dog hostage, but rather to keep your dog in proximity to you in obedience of the leash laws enforced in many places. A leash plays a function in a dog’s learning in terms of how far the dog can go, how much leeway they can get, what direction they can move in etc. A leash enforces limitation but it doesn’t have to. When properly used, a leash can provide dogs the freedom to explore, dogs gain space, increase movement, yet remain in compliance with safety for others.
There’s no such thing as a “dog training leash.” A leash on its own, can not accomplish the task of teaching a dog how to obey it. For example, a slip lead can be a great tool for teaching a dog who has mastered the art of pulling by thrusting forward with the strength of its chest, but it must be used in coordination with technique – that is, you knowing how to use it correctly. A leash is like an umbilical chord. It should be treated as a dog’s life line. Any abuse to it, causes stress and can be dangerous to the dog and the human. Hence, learning how to move with it is of utmost importance.
Dog training shock collar
Trainers will argue the use of shock collars especially in training companion dogs, some believing it absolutely unnecessary, harsh and punitive and others believing the contrary. I have never used an electronic collar, but I have seen them used successfully when used mindfully and with great respect to the dog. The time it takes to present the tool so that the dog understands it as a form of communication without fear of it or acting adversely as a result of improper use, takes time and skill and tons of practice. If time, skill and practice were given to other forms of learning, then I would agree that electronic collars serve a limited purpose for a companion dog’s lifestyle.
Sadly, most dog owners use them as an attempt to “quickly fix” behavior. A shock collar is a like a hot glue gun, used to correct anything broken with impermanent results.
Dog training school
By some, Doglando is considered a dog training school – a place where dogs go to learn. But learn what? When we think of school as a place where learning and experiences go hand in hand.
At Doglando, our 6 acre campus is thoughtfully designed to engage dogs of all breeds and ages to experience a rich lifestyle that is encompassing of learning skills such as: recall, massage, walk along side of us (include the 8 non-negotables link here) and life experiences such as positive interactions with other dogs, people, sounds, and the great outdoors. We believe a dog’s life is significantly enhanced and improved when they have access to nature and have learned to cooperatively and harmoniously exist with all the living and non-living things around them. Doglando has replicated an outdoor world for dogs by providing a natural living environment that is full of life – offering change, newness, beauty and a platform for learning every day. It’s far different than a typical “school” environment that is controlled, stagnant and sterile filled with artificial aesthetics.
Dog training pads
Whatever your reason for choosing to use training pads are, and there are many conditions in which training pads are a life-savor (such as: for those living in high rises, with senior dogs, teacup sized dogs etc) consider for these dogs and you, chances are you are taken away from going outside and reaping the benefits of being outdoors with the use of training pads. If you are mindful of this, and still make time to take your dog on a walk, or other forms of outdoor activity, then you have not compromised your dog of these other benefits.
This is not an all encompassing list but it’s a great start to help you and your canine relationship flourish.
What are your essential tools when training your puppy?
Tell us about your experiences training your puppy in the comment section below.
Teena Patel is a Certified Dog Trainer and Behavioral Counselor who works with pet owners and owners of doggy daycares to bring her philosophy of Enrichment to the canine population. After almost two decades of successful dog training under her belt, Teena has done away with the standard doggy daycare “warehousing” of animals in kennels and runs. In place of an industrial model, she focuses on what is right for the dogs as living beings, providing experiences that improve and enhance their behavioral health. Coupled with a program of careful training, the Doglando experience results in companion dogs who are better-behaved, better integrated into their families, and above all, much happier. True to her passion, Teena Patel gives dogs the freedom “to be dogs”.