You have brought a dog or a puppy into your life and you need to train him or her. The main thing to remember about training your dog is that you must spend a lot of time with the dog. A couple of quick sessions are not going to be all that is required either. Your dog requires an investment of your time and attention daily. You are his pack, and you are what he looks up to for guidance.
There are five main elements involved in humane dog training. These are set out here:
1.No punishment-based methods are used in humane training to scare a dog or cause it pain. There is no place for fear-based training or pain when it comes to humane training. If you believe that choke collars, shock collars, hitting a dog, leash corrections, yelling at or pushing a dog are part of training then you are very wrong. These are all training methods which can lead to aggression and anxiety for your dog. They could even ultimately lead to your dog being afraid of you. You do not want your dog to fear you, you want him to respect you and do what you ask of him.
2.Humane training strengthens the bond between you and your dog and is fun for both of you. When the activities that you use for training are fun and enjoyed by both you and your dog, it is motivating and is something that you both look forward to. If you are constantly punishing your dog, it does not make training fun and, in fact, your dog will not enjoy any training sessions. Being positive and treating your dog with kindness is the best way for your dog to learn and for your dog to respect you and want to listen to and follow you.
3.Rewards such as food and play help dogs to learn. One of the most humane ways to train a dog is with rewards, it is also known as positive reinforcement. Treats help your dog by building up his desire to continue to do the things that you ask him to do. It is like a payment for a job well done. When you use a positive voice and tell your dog that he is good and pet him this is all something that your dog will love and look forward to. This can help your dog to look forward to training sessions and to see them as a positive experience. The last thing that you want is for your dog to avoid you when you approach him to work with him in a training session. You want your dog to be excited and to know that he will be rewarded when he works together with you.
4.Educate your dog on body language and proper communication. Proper and humane training teaches a dog how to read your feelings and emotions with your body movements. Humane training allows the trainer to read the dog’s body language as much as it allows the dog to read the trainer’s body language. Once you both understand each other’s body language you can anticipate a behaviour before it happens and then you are able to intervene, if necessary, in a positive way to the behaviour. Your dog can also learn to read your body language and be able to anticipate what is expected from him.
5.Humane training requires you to be a participant in your dog’s training and being able to learn along with your dog. You need to learn the skills that are required to reinforce your dog’s learning. When you train a dog humanely, it means working on building a strong relationship with your dog. The dog cannot build a one-sided relationship, he requires you to participate.
If you choose to work with a trainer, you should seek one that fits within the following guidelines:
Uses the Following Training Methods:
Reward-based, positive reinforcement, free from forceful actions.
Trains humanely with a focus on rewards and training your dog to work for motivational rewards including treats, play and food without forcing a dog to do something it does not want to do.
Avoid any trainers who use harsh corrections and abrasive verbal cues. A good trainer is one who can explain and demonstrate the result they want to teach. A good teacher will work with you and your dog together to teach you the same thing and how to work with one another. They should be not only supportive but also patient and able to adapt methods that are humane which suit your dog.
Avoid a trainer who cannot explain what they are teaching or the reason for the method. If they cannot easily explain how a dog learns, they should be avoided. If a trainer calls themselves a balanced trainer, this means that they use rewards and fear/pain methods, and they should be avoided. If you encounter a trainer that refuses to use food as a reward, they are also one that should be avoided.
Look for trainers who continually work on their skill sets through continuing education. They should continue to work on improving their knowledge and their skills through a variety of courses. Always avoid trainers who feel that they do not need improvement in any areas or methods they can use to update their knowledge, i.e., they state that they have done dog training for many years and understand all that there is to train a dog.
Look for a trainer you can work with you understands how to show both you and your dog respect. They should have patience and be able to explain to you that training is something that requires a lot of time as well as patience. The trainer should be able to assist you in your own process of learning.
Avoid a trainer who uses a harsh and aggressive tone and methods to train a dog including pushing a dog into a position, manipulating the dog, using a choke chain, intimidating the dog, using the alpha roll, pinning the dog or using harsh corrections.
Observe the Training of a Trainer
A trainer should allow you to observe them in action before you join a class or hire them. You should be able to observe both dogs and people having fun in the training class and the dogs should be happy and relaxed. The methods that are used in the training class should be humane and not forceful. You should also notice that the trainer is coaching the owners on the training methods. They should have any younger dogs or puppies in a separate class from adult dogs.
It is important to avoid any trainer that:
Does not have assistant trainers
Does not allow treats
Does not allow you to observe a class before you enroll
Does not respect students in the class or their dogs
Scolds an owner for not following their instructions.
Yells at a dog or a dog owner
You should know that most dog training is an unregulated industry, and someone can call themselves a professional after they take a couple of courses or read some books. This does not mean that they are a professional. You need to do plenty of homework, get some referrals from others and take your time in choosing the right person. Be sure to ask the trainer what their philosophy is on training. What rewards do they recommend? What will they do if the dog makes mistakes?
Training your dog is important because your dog is learning lifelong habits and how to act around you. When you take your dog out into public, you want your dog to understand how to behave and you need to have control over your dog. It is important to not trust a trainer who makes firm promises on results of training. Also, avoid someone who says that they can fix all your dog’s issues.
You should always strive to treat your dog in a humane way. Your dog looks to you and trusts you to provide him with all that he needs. He only knows what you show him and teach him, so if you use fear-based training methods, he will understand that fear is how you will train him. Dogs are sensitive and react to body language and voice tone. They way that you treat your dog and train him will shape him into the dog that he will become, and you want him to be a good dog, so you need to use the right training methods to ensure that. It takes a lot of time and effort to train a dog properly, so you will need to make a solid investment of time and ensure that your dog gets what he needs. If you want to be a dog owner, this is the sacrifice that you need to make to ensure that your dog turns out to be exactly what you want him to be in the end. Training a dog will also build your relationship and help to strengthen your bond.