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Dogs are, without a doubt, faithful companions, who cannot help but express their happiness and affection for their human friends. In addition, dogs have a surprising ability to learn. all kinds of skills with the appropriate guidelines, which is why they have accompanied us for so long and, nowadays, there are the most varied disciplines, such as tracking, guide, protection dogs…
As you will see in this AnimalWised article, how to train a dog It is a procedure that requires patience and perseverance, but it gives the most gratifying results. Always without forgetting the importance that your animal feels comfortable and motivated during the learning sessions.You may also be interested in: How to train a Shar Pei? Index
- What is dog training?
- The use of positive and negative reinforcement in dogs
- Up to what age can you train a dog?
- How to train a puppy?
- How to train an adult dog?
What is dog training?
When we speak of canine training we refer to the act of teaching a dog to respond in a concrete way to a verbal command and / or gestural signal..
The truth is that there is a very fine line that separates training from the education, since both concepts go hand in hand and can be used as synonyms in some cases erroneously.
Differences between training and educating a dog
Mainly, we can distinguish both terms by the purpose that each one has, because educating a dog has the objective of guiding it during its learning since it is a puppy, so that the dog learns to behave and adapt in different daily situations in a positive way, that is, making them feel safe and calm. Instead, training is intended to teach you how to perform a specific action on command, like "give me the leg ".
However, as we mentioned, many times we confuse both concepts, because, for example, when teaching a dog to "sit " we are instructing it to obey a specific instruction. But in turn, that a dog understands this request, can facilitate coexistence by promoting communication and guidance of your dog.
The use of positive and negative reinforcement in dogs
For this learning process, the knowledge we have acquired about canine learning and cognition is used. Specifically, methods are used to establish a association between a stimulus and a response produced by the animal, through conditioning, while trying to identify the needs and abilities of a dog to promote them.
In order to train an animal, the use of reinforcement. This concept refers to an element that you add and that motivates the animal to carry out learning. Among these reinforcements, we distinguish two types:
- Positive reinforcement: give the animal a stimulus that really motivates it, such as a treat in the form of food, play, words and strokes… When he performs the desired behavior. So, the dog will repeat this action to receive the prize again..
- Negative reinforcement: remove an annoying or aversive stimulus from the animal. For example, stretch the leash against the ground so that it stretches, since, the moment it lies down, you no longer feel the pressure. The use of this reinforcement implies that the dog will repeat the behavior again, because it responds by avoiding or fleeing the stimulus that is unpleasant..
Today, we know the benefits of positive training in establishing a bond between the dog and its human friend. That is, the use of rewards to motivate the dog to learn, instead of forcing him to adopt an appropriate behavior through negative reinforcement.
This second technique it is not recommended, Since despite giving quick results, it does not create a bond of trust with the animal and harms it by forming an insecure character, in addition to developing unwanted or harmful behaviors in the long term..
Up to what age can you train a dog?
Dogs learn throughout his whole life, therefore, there is no age at which it is impossible to train them. Now, it is true that it is not the same to teach new things to a puppy than to an elderly dog, because puppies are in a stage in which they constantly learn from everything that surrounds them. Capacity that, over the years, he decreasing, already an adult dog has more and more established the learning and knowledge of its immediate environment.
For this reason, an adult dog, as it ages, will not be so receptive to new learnings and it will cost you much more. In addition, it will not be the same if it has never been trained, as it will not be familiar with the guidelines or usual training sessions, as a dog would do that has been kept mentally active through this activity from a young age. Therefore, it will be important to attend to the physical and cognitive abilities of the dog if you plan to teach him new things, be patient and maintain a positive and motivating attitude with your dog every time you share time with him.
Of course, for the training to work, it is advisable to read this other article about 15 mistakes when training a dog.
How to train a puppy?
Training a puppy is a most rewarding task you will require patience and perseverance. During this stage, it is very important that you teach your puppy to learn simple instructions, which will be key to being able to communicate correctly with him and, therefore, to attend to basic obedience when he is an adult, for example:
- Come to your call.
- Walking on a leash without pulling.
- Teach him to drop objects.
- Remain seated and / or lying down.
- Give the paw.
In turn, you should also educate redirect behaviors that could be problematic in the future if you don't follow proper guidance, such as inhibiting your bite, learning to relieve yourself outside the home, or helping you feel safe when left alone.
If you don't know what to teach your puppy, here is an article about Things to teach a dog in its first year.
The procedure that you must follow to teach him a new slogan will be the following:
Establish a routine
First, you must plan a routine of sessions in which you will dedicate 100% of the time to teach this slogan. Being a puppy, it is not recommended that you spend more than 10 or 20 minutes, because being small he will get bored and easily distracted, making him learn not to obey.
Spend little time on a daily basis, but making sure that during the session your puppy is motivated and attentive, It will be much more fruitful than if you dedicate a lot of time to it, because it will pass from you, it will become frustrated and it will associate obedience as a negative experience.
Offer him a very valuable prize
You should offer your puppy the award you like the most, only during the training sessions, this will be something really valuable and, therefore, will increase your motivation and attention. For this reason, when you want to teach your puppy something new, it is not advisable to reward him with elements that he has on a daily basis, such as caresses, games or his own feed. The most advisable thing is that perceive the award as something special that is only during the obedience session.
To help you train your dog, you may also be interested in reading this other AnimalWised article about ¿How to teach a dog to obey?
Set simple goals according to your abilities
You cannot expect your puppy to be able to learn an order the first time, but you will have to go little by little indicating the behavior you want him to do through small goals, progressively increasing the difficulty. Otherwise, if you have expectations that he does it right the first time, he will not understand what you want and will get frustrated..
Reward and motivate him constantly
Finally, and related to the previous point, you must reward him with his favorite candy continuously every time you see that he makes the effort and / or is aware of you. If you wait a long time to reward him, he could get tired, associating the session as a situation that generates confusion and stress. Therefore, keeping him constantly motivated will be key for your puppy to feel at ease, form a strong bond with you, and learn to obey you..
Here we teach you ¿What are the best treats for dogs?
You never scold him
The obedience sessions they must be something positive for him to learn through motivation. For this reason, the use of punishment will only generate stress and fear in your puppy, which will not benefit his well-being or his relationship with you. Therefore, to avoid conflicts, it is advisable that whenever you want to educate your puppy you have a positive attitude, that is, if you are not feeling very well emotionally, better leave it for another day.
Make sure he is okay
That your puppy is healthy, that is, with his physical and psychological well-being covered, will be essential before considering educating him. Because, for example, if your puppy does not get enough exercise, it is natural that he is hyperactive during the obedience session, a fact that it will not benefit me being attentive. In the same way, we must ensure that it does not have any ailment or pathology that prevent you from performing an exercise.
How to train an adult dog?
Training in adult dogs differs to a lesser or greater extent from puppies in terms of capabilities. Since, as we have mentioned, dogs as they get older see their learning capacity diminished, although this does not mean that you cannot teach them new things. In fact, training provides benefits for your furry, mainly, keeping your dog mentally active and strengthen your bond.
The objectives that you want to determine with your dog will also be different depending on the purpose for which you propose the training, since generally the basic obedience necessary to live with your dog should have been acquired as a puppy. Now, each dog and circumstances vary in each home, it could be, for example, that you need teach him a basic education if you have adopted your dog as an adult and he is not used to a family lifestyle.
If your dog attends to a basic obedience, you can ask yourself teach him tricks Or, also, you can instruct him in the most varied disciplines, such as smell or agility. However, you should always keep in mind when you want to set a goal what are the real capabilities of your furry and, obviously, their health, because, for example, you cannot ask a dog with joint problems to stand up on its hind legs or to perform agility, as it will end up hurting itself.
The guidelines to take into account will be similar to those for learning with puppies, that is, you must:
- Offer you a valuable prize.
- Set simple goals according to your abilities.
- Reward and motivate him constantly.
- Never use punishment.
- Make sure you have your well-being covered.
Regarding the session planning, adult dogs as a general rule do not have as much energy as puppies, nor are they as easily distracted by their surroundings.
This fact implies that you can dedicate more time to obedience sessions, approximately about 30 minutes, but always paying attention to the fact that your dog remains motivated and not overwhelmed. Ideally, you should end the session shortly before your dog begins to be tired, so that he does not learn that he decides when to stop being attentive, but you indicate when you finish.