There is no magic to training a dog. I strongly believe … “There are no Bad Dogs; There are only BAD Owners!”
Any dog can be trained, no matter the age or the breed. It is up to the owner to take the effort and put in the work necessary for training a dog and providing it with an appropriate environment.
Here are 5 virtues one needs to successfully train a dog:
1. Patience – this is probably the most important one. Training a dog requires lots of it. Some skills the dog will learn in a few tries and some will take time. Often the dog will have a bad day and will not perform as you expect. It is up to the owner/trainer to be patient and take the time necessary for the dog to understand what’s expected.
2. Ability to praise – I’ve seen many people not being able to praise the dog properly. Often times men are restrained with their praise and women over praise their dog. It is important to show the dog that you are happy and excited with their achievement (even it is a small one or an obvious one … like puppy taking a poop outside). However, getting over excited and over praising the dog can be as counterproductive as failing to praise the dog.
3. Ability to learn / Open mind – no matter how long you’ve been doing something, there is always something new to learn or someone who knows better than you do! Always be willing to learn a new way to train/interact with your dog and be ready to change something you’ve thought was the “right” way.
4. Control your emotions – Dogs feed off their owners emotions. If you are upset/angry, the dog will feel it and will share that tension with you. Your state of mind will affect your bond with the dog. It might be better not to train the dog if you are upset or angry and cannot put it out of your mind. I have seen many times when the owner takes out their frustration on the dog. It does not resolve the problem and only ruins the bond and the experience with your canine friend/partner.
5. Consistency – Last, but not least. Consistency in training will ensure that the dog stays on course. Many people make a mistake thinking that dogs think like people. However, dogs are very black in white in their thinking. If the dog was not allowed to be on the couch on Monday, but it is allowed on the couch on Tuesday, it will assume that it is always allowed to be on the couch. They do not make the conditional connection. Changing the rules all the time is not fair to the dog. It has no way of knowing what your rational is. Thus, in training, it is important to be consistent with your rules and conditions. Stick to the same rules and the dog will understand what is expected and will behave and react accordingly.
Train and walk your dog and you will experience a bond and friendship unlike any other!