Dog Training FAQs
When should I start training my dog or puppy?
You should start training your puppy immediately. Training your puppy is one of the most important aspects of having a dog in your life. Remember, puppies are learning from birth and from every experience they have. It is absolutely crucial that they begin learning the good behaviors from you in a positive and non-intensive manner right off the bat. Training and adult dog that has just come into your life is no different; training starts on day one. The best thing you can do for a dog emotionally adjusting to a new environment is to set up certain expectation right from the start, then more formal obedience training will solidify the bond you have.
Is my dog too old for training?
No. All dogs enjoy the positive interaction of training, and they learn in very similar ways that we do. In fact, it is essential to keep your dog physically and mentally healthy through their lifespan. Exercising the brain with training and learning activity keeps the mind fit just as physical exercise does for the body. There may be some physical limitations to consider when training an older dog and mental cognition may slow a bit as a dog ages, but dogs can learn and form new behaviors throughout their life.
What is the most common mistake owners make when training their dogs?
While most dog owners have nothing but the best intentions when it comes to dog training and having dogs in their lives, we as humans will make mistakes. The most common mistakes people make with their dogs is general lack of knowledge, understanding reinforcement, consistency, and indiscriminate punishment. Knowledge about your dog as a species will help you enormously when it comes to understanding and communicating with your dog. People that are experiencing problems with their dogs or with teaching a dog proper behavior almost always have issue knowing what they are reinforcing, and are either inconsistent in their training or consistent with confusing methods. Indiscriminate punishment stems from lack of knowledge. Far too often out of frustration people will resort to punishment without careful judgment, because it seems to get quick results. This is damaging to the training and the relationship. Fortunately, we can all become educated about dogs, how they learn, what to reinforce, and how to induce the right behavior with minimal correction.
Should the entire family be in on the training sessions?
While it is very important for the entire family to be on the same page when it comes to the training plan, it is not always possible for the entire family to be present for every training session. As long as the primary individuals doing the training are able to pass on the information effectively and see that it is carried out by the entire family then training will still be effective. Ideally all those involved in the training should be present.
Do I need a trainer or is this something I can do on my own?
This really depends on your training experience and knowledge of dog behavior. When it comes to dog training it is always best to get professional guidance. There is a lot of information out there about dogs, from books to TV shows and the web, and while some is great and it is great to bring so much attention to dogs in general, some of the information is subpar and some even dangerous. Professional trainers have expertise in their field, just as a mechanic, doctor, contractor, or lawyer. There are millions of dogs in shelters in this world, most of which are there for behavior problems that come from lack of training that could have been changed. Training is about commitment and responsibility and owners should always seek out the best possible assistance when training their dog.