2

How To Train Your Dog (Beginner Friendly)

Why should I train my dog?​

Are you having trouble training your dog or puppy? Do they run around and completely destroy your house and furniture? Or maybe they just don't listen to you at all. Maybe you don't have the money to spend thousands on dog training classes. This guide will teach you how to train your dog that even a beginner can do it!

Well, you're not alone, many of us have the same problem as you and maybe even worse. I'll teach you guys everything you need to know about basic dog/puppy training.

Before we start, I'd like you guys to stick with me through the end. I assure you that it is definitely possible to train your dog/puppy. If you have failed multiple times, its okay, its all part of the process. I've failed a lot too but I never gave up, and I hope you don't as well.

More...

Introduction to Dog Training

Having a dog is long and fun journey, they'll be with you for the rest of their life. You two are basically soul mates now. But first, you need to teach your dog his boundaries, like in a real relationship. For that purpose, you need to teach him to obey you.

By teaching your dog to obey you or follow your commands, you're making life easier for both yourself and your dog. 

You might think it's hard to train your dog. But it's as simple as counting 1,2,3.

  • Good behavior gets rewarded.
  • Bad behavior gets corrected.
​"​Dogs like to obey. It gives them security."
 - James Herriot

Rewarding your dog is pretty easy, here are some ways you can reward him:

  • Give him a praise.
  • Give him a treat.
  • Pet him.

Be careful not to go overboard with the treats, they're meant to be a reward, not a bribe.

Dog Training Basics

Basic Dog Training

Basic Dog Training

Dog training is the process of teaching your dog to display certain desired action or behaviors in a specific situation.

​In simple terms, its basically teaching your dog to obey you.

Dogs are animals who lives in a pack in the wild, canines have natural instincts that favor training. By living with us "Humans", their instincts gets revealed as a desire to please the pack leader, which is the handler. The handler can be anyone working with the dog at the time.

Most dogs live with people like you and me, despite their purpose. So we need train them to behave in a way that makes them fun and safe to have around for both you and his safety.

They must be trained in order for them to learn basic obedience because they can't figure out on their own.

Training your dog isn't actually what it's about. But rather training you on how to train your dog. Your dog have their own natural instinct reaction to certain action, and you can use that to train him.

This can be as simple as the fact that your dog will tend to repeat their behavior or action for which he got rewarded for. But in most cases of "problem dogs", the owner is actually rewarding his dog for bad behavior without any knowledge.

Although you can send your dog to a training school/class, you still must learn what your dog have learned and learn to reinforce it to train him at home. ​

​At the end of this, I'll help you decide if extra classes are necessary for you or not.

How Dog Training works

Most of the time, training revolves around giving your dog consequences for his action, hoping it will influence your dog's behavior in the future.

There are 4 types of consequences under the Operant conditioning ("Instrumental Conditioning")

How does operant conditioning work

Share this Image On Your Site

Reinforcement (Increase Behavior).

  • Positive reinforcement adds something to a situation to increase the frequency of the behavior again. (e.g. Giving your dog a treat when he sits.)
  • Negative reinforcement removes something from a situation to increase the frequency of the behavior again. (e.g. Releasing the tension of a tight training collar when your dog stops pulling on the leash.)

Punishment (Decrease Behavior)

  • Positive punishment adds something to a situation to decrease the frequency of the behavior again. (e.g. Growling at your dog for misbehaving.)
  • Negative punishment removes something from a situation to decrease the frequency of the behavior again. (e.g. Taking away your dog’s toy for misbehaving.)

Nowadays most trainers say they use “Positive Training Methods”, which is a different meaning from operant conditioning. “Positive Training Methods” usually means to prefer using reward as a training method to increase your dog’s good behavior.

A good dog trainer should have knowledge on all 4 methods, whether he/she can implement the operant conditioning terminology on your dogs will tell you a lot about the dog trainer. Your dog trainer should be able to assess the appropriate method for your dog, the handler, the breed depending on the situation.

House Training

What is House training? House training is the process of teaching your pets to excrete/eliminate outside the house or in special places.

House Training

House Training

One of the most confusing aspects of dog training is house training but it’s also the most important. The best way to succeed with house training is to use your dog’s own nature to help you.

Dogs by instinct are clean animals and like to sleep in a clean area. If you teach your dog to excrete on a grass or gravel, they’ll tend to look for those places to do their business.

Set up a training area, remember to choose a small and confined area. Kitchen, garage or a bathroom are some good choices. Crates can work with puppies or other small dogs, but for larger dogs, crates can be uncomfortable and too confining.

House training your dog requires you to spend time with your dog and play with him, this is also where your dog will eat and sleep. Put together a comfortable bed for your dog, or buy a dog bed. You check out my bed reviews here.

At first, your dog might excrete in the area, but once they figure out that is there sleeping and eating area, they’ll stop. You can start moving the bed around the house when your dog has figured out that bed is for sleeping.

​Establish a Toilet Area

Now you need to decide a toilet area for your dog. This is likely to be outside the house. Remember that the toilet area needs to be easily accessible for your dog so that they can go whenever they need to. In the beginning, you have to go with your dog so you can reward him for good behavior.

Don’t forget to set a feeding schedule for your dog. If you keep track of your dogs eating schedule, you will start figuring out the time your dog needs to use the toilet. Making it easier for you to guide your dog to the toilet area.

Crate Training

What is Crate training? Crate training is the process of teaching your pet to accept the crate as a safe and natural place for him.

Crate Training

Crate Training

A crate can be a valuable training tool, while you are potty training your dog or house training him. The crate also provides your dog a sense of security, safety, and protection while training your puppy or a new dog about its own and house boundaries.

At first glance, you may think that the crate looks like a jail cell. Well, maybe it does a little. But when used effectively, it’s your dog’s natural den.

You would want to place the crate in a place where your dog can see his surrounding environment and family members, a kitchen or living room are a good place.

Don’t place the crate in a dry area or in direct sunlight, place it somewhere dry and cool.

Introduce the crate slowly to your dog, do not lock him inside immediately. Place him inside the crate for a short period of time, around 10 minutes, then you can gradually increase the time.

Your dog needs time to adapt being in the crate. You should never crate him for more than 30 minutes when teaching him to use the crate.

Try placing soft bedding, treats, a bowl of water and his favorite toy inside the crate to encourage your dog to like his crate.

​It’s totally normal for your dog to make a fuss and bark while inside the crate. Dogs are intelligent, don’t let him get your attention by making a fuss. Don’t give him any attention and let him out only when he behaves or settles down. We’re applying the operant conditioning method here from earlier.

The only time you should let your dog out of the crate when training him is when you think your dog has to use the toilet.

The most important point you should never use a crate as a punishment or he’ll start hating the crate.

The crate is supposed to be his den, giving him safety & protection. Also, you should never leave your dogs in the crate for too long day after day.

Take a second and imagine yourself in his shoes, not too pleasant right?

Clicker Training

What is Clicker training? Clicker training is one of the most popular ways to train your dog using rewards. While clicker training may not be for every dog, it can work wonders for training many dogs

Clicker Training

Clicker Training

​In Clicker Training, you’ll need a toy that produces a loud clicking sound. You should always follow a click with a treat immediately. Even if it was a mistake, we want your dog to associate the click with a treat.

When your dog does something good, you sound the click and give him a treat immediately. Sooner or later, your dog will learn to respond to the sound of the clicker alone.

Never use the clicker to use it to get your dog’s attention. The clicker’s job is to tell your dog that the action he’s doing now is earning him the treat.​

Dog Rewards

You can give your dog a reinforcer that he’ll find it rewarding as a positive reinforcement training. For example, food treats, chew toys, tug toys, or ever your attention.

The more your dog likes reinforcer, the more your dog will put more effort to get the reinforcer.

In order to make a toy into a more powerful positive reinforcer for good behavior, some trainers like to teach your dog to strongly desire a specific toy.

This method called “Prey drive” is also commonly used in the training of Police Service dogs and Narcotics Detection dogs.

Sometimes, giving food or treats a reward to your dog can lead to an overweight dog. Now we don’t want that as it’s unhealthy for the dog, the solution to this is rather simple.

Just take away some food out of your dog’s daily meal.

A Happy Dog

Always remember that a bored dog will cause you problems and headaches! If you fail to keep your dog’s mind stimulated, your dog will likely to find something to stimulate his mind himself, which is bad news for you.​

happy dog

A happy dog

Keeping your dog mentally stimulated every day will make him and you happy because a happy dog doesn’t cause problems.

Here’s how you can keep your dog mentally stimulated:

  • Schedule, this may seem a bit weird but it’s not. Have a regular schedule for feeding time, walks, grooming, play time, etc. Dogs love schedule.
  • Work, your dogs like to do chores. You can teach your dog to do some basic house chores. E.g. picking up the trash, closing the doors, or even teaching him to bring in the newspaper!
  • Toys, there are a lot of cool toys that challenges your dog brain. E.g. OurPets Smarter Interactive IQ Treat Ball Dog Toy, a plastic ball that releases treats when it rolls in a specific direction.
  • Exercises, dogs are active so they need lots of exercises. If you can merge an exercise with another activity such as playing, “Hide & Seek”, or maybe just do some agility exercise which is even better.
  • Obedience training, do some obedience training with your dog. It will require him to use his brain to think. If your dog knows that he’ll be praises and rewarded for making the right choice and corrected for making the wrong choice, it will teach your dog a sense of responsibility and will need him to use his brain.

Final Thoughts

So far, we learned the basics of dog training and how it works. We also learned what house training, crate training and clicker training are. You should also be able to apply operant conditioning method and train your dogs much more effectively. 

But if your dog still has obvious behavioral problems, you should consider dog classes before a serious behavioral problem develop. You might overlook minor problems such as jumping around, chewing stuff, or excessive barking which can be a serious problem in the future.

I hope this has helped you and gave you insight on how to train your dog or puppy. If it did comment down below and feel free to ask me any questions you might have.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!

P.S. ​Did you ever have trouble training a dog? Or was it plain sailing for you? 

Allison
 

Allison here from Pupfection! I was fostering homeless dogs for more than 2 years and currently traveling. And now here to share my tricks, tips, and reviews related to dogs and puppies on Pupfection.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Carol Allen - November 4, 2016

I adopted a 6 mo. old chocolate lab about 6 months ago. I feel she must have been abused, bbut no one knows. She is afraid of everything: any noise, traffic on the road, any movements, noises I can’t even hear. She wants to hide anywhere: behind furniture, in grass or weeds. under the deck. She poops in her crate. I believe she has lived in a crate all her life. She yanks on leash & I am 83 yrs old & so far I have been strong enough to hold her but I know when she gets mature she will be stronger. I fell in love with her when I first saw her at the pound. They said she was “a little shy” but didn’t say what her problem really was. I took her back after 10 days then cried all day & went back & got her. She is definitely mine now. She doesn’t bark at all. I have to take on leash & then shut the door of the room to get her to eat. I am giving her Bachs Recovery Remedy but I can’t say it is helping. I hired a trainer & have had 6 sessions but can’t see a lot of difference. The trainer tried to get me to adopt another dog for her company but I can’t afford it Or handle that. Is there anything you can tell me to help?

Reply
    Allison - November 5, 2016

    Hi Carol, she may have some self-esteem issues. Try to challenge her physically and mentally by playing games with her or doing some obstacle courses. Exposing her to different kinds of environment will help her a lot. Start with small goals and then proceed to bigger goals. Building self-esteem is a long process so you have to be patient. If you know anyone who has a dog, try meeting up and see how your dog behaves.

    Reply

Leave a Reply: