Have you ever watched other dogs and were amazed by how smart they are with their tricks? Dogs are naturally brilliant creatures. They can associate signs, words, and signals with behaviors. But teaching dogs how to do this requires a great deal of patience. That’s because they mostly have short attention spans and get distracted easily.
But as long as you stay consistent and determined to train your pup, they’ll be doing tricks in no time. When training dogs, no special skill is required on your end. Anyone can do it, as long as they follow these tips.
Use the food-lure training
Dogs get started on learning tricks through food-lure training. This is when you bring out a treat to entice a dog into following your command. Small treats will motivate your pup to do tasks. All you have to do is bring out the treat, give the command, and move the treat into the direction desired. For example, if you want your pup to twirl, move the treat around in a circular motion. If you want them to sit, holding the treat over the dog’s nose and moving it slowly backward will prompt a sitting position.
Once your dog successfully does the position you commanded, reward them with the treat. This will give them the notion that they will be given treats every time you give them a command. After a couple of tries, your dog will soon begin to understand the words you’re saying and associate it with the right behaviors.
Use secondary reinforcers to phase out of the food-lure training
Although treats are a good reward to give your pup when they follow a command, you don’t want to get stuck in that phase. Over time, you’ll want to have your pup respond to your commands even without the help of treats. You can do this by using secondary reinforcing methods like affectionate pats, recognition, or uttering the phrase “good boy.”
After your dog is able to respond to food-lure and has associated the command with the right behavior, try giving the command without holding any treats. If your dog follows through with the right behavior, give them a pat and recognize their good work. Repeat this every now and then, only giving treats sparingly. This is so that your pup doesn’t get stuck in the food-lure training, and will respond to the command even without the promise of a treat.
Consider training classes
When training your pup, you want to start with only the basics, like sit, stand, roll-over, spin, stay, and other simple tricks. But if you want your dog to learn more advanced tricks and techniques, you should consider taking them to dog training sessions.
It’s true that patience and diligence are enough to enable you to teach your dog tricks on your own. But expert dog trainers would know exactly the response they’re after and how to get the dog to obey. This will be helpful in case you want your pup to learn more advanced tricks or enter them into competitions.
Training a dog requires the devotion of time and energy. As they say, you can’t teach a dog new tricks overnight. But with patience and determination, it’s definitely possible. Take our tips and you’ll be well on your way to training your dog.