Anyone can train a dog; all it takes is a little knowledge and a lot of patience. There are different methods of training because not all dogs learn the same way. There are also different types of training, whether it is for behavior modification or simple commands. Many rescue dogs need behavior modification as well as training for basic commands. If you get a puppy from a healthy beginning, training can include shaping behavior, as opposed to behavior modification, and basic commands.
Regardless of what type of training your dog needs, it is important to be clear, concise and consistent. The words you choose to use for the commands are not as important, because a dog can learn to associate any word with an action. When training your dog, choose a single word as opposed to a phrase; your dog will learn faster this way. Each dog is unique in its reward motivation. Many dogs respond well with a small treat but others may respond better with a toy.
Training your dog should be centered around positive reinforcement. The old-school method of yelling ‘no’ has thankfully been tossed to the side. Dogs do not respond well to raised voices, nor do they respond very well to the word ‘no.’ Why is this? According to Veronica Stilwell, a world famous dog trainer from Britain, when using a corrective sound, a short, loud, quick noise reaches their brain faster and clearer. Training and speaking to your dog should be done in soft, even tones. This is especially important in behavior modification, when your dog may already be extra sensitive.
Set your dog up to succeed. Whether it is behavior modification, basic commands or more advanced commands, training in short bursts allows your dog to remain attentive. Dogs can become distracted easily and a rescue dog may still not trust you, so keep your training sessions short and always end on a positive note. Training your dog can be fun for the both of you. Just remember to be clear, concise and consistent.