How to Get Started With Obedience Training
January just happens to be "Train Your Dog Month". We're not sure if this falls in January due to all those getting dogs for Christmas in December, but nevertheless, it's never a bad time to start training your dog. Not only does it allow you to less stressed at home and in public with them, but it also creates a much-needed structure in your dog's life, as well. Most people who are first-time dog owners have never actually gone through any kind of basic obedience training with dogs, so where are you even supposed to start? Let's go over how to do that.
First, decide whether training will take place in your own home or elsewhere such as training classes, a park, or elsewhere. It's really up to you and your preferences. While some dogs are fine in a group setting for training, others might benefit the solitude of their own home so they can focus.
Next, are you doing 100% of the training or getting help from a pro? If you're partaking in training classes, then that question is already answered. But if you're doing it at home or somewhere else with just your pup, you can still bring in a professional trainer for one on one sessions. Whether you use them for the full length of your obedience training, or just creating that initial structure for both you and your dog, there's really many positives to getting help from a professional dog trainer. Another option is even just taking a single group training class to get those training basics down so you can then take over and complete it.
When working on walking training, it's smart to choose what type of equipment you will be using ahead of time. This can be fully dependent on the dog's current behavior when walking, their strength and what you're comfortable with. Whether you're going with a front clip harness, a gentle lead, prong color, martingale or just a simple flat collar, it's not the equipment's job to train your dog, that is up to you! The equipment is simply there to assist.
It's found that positive reinforcement is extremely more effective than negative reinforcement with training and in everyday situations. Find what your dog reacts to best whether it be treats, toys, a ball or simple verbal recognition and continue with that throughout their training. Hint: Metro Balls® are a great reinforcement tool!
While there is obviously more to the actual training, we hope that we've given you some tools to help you get started! Training can create an unbreakable bond between dog and owner as they go through the journey together.