Dog Training made easy!
Let me start off by saying that I am not a professional trainer! I do, however, research every OB command and theory I can. The resources I refer to are linked on the left hand navigation.
Are You A Pack Leader?
The first – and most important – aspect of dog training, whether it be a pet, or working dog, is “pack leadership” on your part! Being a confident, firm-yet-fair leader of your dog pack is so important because, believe it or not, your dog has instincts that drive his life. And those instincts are 1,000s of years old. Watch a few National Geographic shows on wolf packs, and you’ll see so many similarities between those wild animals and your cute little fluffy!
Understanding Pack Leadership in a dog pack will enable you to communicate and understand your canine companion effectively!
Let’s break down the dog training articles by category. Please select a category below to view the dog training articles for that specific training area.
- Basic Obedience Training Articles
- Advanced Obedience Training Articles
- Schutzhund – Personal Protection Training Articles
- Teaching The Gib Laut (Speak!)
- Building “Toy” or “Ball” Drive
- Dog Parks
- Outdoor Obedience Training
But before you venture off into those article pages, please read this “prerequisite” on becoming a pack leader:
photo credit: German Shepherd CentralYou see, while teaching your German Shepherd basic commands will allow you to have a well behaved animal, it goes much further than that. You see, dogs view us us as part of their pack. And in our homes – just as in the wild – there is one leader in the pack, called the Alpha Leader. And if you ever want to maintain leadership, you will set yourself up as the Pack Leader.
Love And Respect Are Two Different Things
You see, dogs love their owners. That’s a given, right? But did you know that your dog can love you and not respect you? And therein lies the problem. You can get your dog to go pretty far in basic training, but you’ll never get to that area where you have 101% control all the time, if you are not respected by your canine pal.
Yes, a dog will (for the most part) show unconditional love to his owner, but how far will that love take the relationship? If we’re taking about a Mini Pinscher as your lapdog, then you’ll get a small animal running your home. And that’s not good, but what about a 90 to 100lbs German Shepherd that you rely on for companionship (probably too big to fit on your lap?) and protection? Will your K9 defend your life – when it comes down to him or you?
Of course, a GSD respecting you will not automatically make it a trained protection dog, but that respect for his “pack leader” will carry his natural drive to that point, and the rest is up to your diligence in your protection / schutzhund / ring sport training.
So, since I’ve carried you all to the brink of being off-topic, let me ask you all this question: “How does one become the alpha dog?”
Becoming The Pack Leader
Becoming the pack leader in your home is a very straight forward process. Basically, it entails you overseeing your dogs daily schedule, and making sure your pooch lives by the NILIF rule. NILIF stands for “Nothing In Life Is Free”, and that means you make your dog work for praise, food, play, everything. If you feed your dog (of course you do!), then when you place his food bowl down, you make sure he sits and waits until released to eat. Same for play, affection, etc. And don’t worry if you haven’t taught the sitz (sit in German) command yet, that’ll come very easily.
Another area to promote yourself as alpha dog is at doorways and gates, and on walks. Let’s talk about doorways first. Make sure you are the one going through doors and gates first. You see, the pack leader leads the pack, while subordinates follow. So when your dog rushes past you out the door, what’s happening is the reinforcing of him being the leader. You are now the follower. See how that works?
What I did to train this technique is pretty simple. (Ah – I bet you thought we’d never get to real training, huh?) When at the door or gate, I make my dogs sit, and I go through first. Then I release them with, “OK!” and they follow. Don’t worry if you’ve not trained the sitz (sit) yet. You see, before my dogs could sit on command, I used the following technique, then followed up with sitz. What I did (and you can do) is to have the dog with me at the door, then slowly open it – and once the dog heads out, I swiftly close the door, saying at the exact instant, “Nein!” (Nein means no in German). Repeat the oversize until you are able to open the door wide. You’ll find your pooch anticipating you walking out first. Positive training techniques can be applied as well, such as giving a food reward for the dog waiting.
Anyway, if you just keep the mind frame always set in the forefront of, “I’m the one in charge, and my dog will do as I say, when I say it, and will follow me, not the other way around.”, you’re going to be a great pack leader.
Be A Fair And Confident Leader
Just remember to always be fair and consistent with your dog. They will respect you for it.
So now that we have the fundamentals, let’s look at our article choices once again:
A Few Simple Steps
Most dogs, no matter their eventual advanced training or intended purpose, live with people and therefore must behave in a way that makes them pleasant to be around, keeps them safe, and provides for the safety of other people and pets. Dogs do not figure out basic obedience on their own; they must be trained.
The hardest part of training is communicating with the dog in a humane way that he understands. However, the underlying principle of all communication is simple: reward positive behavior while ignoring or correcting negative behavior.
Basic pet obedience training usually consists of 5 behaviors:
- Recall (“come” or “here”)
- Close (or loose-leash walking)
The recall command is arguably the most important of all training commands. It is critical to never punish a dog if they respond to a recall. Punishing a dog upon recall quickly teaches the dog that if he returns he will be punished. If the dog requires a correction, the handler should go to the dog – the dog should not be asked to come and then punished. The dog will attribute the punishment to whatever behavior he was doing directly before receiving it, and if that behavior was responding (correctly) to a recall, then the handler has just inadvertently taught the dog to run away from the recall command.
Corrections should never include harmful physical force or violence. Using force while training is controversial and should not be taken lightly, because even if it ends the behavior, it will also teach the dog to fear the handler to a certain degree. It is up to the handler to decide what amount of force (if any) is appropriate. However, the standard used by most trainers is the minimum amount necessary to inhibit the unwanted behavior. A common technique is to quickly jerk an attached collar and “lead” (fancy term for a leash, usually short, 4′ is good) as a consequence for ignoring a command. (i.e., Sparky is jumping up on a guest, say “off” if he’s already jumped up, or if you see he’s thinking about it say, “down” and if the command is ignored then “correct” Sparky by “snapping” the lead to make his collar rattle.)
Taken from URL: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_training#Basic_training