In-Home Dog Education and Training

Dog education can be done within the home which can save a lot of money and time going to a dog trainer. If you learn about dogs and how they think, you can develop skills and abilities as well as any dog whisperer. If you learn some simple skills such as using rewards and effective commands, you can teach your dog obedience skills and maybe even a few tricks.

A Different Kind of Mind

The dog mind works in a different way than the human mind. The best dog education works with the dog's mind rather than trying to change it. A dog has a very poor short-term memory and works entirely on association. So in training, it's important to focus on creating positive associations to you and to desired behaviors as well as addressing problem behaviors in the immediate. If more than 10 to 20 seconds goes by and you try to scold for a bad behavior, the dog won't understand what the scolding is about. He'll merely create a negative association to you and the situation.

Two Basic Premises for Effective Dog Training

There are two basic ideas to keep in mind while training your dog at home. The first involves establishing yourself as the alpha. Once you do this, any training becomes much easier. Without it, it's very difficult if not impossible to control your dog's behavior. In a dog pack in the wild, there has to be an alpha. Until a dog asserts himself as an alpha, the other dogs are anxious and will try to assert themselves as the alpha.

It's no different in your home. Your dog considers the family the pack. You and the other family members need to make it clear to the dog that you are in charge. You do this with love but firmness and establishing clear boundaries. Some examples of ways to do this include allowing the dog to eat only when you have already eaten and in a separate place with a dog dish. You can also let the dog know that his place is on his bed on the floor. He can visit you up on your bed if you give the command to come up, but not at any other time.

The other basic premise involves using rewards to create positive association versus using punishment. Rewarding desired behaviors and setting your dog up for success are key to creating a positive association to you and the desired behavior. When an unwanted behavior appears, interrupt it the way an alpha would. The alpha dog is never abusive or punitive. But he uses short sounds and an assertive yet calm stance to interrupt a behavior.

One Primary Home Training Skill

There are 2 skills to master for in-home dog education. The first involves mastering the art of simple commands. A dog understands language the way a young child does. The simpler and clearer the better. A command should be no more than 2 words. Commands should be consistent for each time you want the desired behavior. If you tell a dog, "no bark" one time he's barking and then "be quiet" another time, he won't know what you're talking about.