Dog Training at Home 101 with Shirin Merchant

Wed, Dec 29, 21

Bringing home a new puppy or a dog can be an exciting yet an overwhelming experience. As pet parents, once we understand the importance of dog training, the fun process of bonding and playing with your pet can start!

Watch Now: 5 Reasons Why You Need to Train Your Dog

With 26 years of experience in dog training and canine behaviour, Shirin Merchant covers everything you need to know about dog training at home:

In this excerpt, you will find: 

  1. Dog training tips to remember before you start 
  2. Importance of using expressions during dog training 
  3. Guide to using positive reinforcement dog training 
  4. Using rewards the right way
  5. 11 Commands you can teach your dog at home

1. Tips to remember before starting your journey

dog hand shake

  • Choose a time to train your dog when they are full of energy and are excited to spend time with you. This timing will be different for each dog. 
  • The training sessions need not be an hour-long session. A twice-a-day, five minute training session does the job too.
  • Dogs have the ability to pick up on our emotions. Hence to ensure they have a nice time, it is important to be in a good mood and be mentally present with them during each session. 
  • Keep your dog's favourite rewards (treats, toys or food) handy. Be a part of the reward by showering your dog with love and encouragement. 
  • The way one views dog training has changed over the years. Training is not just about the cues, it's also a fun game and the best way for your dog to learn something new!

2. Why is using expressions and emotions in dog training necessary?

All dogs are born with a natural ability to read human expressions, body language and voice tonality. During dog training, it is important to not confuse them by mixing your command with a different voice tonality and expressions. 

If you're praising your dog, your face should be happy while your body should be relaxed. When you're dissatisfied, it should be the complete opposite! It is important to emote well so our dogs can associate the training cues with it's intended behaviour.

Watch Now: More on using expressions during training

3. Guide to using positive reinforcement dog training

There are multiple ways of teaching a dog commands. But the question that comes to each pet parents' mind is "How should we train our dogs?"

Over the years, positive reinforcement dog training, also known as reward-based dog training, has become a commonly accepted training method by the experts and pet parents. 

dog sharing love with trainer

Our expert Shirin says, "Dog training methods should be filled with love, kindness and fun.  The methods you use to train your dog should be the ones that build trust. Each thing you say during your session, whether they're positive or negative, has a spill-over effect. Your voice, your body-language and your methods can describe your dog’s relationship with training!"

4. Using rewards the right way

dog training treats

Rewards can be anything your pet desires; dog treats, dog toys or dog food, with the most important one being you forming a bond with them. As your dog slowly learns to understand the said behaviour and the cue, they should be rewarded with a treat or toy. Your loving and encouraging words will make you a part of the reward too. 

If you're using dog treats as rewards, remember to always break them into smaller parts. Smaller treat pieces help your dog chew easily and faster, helping maintain the momentum of the session. It also ensures that your dog's stomach doesn't fill up easily.

Shirin’s Tip: Remember: Do not overfeed your dog with treats during your training session. The rewards should be used to facilitate a stronger relationship with your dog. Hence, you’ll want to be actively involved too.

5. Commands to teach your dog at home

Once we have all the basics covered, we can start with the fun bitteaching the cues!

BASIC CUES

If you do not wish to give your dog advanced training, you can teach them only these five basic cues:

1. The ‘Come When Called’ Command

 2. The ‘No’ Command

 3. The ‘Sit’ Command

 4. The ‘Stay’ Command 

 5. The ‘Lie Down’ Command

ADVANCED CUES

If your dog has mastered the basic commands, they’re all ready for some advanced training!

6. The ‘Shake Hands’ Command  

 7. The ‘Settle or Go to Bed’

 8. The ‘Share or Leave’ Command

 9. Introducing leash or collar

 10. Stop your dog from biting on leash

 11. Stop your dog from jumping

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