You see a reel on Instagram of a dog fetching a soda can for his hooman and then you look at your pooch and wonder what it’d take him to do the same for you. Guess what? Some treats and some training. Teaching a dog some tricks is not just about getting likes on social media. When trained well, your dog can not only be the Robin to your Batman, but also keep himself out of trouble.

Now, we are not asking you to go all martial on him, but a few common commands such as “sit”, “shake hands”, “stay” are basic manners, and must be taught to every dog. Teaching a few extra tricks or commands like “play dead”, “take it”, “leave it”, or “ring the bell” would also keep your dog focused and exercise his brain cells.

The basics

To train your dog, remember CAR - Cue, Action, Reward. You give a cue (as in a word or gesture), which the dog follows up with an action, and then gets rewarded with a treat. Another thing to remember here to reward instantly, otherwise the dog might be left confused about why he is receiving that treat.

If possible, get a clicker – an audio cue – other than your voice to “catch” good behavior. So, when your dog hears a click, he gets to know that he did okay and if he continues doing good, then treats aren’t far.

Also, get lots of high-protein, small-sized treats.

Responding to simple commands

  1. If the dog isn’t looking at you, ignore.

  2. As soon as he does, click and say his name.

  3. Offer a treat. Repeat is as many times as required until he starts to respond to you calling out his name.

 

This same procedure could be followed for “sit”, stand”, “stay”, and “down” – wait for him to do that action naturally. When he does, click and speak out the ‘cue’, and treat him.

Fun fact: You could also use the same training sequence to “park” your dog (poop/eliminate) at a designated spot every day. Now, that’s handy!

Asking him to come to you

This is a lifesaver. A clicker is not needed here.

  1. Sit beside your dog and say the cue – “Come, Donna!” – and give her a treat. Do this multiple times a day.

  2. Sit across the room and say the cue again, until the dog comes to you. Then, you give the treat. Once the dog learns this, level it up.

  3. Go to another room and call out the dog’s name. Try doing the same when the dog is busy with something else, like chewing a stuffy.

Common mistakes to avoid

  1. Using dog kibble.

  2. Being stingy with the treats. Bring in the best stuff – chicken, cheese, ham, whatever your dog loves.

  3. Doing 2-3 repetitions of one activity and moving on to the next.

  4. Having long training sessions.

  5. Berating the dog when confused. Don’t be a Scrooge in the appreciation department.

  6. Training in public with too many distractions.

  7. Not reinforcing previous tricks. Keep bringing up tricks taught in previous sessions for revision to make it almost like muscle memory.

Over to you

Training a dog is easy. But some dog breeds take longer to train and must be dealt with patience and love. Hiring a trainer is always an option. However, we see it as a great bonding experience for both of you – something you do to grow together. So, try it yourself first and then, see what’s best for you and your pooch.

Enjoy this video Created by "Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution" Channel

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