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Whether you have a puppy that is a blank canvas or an older dog that knows a command or two, training a dog takes patience and persistence. There are several methods to train a dog and we have covered off a few of the top methods for dog training here. What are the top methods? We have reviewed the methods of many dog training professionals, and these are some of the more commonly used ones:

Alpha Dog Training

This is a method that utilizes the pack mentality instinct of your dog to form a relationship where one party is dominant and the other submissive. Dogs see their families as their pack and there is a social hierarchy which is observed by all dogs. If your dog considers itself alpha, then you must teach them to submit to you by respecting you as the alpha human. Some methods use a technique where the dog reads your body language and responds to it. To do this you must project authority and confidence and convey that to your dog. Whether you are entering or leaving a room, eating or walking your dog on a leash, you must do these things first so that your dog understands who the alpha is. When your dog wants to go outside, they must sit on command before you open the door. If they want to eat, then they must wait in a calm manner while you get their food ready for them.

When it comes to alpha training you must not allow your dog to get up on the furniture or your bed. Never crouch down to eye level with your dog because this is a signal that they are equal to you in the relationship. You are the alpha, so that means you are in charge and are dominant. Dominance training is often combined with other methods when it is appropriate, but some trainers believe that this method is out of date because it is said that dogs do not rely on the pack mentality as much now that they are domesticated. Dominance training can ensure that certain behaviours are curbed but this training does not always address the underlying cause of the bad behaviours and it can even cause your dog to become fearful and anxious. The struggle with dominance will be one that is constant and must be reinforced all the time. This can lead a situation that is hard or could even be dangerous for elderly people or for children.

Clicker Training

This type of training works based on similar principals to positive reinforcement. It can really be considered a form of positive reinforcement training because of the way that it is done. Clicker training is where you have a device that you use to create a noise that reinforces a positive behaviour that you want your dog to accomplish. The one major advantage of clicker training is that when the desired behaviour is accomplished the dog knows because you let him know by using the clicker. Using a clicker will help with training your dog to respond to verbal commands and to do other types of behaviours that you want him to. This training works by letting your dog know that when they hear a click it signals that a reward is coming. The dog then starts to associate the click sound with a reward and once that association is formed, you can introduce a verbal command. This is a great way to teach a dog a new trick and it can help them to learn basic commands and then move on to things that are more complicated. Clicker training is not well suited for discouraging certain behaviours, but when you use it alongside other types of training methods, it can ensure that your dog is well-trained and behaves well.

Positive Reinforcement

Dogs tend to repair good behaviours if they are rewarded and that is the theory behind this training. When a dog does a good behaviour, reward him and when he does something that is not good then he is not rewarded or acknowledged. If you want to correct a behaviour, you will do it by removing rewards like toys or treats. You never need to physically punish your dog. Any desired behaviour should be immediately rewarding as soon as it happens, this is how your dog begins to associate the good behaviour with a reward.

Some trainers will use positive reinforcement together with clicker training which lets the dog know that in no uncertain terms that he has completed the expected behaviour. You also need to give direct commands that are one word such as “come”, “sit” and “stay”. To have success with positive reinforcement, you need to be consistent. This means that everyone in the house needs to use the same commands and rewards. The starting point is to reward your dog every time he does something right. Next, you move to only intermittent rewards once the behaviour is more consistent. The only time your dog should be rewarded is when he does something that is good and at that time you will want to give him praise, treats, toys or attention.

When you are training your dog, you want to ensure that you do not overfeed him, so only use small pieces of food as a reward. It is important to teach your dog using one or a combination of these methods. Patience is something that you must demonstrate to have your dog listen to you.

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