When your dog seems to be settling in nicely to the new home, and he is showing evidence of good behavior with the house rules, the training can extend to other areas, such as obedience and travel training. These will be the elements that make your dog pleasant company in public, a reliable asset to the family, and a low-maintenance companion on trips. Dogs who are poorly trained are often neglected, since working with them is tedious and trying to control their rambunctious behavior in public makes them a nuisance to have along. Do your dog the greatest service by putting effort into training him to be responsive, obedient and well-behaved. That way he will be able to join in on all the fun and family outings.
Obedience training refers to the spoken commands or movements that a dog learns to recognize and obey. Your dog will have to regard you as the pack leader, the dominant authority in the home, or training will be very difficult. If the dog recognizes you as the master, he will be much more inclined to submit and respond to you.
Some of the most common commands are works like “Sit” or “Stay” but can extend to more complex instructions, such as training your dog in universal commands and other languages. Training should happen in short spurts so that your dog stays alert and responsive, in sessions no longer than 15-20 minutes daily. Some professional trainers practice with the dogs right before dinner time, so that the pooch will associate training with the reward of a delicious meal.
These commands refer to the common spoken words that instruct your dog, such as “stay” “sit” “speak” “off” “down” “fetch” or “quiet.” These are the foundational instructions that make a dog a well-behaved and trustworthy pet. Commands can be taught through repetition, and positive affirmation with treats and praise. A dog instinctively will continue with actions that give him rewards, and will avoid actions that do not. For example, when a dog jumps up on someone, the purpose is to get their attention. If the good thing (attention) is removed or brings the opposite of what they want, the dog will stop. If someone ignores the dog when he jumps up, or the person says “off” and puts their feet down, then the dog will begin to learn the acceptable behavior. This is particularly effective if attention and praise and a treat is given to the dog the moment they sit still.
Since dogs learn by association, many owners find training items like shock collars, or shock fences and barriers, or barking control sound devices to be helpful methods of training. Sound control devices work by making unpleasant beeping noises that are inaudible to human ears, but make trespassing very unpleasant for dogs. These pet deterrent patches can be hooked up to couches, stairs, or floors that detect puppy paws and begin making loud noises that make the pooch want to run away in a hurry. Similarly, shock collars work for owners who want to alert their dog not to run too far away from home, or to stay away from a certain area. Though these tools may seem unkind to the pet, they not harmful, and prove very affective if done consistently.
Some commands must be taught through actions followed by words, rather than the inverse. For example, “heel” is a command where owners are supposed to use a choke chain, to train their dogs on the daily walk. Once a dog has been walked with just the tension-release that occurs on the choke chain whenever it pulls back, the dog will realize the connection. If he feels pressure on his neck whenever he steps ahead of you, or veers off to the side, he will do so less often. When your dog seems familiar with this situation, start to use the word “heel” when he pulls back. As he becomes more responsive, start walking in an unpredictable way, changing speeds, and turning unexpectedly to train your dog to stay watchful and attentive to your every step. This is one example of an action command, where the owner physically shows the dog what is expected of him.
These kinds of commands do not rely on spoke words, but in signing and hand motions to signify what you need your dog to do. There are specific moves, hand signs, and gestures which communicate the instruction. This is effective for dogs who suffer from deafness, or are not familiar with the language you are commanding in. It is also a good option for war dogs, police dogs, or other special operations training, when command needs to be given silently for safety. This kind of training is more complex, and unless paired with the original spoken commands, can be quite difficult to learn, and should be given plenty of time.
Some owners teach their dogs commands in other languages like German. This helps your dog distinguish between the instructions meant for him, as opposed to your daily remarks. If you say “sit” when your child gets up from the table, it lessens the power of the command given to your dog. When you say “Setzen” your dog will know you are talking to him, and will not confuse the term with other things you say. It will also keep strangers from being able to exert mastery over your dog, unless they too are familiar with the commands you have been giving him.
Enlist the professionals
If training your dog is not something you have time to devote to yourself, hire a trainer to help ensure that your dog is well behaved and responsive to commands.
Training your dog to travel
Crate training is an important first step of getting your dog to travel well. The good news is, if a dog has a well balanced life full of walking, training, playing and eating, he is going to require significant down-time as well. Some pups might enjoy lounging on a dog mat or plush pillow, but one of the best ways to teach your pet to be an easy-going traveler, is to help him grow an appreciation for his crate or dog carrier. By helping your dog to understand that his crate is a safe place, he will be much happier to sit inside during any transportation. A happy pup means less whimpering and barking from the carrier.
When it comes to taking trips, dogs usually tend to be up for any adventure, as long as they are with the owners they love. However, dogs are most calm on road trips, if they are made accustomed to any new place where they will have to spend a good amount of time. Therefore, before a lengthy trip in the car, prepare your dog by letting him explore the vehicle while the engine is off. Then let him explore the vehicle when the engine is running, so that the noise and vibrations will not alarm him. Once he is comfortable, bring his crate in the car and let him sit in it on short drives. With a slow integration process and repetition, your dog will be more relaxed on car rides, and taking the whole crew to grandma’s house won’t feel like such a strain!