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The Dos and Don’ts of Dog Training

At A Glance

Looking for a list of the dos and don'ts of dog training to make a dog obey you? Use training techniques like positive reinforcement, behavior correction, verbal and non-verbal cues, consistency, and patience.

Learn how to do it right and avoid pitfalls like losing your temper, prolonging your sessions, or contradicting your reinforcements.

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Last Updated on: Feb 04, 2022

As a pet owner, doting on your dog should be balanced with a healthy dose of discipline. Pampering your dog is fine. But you should know when to put your foot down when it starts acting up like a brat and getting away with its naughty ways.

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Dog with a leash

How Do You Make a Dog Obey You?

Through proper dog training.

Teaching your dog can be a fun experience both for you and your pup if you know how to do it right.

If it becomes a chore that frustrates you, you can’t blame the dog. The trainer should be able to control how the training goes and make it succeed.

You might pause and wonder, “can I train my dog myself?”

The answer is YES.

You can use effecting dog training techniques to do the job. All you have to do is incorporate them into your sessions, and use this time as an opportunity to nurture your bond with your pet.

dog runing

Hone Your Hound

The principle is to make it obey you out of respect, not fear.

A well-trained dog is a source of pride and joy for its owners. Seeing how your dog unlearns munching on shoes or leaving a trail of mess where it goes is priceless. The changes in behavior you see as a result of the training make it worth all your time and effort.

So to help guide you to train your dog like a pro and avoid pitfalls along the way, here are the dos and don’ts of dog training.

Dog Training Do’s

Let’s start our discussion on the dos and don’ts of dog training with the do’s.

Be Its Figure of Authority

You have to show your dog that you are in charge and that you care for it the most.

During training, no one else should command your dog except you to keep its attention undivided and its mind focused. Your dog should clearly recognize you as its master and leader above anyone else.

dog with her owner

Do Avoid Distractions

Keep away from moving objects, other pets, or anything that could shift your canine’s attention from you.

Likewise, you should focus on your dog throughout your training session.

Reward Your Dog Immediately After It Obeys a Task

If you do, your dog will easily associate the reward with the good deed.

This will help retain the association in its mind and reinforce the action that leads to the reward.

Admonish You Dog

Admonish Your Dog Immediately To Correct A Wrong Response

You should also be quick to reprimand your dog’s wrongdoing so it can associate the disciplining and admonishment with its disobedience.

Reward Good Behavior

It is also important to let your dog know that you recognize its good behavior and not only when it obeys specific commands.

dos and don'ts of dog training - tweet

Teach Your Dog Some Fun Tricks

This will help both you and your dog develop a sense of play. And by teaching it some new fun tricks, you help stimulate its mind and give it the opportunity to show off. Believe me, they love the adulation and attention.

Speaking of tricks, here’s a fun fact.

You can teach your dog to walk backward! With extra patience, a couple of treats, a leash, and you guiding it to back up as you take forward steps while facing it, it can gradually learn to walk in reverse.

dog with owner

Show Patience and Be Kind

Your dog may not quickly obey your command, but don’t get upset easily. Some dogs may not do as they’re told quickly. Be patient and give them enough time to respond until they eventually do.

Then repeat the process to strengthen their, learning but don’t overuse the command as this could tax them.

Be kind and understand that your dog is trying its best. Expressing your frustration may only lead to a more delayed response or none at all.

Dogs, like humans, sometimes need a bit of time to digest instructions and react accordingly.

Treat Your Dog With Honesty And Sincerity

Always deliver on your promise. Otherwise, your dog will begin to lose trust in you. Making your dog believe that it will get a reward only to withhold it will make it doubt your actions the next time.

Nothing good comes out of deception. Any good relationship should be based on trust.

dog with rope

Be Consistent

Use the same words or tone of voice when training your dog. This will help you sustain boundaries and the flow of things throughout the training.

Give Commands One At A Time

This will help your dog grasp each of your commands more clearly. Giving it several commands at once could confuse and mix up its responses.

Use Hand Gestures Along With Verbal Cues

Associating hand gestures with verbal cues will help your dog recognize and heed your commands even if its sense of hearing weakens in old age.

And if you experience hearing loss due to old age, you can still communicate with your dog. Teaching your dog verbal and non-verbal communication can benefit you both now and in the future.

training with owner

Enjoy Training Times Together

Bond with your dog before and after your training sessions to reinforce your rapport and nurture your relationship.

And during your training sessions, make your dog feel that you are training it out of love and affection and not out of hostility or frustration.

Keep Track Of Your Dog’s Progress

It would be nice to mark milestones and write down your thoughts to document the experience. You can have a Training My Dog Journal to help you keep a schedule and stay on track.

You can also paste photos of your dog doing tricks in your journal to serve as a memoir of its progress and achievements.


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Dog Training Don’ts

Now we come to the don’ts.

These tips are equally important to help you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your training. Don’t worry, if you make a wrong move, just quickly get back on track and move on. The key is persistence, not perfection.

Before we proceed to the list of don’ts, remember this fun fact as you train your dog:

Dogs are as smart as two-year-old toddlers. Their minds can absorb what they see and hear. They can count and understand as much as 150 words or more. So don’t ever underestimate their capacity to learn.”

dog with a leash

Don’t Lose Your Temper or Yell at Your Dog

We go back to our basic principle. You want your dog to obey you out of respect and affection not out of fear.

If, at some point, you feel upset because your dog fails to meet your expectations, pause and let off steam somewhere your dog can’t see you.

Make it quick and go back to your session feeling more calm and collected.

Don’t Contradict Your Reinforcements

If you do, it will confuse your dog and weaken your influence on it. Have well-defined boundaries and stay consistent with your responses. Reinforcing behaviors you don’t like will make it difficult for your dog to do exactly as you want it to.

So what should you not train your dog to do?

At times, you might not realize that you are reinforcing undesirable behavior. For example, petting your dog while it scatters its toys on the floor when you’ve been trying to discipline it in this area.

Don’t Overextend Your Session Hours

The average time for training is 20 minutes for young dogs. Going beyond this could make your dog lose its attention and interest.

Eventually, as your dog matures, its attention span will increase, and you can have longer training sessions with it.

Don’t Use The Same Location For Your Sessions

You can change locations during training to help your dog associate your commands like ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ with your voice and gestures and not with a specific location.

This way, your dog will obey you when you take it to the park or on a walk.

Don’t End Your Sessions On a Negative Note

Always end each session on a positive note. Commend and give your dog treats as a reward for its participation and progress.

Closing your session with punishment or in an angry tone will make the experience feel unpleasant for both you and your pup. Remember, dog training is an opportunity to nurture your bond, not weaken it.

Don’t Let Someone Else Command Your Dog During Your Training

Be the one in command during training. Do not allow observers to give commands, as this will confuse the dog. It may not know who to listen to. Your dog’s entire focus must be on you and your commands.

loving owner

Now that you know the dos and don’ts of dog training, go ahead, plan, and begin your mentoring.

And don’t rush through the process; savor each moment. Your dog can sense if you’re training it grudgingly based on your attitude. As a pet owner, you act as a parent, and so, whatever skills and tricks your dog can learn reflects on you as its mentor.

A pleasant and successful dog training journey is only possible if you initiate it and get your dog to join the fun. You can also learn some valuable lessons like patience, empathy, and of course, teaching skills from the experience.


Training dog training dog training donts dog training dos

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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.