Sign in to follow this  
MadCast: crippledcookie

Tips n Ticks for training a dog

Recommended Posts

So I got Lab/pit mix puppy about 5 months ago and she has learned some simple commands. I was just wondering if anyone had some advice or anything to comment. She is not that bad of a dog i would just like to train her better. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What kind of tips and tricks are you looking for, I've trained a dog or two, and currently have a 6 month old king Shepherd.

Edited by MadCast: majorhoward

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards

By far the biggest tip I can give you is BE CONSISTENT. Consistency is key when you're training a dog for behaviors you want to see.

There are two main methods that people will go with training, 1) positive reinforcement and 2) negative reinforcement. Personally, #1 is the best option... in my humble opinion. I'm not saying that punishing a dog isn't necessary or in poor taste, but I feel you get more out of positive reinforcement - by rewarding the good behaviors.

Remember that, at the end of the day, your dog wants to please you... as long as they see you as the alpha/master. Not knowing your dog or having met it, you're going to likely be facing two aspects. The lab side is going to want to be with you 24/7 and will aim to please in every regard. The pit side is going to be a bit more stoic and stubborn... likely more stubborn than anything. Ultimately, long term, you're looking at a pup that will likely grow into a great family dog that will be extremely loyal to you.

Okay, so with that all out of the way... I'm off my soapish box...

 

The first thing I like to do is get the dog used to being on a leash. I'm assuming you have one already since she's been around for a bit now. I'm also assuming that you've taken her on walks and that getting her on a leash isn't too hard. If not, just simply put the leash on her and let her walk around the house and get used to it. Think of it as exposure therapy, hehe. When you move into the training I talk about below, another thing to remember is that you're working with a puppy. Her attention span is very limited. You'll be lucky to initially get 5 minutes where she's focused on what you have to say or are trying to do before you need to take a break for a bit. This is again where consistency is key, Repeat the stuff you're working on a few times a day and every day you can until it starts to stick... and then keep reinforcing it afterwards time to time.

 

Next, you want to get her to focus on you when you request her attention. This will feed into everything from here on out. To do this I prefer to grab some treats, usually something small or something I can break into small parts and isn't their normal food. What you're trying to do is get her to make eye contact with you when you use a key phrase. Something like "Name, focus" or "Watch me, Name." Again, consistency is key, so pick a single phrase and stick to it. When she makes eye contact, reward that. You'll want to get her to learn that when you use this phrase she should be looking to you for what you want her to do. Over time you'll start to wait longer and longer while maintaining the eye contact before you give her the treat. This will help her feel more comfortable and relax when you use this command. Remember that this isn't about establishing dominance so you don't need to glare at her, you just need to make sure she's focused on you. I'll usually start to pair the focus command with a whistle or a clicker (your preference) so you can eventually use either the whistle/clicker or the verbal command to gain their attention.

After this I move into teaching them to sit, or really you can work on it at the same time as focus. I also start to introduce hand gestures at this point. I tend to pair the sit command with a closed fist and my arm raised but bent at the elbow. We're not trying to do a mock salute or anything like that ;). You may, initially, have to help push her butt to the ground. When doing so you need to repeat the verbal command and reward her for sitting. You'll then get her to sit for longer and longer periods before rewarding her, and so on.

Next I move on to lay and the gesture I tend to use is a flat hand and to move it like I want her to lay flat on the ground. At this point you can start to move into trick territory. My two favorites are teaching dogs to shake and to balance a treat on their nose before flipping it up and catching it mid air. 

Other useful things to teach your pup would be to heel. This comes into play when you're walking and the dog starts to pull ahead or pull on the leash. When you tell her to heel, she should move back to walking with her head in line with your leg. Or it can be somewhat different if you prefer her to walk more with her mid section in line with your legs. My personal feeling is that my dog should be following me, thus I prefer the head in line with my legs.

 

All in all, once you get her trained there's nothing more rewarding than being able to whistle for your dog and to simply use hand gestures to have them do what you want. I can completely control my dog by simply getting their attention, often times with just a glance, and then simply moving my hand accordingly. Also, the balance and flip trick always impresses people. My toy poodle will balance on her hind legs with a treat on her nose and do it that way. With my lab I can literally put the treat in her mouth and she will not eat it until I say it is okay. I have no issues leaving food sitting out on a plate at a level the dogs can get to because I know they will not take it unless told that they can. They will even wait for the okay when the baby drops some of her food on the floor as well.

 

Sorry for the novel, hopefully that helps and provides some insight. Hopefully it'll work for you as well!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well, i would be adding more, but Lurama has literally covered everything i would have said. i might stress again though, that positive reinforcement, i believe, is the most effective. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards

1 hour ago, Usefully Useless said:

Positive reinforcement is key. I kept treats in my pockets all time. It's how I potty trained and how I got mine to sit / beg. Just wish I would have trained him to not bark at car doors opening 10 blocks away lmao

 

HAHA yeah my dog doesnt bark really at all thankfully, she does whine so load that my neighbors probably think i am beating her. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My in laws train service dogs, labs she uses positive reinforcement and consistancy.

 

I have a dog now we've taken to trainers, drove everything, and hes still a knuckle head. Hes a mutt.

Had a blackmouth cur that I would say we tastefully negatively reinforced. She was easily the best dog we've ever had. She did everything with us, and went off the leash everywhere. She was a tad defensive of us in our home, was kinda nice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards

You've gotten some great info here, especially from lurama. I also use /r/dogtraining a lot, and it has helped me immensely. I can usually search for specific things and find answers on there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this