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Dog Training What's Your Dog's Learning Style?

Updated on January 17, 2018
Dog Ma profile image

Alison has been practicing Animal Communication for over twelve years. She has a certificate from The Gurney Institute.

It is always easier to ride a horse in the direction it is already going. Roy Rogers

If you have kids you know they each have their own learning style. They all see the world in their own special way. Well dogs are no different they learn through different methods. If you understand how your dog learns then you will have better luck training them. Dogs really love to learn and as long as they know what is expected from them they want to please. Dogs generally pick things up quickly once they know what you want,so use these six tips below to help you understand your pet's learning style.

1. The most important doggie basic is routine. Between you and you pet you can set up a basic routine for your pup to follow. Listen to your dog's input as well as add your own rules. Dogs establish trust through having a routine, so make sure your pup has regular bathroom breaks, feeding times, walk times and play times. Setting up a daily routine helps your pet understand what is expected from them and when. It helps them fit into the family unit and it's a great way to help them succeed in basic obedience training. Also you can see where your dog may be having trouble learning.

2. Dogs need regular times to relieve themselves. Always make sure your dog has relieved himself before a training session. If your pet has accidents in the house you are not getting them outside enough and It's not your dog's fault. it's yours. It is cruel to not get your dog outside for regular bathroom breaks and expect them to hold it. Most dogs do not like to soil the areas where they sleep, eat or play. When toilet training you may have to get up extra early to make sure they don't have an accident. Before you know it they will be on a schedule. Don’t ever scold your pet for having an accident in the house. This can lead to submissive peeing. It is up to you to make sure they get out. They usually have to go first thing in the morning, after each meal and last thing before bed. A crate can help if you are house training a puppy. As your pup picks up toilet training they will learn to let you know when they have to go out.

3. Most dogs need a minimum or forty-five minutes of exercise a day. A good walk is very helpful before a training session. It gives them a chance to get the zooms out before they are asked to focus and perform. Get into a regular routine of fetch in the back yard or a twenty minute walk in the morning and then thirty minutes again in the afternoon. As a trainer I can tell you a dog's behavior is directly related to how much exercise they get. An exercised dog is less likely to chew, fence run, bark, dig and destroy your property. You would never expect your child to sit and behave without an outlet for their energy. You shouldn't not expect it from your dog either.

4. Exercise you dog's mind as well as their body. Fetch and tug are good ways for your pet to use their brain. Another good brain teaser is hide and seek. Either hide treats around the house and let your pet find them or take them out for a hike and let them find you. Never go too far and as soon as you see them looking for you call them. This is an effortless way to teach recall. Pet stores also offer an array of puzzles to keep your pup's mind occupied. Agility is a fun activity you can share with you dog. Not every dog likes the same activities so find the one that suits your dog.

5. Give your dog attention. As you do your dog will reveal behaviors they have picked up either from you or from others. Every time I go to my sister's house before I do anything else I have to take her dog out and walk around the property. I don't know when he trained me to do that, but he expects it every time I visit. Bonding with your dog is very important. As you bond with them you are training them and they are training you. You are learning to trust and respect each other. Also by doing bonding exercises like fetch or tug you can see how well your pup focuses, a good first step to training.

6. Just as important as exercise is proper nutrition. A dog can't learn if their body isn't being fed the proper nutrients. I believe in home-cooking or raw diets. It’s a great way to give your dog all the nutrients they need because proper nutrition comes when you give your dog a variety of foods. To train the mind you must feed the mind.

7. I have never and will never train “an outside dog”. Dogs belong in the house interacting with the family. Their psyche is set up to serve man and be part of a human pack. They can’t do this when they are left outside away from the family. Most of their training comes from the socialization they get from being around you and your family. The only thing I can say to this is, if you think you want an outside dog, maybe you are more suited to have a different sort of pet.

8. Owning a dog is a two-way street and I would say before you try to train your dog learn about the breed you've selected. They may have deeply ingrained instincts that you won't be able to train out of them. The easy fix here is to find what they are good at and sign them up for classes. Dogs are more than willing to learn to be a part of the family, but they need things from you as well. Don’t get an Australian Shepherd and expect it to be a lap dog. Certain breeds need a fair amount of exercise. Get a dog that fits into your family unit.

9. You catch more flies with honey and the same thing goes for your dog. Dogs like children learn from positive reinforcement. This means that you will get a better response if you tell your pup what you want them to do instead of what you don’t want them to do. A good example is instead of “don’t go in the road.” it is better to phrase it as “stay on the sidewalk or stay with me.” Try to speak in the positive instead of the negative. And be happy when asking your dog to do things. Make it seem like play.

10. Please don’t ever scold your dog by hitting them or yelling at them. Dogs don’t understand cross words. All you will do is scare them and make them either wet themselves with fright or cause them to lie down in frustration. Find times when your dog is behaving well and praise them for it. I deal with many foster dogs. A lot of them come to me without being house trained. I have found that if I take them out and wait for them to pee and then praise them for it they potty train a lot faster. Never, never, never... scold a dog for going potty in the house. Accidents are always your fault. You are the adult, human with opposing thumbs. It is up to you to make sure they get enough bathroom breaks during the day. If this means you go out eight times in one day then so be it. You wanted a dog pet. Please be patient enough to train them.

11. Never train a puppy younger than four months of age. That is like trying to train a two month old baby. You would never yell at a two month old baby and you should never yell at a puppy. If you have a puppy treat them as if you would a baby. They need a feeding and potty schedule and lots of love and attention. Positive reinforcement can go a log way.

Get the above items in place before moving onto a training schedule. To do otherwise is like teaching a child multiplication before you teach them addition. Once you have the basics in place training will be a breeze. Your dog wants to learn. They just need a platform from which to operate.

Training Recipe: A great reward for a job well done

Turkey Lasagna

1 ¼ cup ground turkey

1 ½ cup lasagna noodles

1/8 cup carrots

1/8 cup tomatoes

1/8 cup green beans

1 tbps cottage cheese

Cook all ingredients, except cottage cheese. In bowl mix turkey, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, put cooked lasagna on bottom of your dog’s food bowl, layer turkey mixture next and then put cottage cheese on top. Then wait for the puppy licks.


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    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 5 years ago from Northeastern United States

      This hub sure came at the right time for me. Our 12 week old puppy has still been pottying in the house more than I'd like. I haven't been scolding her, realizing that it was my fault that I hadn't had her out enough. Thank you for confirming that I was right. Nice to know that she's really too young, still, to know. She actually has been learning quickly, which is exciting. She actually asked to go out once. A breakthrough! Yippee!

      Voted up and useful.


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