Written by Gabriel Grace
Standing tall on their four legs, waggling their tail, and captivating a large number of people around the world, dog is believed to have proven their worth of the title of being “a man’s best friend”. Having dogs as a pet has been one of the most popular things, especially in the United States, it is proven by the statistic of number of dogs in the United States from 2000 to 2014. According to Statista, (2012), about 78 million dogs lived in households in the United States as pets, as of 2012. In comparison to the data in 2000 that shows there were used to be only 68 million dogs, this means there have been a significant growth. Compared to other domesticated house pets, dog has grown a rather large number and has become one of the most owned pet. Many people believe that dog gives unconditional love, it understands people emotionally, and it can also be a partner for exercise, resulting people to choose dogs for a companion. Adopting and having a dog is not something people should take lightly. It requires time commitment, money, and many other factors. Dogs also need to be trained. There are three steps to train a dog, starting from getting to know more about the dog, teaching and shaping, and maintaining obedience.
First of all, in order to get to know more about a dog is to pay a close attention to it. Time spent together strengthens a relationship between a dog and its owner. Allow time for a dog to gain its trust on you and it surely will love you by the time passing. Play with them, show them you care. It is said that when one is spending time with the dog, one should be as clear as one can to be able to make the dog understand what one wants to say. Dogs pay a lot of attention to what people do than to what people say, which means people need to express more with physical contacts and gestures to communicate. It is also said that physical contact plays a big role in bonding with a dog. Karen B. London, PhD stated that the way to a dog’s heart is through the stomach, and preparing healthy, tasty food for a dog shows you care. One can choose to cook for the dog or simply provide the best nutrition in the most delicious way possible. One should pay attention to a dog’s likes and dislikes. It is important to know a dog’s preferences in every single thing.
Second, one should do is to teach a dog tricks. Many say that dogs will love the owner for teaching it tricks. Mix it with playing when training a dog, but not forgetting the goal to understand tricks. Many start training their dog about simple commands like sitting down, even in the dog training center. To train a dog a new trick, a treat is needed to help it understand if it is doing right. For instance, to teach a dog to sit down using a treat the owner could follow several steps. The first step is to hold the treat close to its nose before moving the treat up, guiding it to follow the treat, causing the dog to lower its bottom and sit. “Sit,” is the word when the dog is finally in its sitting position. After that, the owner needs to give it a treat as a reward and praise it, showing affection at the same time. According to Juliana Weiss-Roessler (2015), there are five essential commands to teach a dog. There are sit, come, down, stay and leave it. It is said that it is important to repeat them on a daily basis; the owner needs to repeat it a few times every day until the dog mastered it. Another important matter that dog owners may have to face is the dog’s behavior. Behavioral training is needed to train dogs to behave well towards its surroundings. Considered to be a stimulant sensitive species, dogs are always curious of everything that moves before its eyes and it could lead to problems at times. The owner might be faced with several behavioral problems such as excessive barking, biting, or even breaking things. Shaping a dog’s behavior can be done in many different ways. If a method does not work, think of another method. When shaping a dog’s behavior through training, one should focus on the training, do not get distracted by something else. Finish every training time when the dog gives a good behavior.
The third is to maintain a dog’s obedience and setting rules. Obedience training is conducted and begins at the young age of a dog and continues for its whole life. In order to make a dog listen to commands like sit, stay, lie down and more from the owner, obedience training is needed. To maintain a dog’s obedience is to show a dog what is right and what is wrong. For an example, if a dog is barking for a bad reason, owner can start by closing the dog’s mouth gently, but not straightly touch its mouth. Stroke its head to its neck, assuring the dog that everything is under control. The owner can also give it a command to speak as the dog barks in return, not forgetting the treat. Tell it to be quiet after and give it another treat when it is doing right. When a dog is doing wrong, as an owner, one should avoid hitting or even shouting at the dog. Do not even make a motion as if one is about to hit it, also try to avoid speaking in high pitched noise.
It is important for dogs’ owners to understand that dogs have different learning abilities. Instead of trying to teach a dog many hard tricks, one should teach from the smallest steps. Ashley Bennett (2015) stated that dogs have lots of options when it comes to their education. There are many different types of training, depending on the dog’s needs. Some dogs may learn quickly, some may learn slowly, but one is highly recommended not to compare a dog to another dog. The three main steps of how to train a dog above is an advised way to train a dog and achieve a successful training for dog. There will be also a time where a dog decides not to obey to commands. It all comes back to the owner and the dog and the key is communication. If one sets a good goal to grow a great bond with a dog, one will surpass any hardship in training the dog.