Many dog trainers agree that there are few truly stubborn pets. Oftentimes, a “stubborn” pet that does not listen or catch on quickly simply needs a restructured training plan that is better suited for his or her personality.
If you’re attempting to train a stubborn dog at home, try these tips to help ease the burden and lessen the frustration you and your pooch might be feeling.
Start Slowly and Have Fun
If your dog isn’t having fun, he won’t be engaged or want to participate. Start slowly by keeping training sessions short. Even five to ten minute sessions multiple times a day will help stimulate your pup and allow him to learn without getting too fatigued or bored.
When learning new commands, incorporate familiar ones in between. This may help ease your pup’s frustration and give him (and you) a sense of mastery while tackling trickier tasks.
Reward him frequently, even for small accomplishments. Consistent positive reinforcement goes a long way in encouraging long-lasting desired behavior.
Always Be Consistent
Most importantly, don’t send mixed signals. If you forbid your dog from jumping on you when you get home from work, but your spouse or children encourage it, puppy won’t learn right from wrong. Ensure your entire household has the same expectations for Fido and works together on his training.
Dogs rely heavily on visual cues. Verbal cues are also helpful, but big, fluid hand motions will help your furry friend learn more quickly.
Make sure you and other family members are using the same gestures for specific commands. Some pet parents practice hand motions in the mirror to ensure consistency.
Refrain From Punishment
When you find your pooch misbehaving, redirect him to a desired behavior and reward him for listening. Punishment can cause fear, aggression, anxiety and ultimately weaken the bond you share. Furthermore, it may lead to a lack of trust and ultimately have the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.
Positive reinforcement is significantly more effective. Moreover, a dog that enjoys your company and trusts you is more likely to willingly perform well and be compliant. Punishment can cause an increase in undesired behavior as it leads to an overall decline in your relationship
Select High-Value Training Treats
This may sound obvious, but rewarding your dog with high-value treats throughout the training process works wonders, and you don’t always have to use the same incentives.
Consider making a chart with your dog’s top five favorite delights. Belly rubs? Cooked chicken? Dog biscuits? Carrots? Peanut butter? Fetch? A favorite toy?
Rotating through your furry friend’s favorite delicacies and activities will help keep things interesting and motivate him to accomplish the next task so he can be rewarded with one of his favorite prizes.
Seek Help If Needed
Sometimes, it seems you have tried everything and are at the end of your rope. If this is the case, we encourage you to seek professional help. Trainers are certified to work with your dog and effectively manage his unique personality.
No dog is hopeless or too stubborn to ever change. Finding the right help can make a dramatic difference. If you are unsure who to call, start by asking your veterinarian for recommendations on dog trainers and/or behaviorists in your area.
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