There are a lot of options when it comes to training a dog but today, many people are choosing to take on the responsibility themselves. First, it’s so much cheaper than hiring a personal dog trainer. Some owners are also wary of trainers unless they’ve been personally recommended by a trusted source. Perhaps most importantly, it can be an important part of the bonding experience for you and your new little friend. These tips will help train your emotional support animal.
If you are reading this, you are most likely new to dog training, and perhaps new to dogs completely! It’s possible you don’t have any of the tools necessary to train your pet yourself, but there are a few important items you should invest in prior to training your dog. These are items that make the process easier and you would be making a mistake to start without them.
The first is a clicker. You may have seen people using these before – they are small, usually handheld devices that make a clicking sound when pressed. Trainers use them to let the dog know when they are doing something correctly. After a while, your dog will begin to make the association between the sound and appropriate, expected behavior. Clickers are not expensive, and some leashes even come with built in clickers.
You’ll also need a training leash, which is different from a run of the mill leash you’d go on a walk with. A training leash will have a little slack to it but for dogs just starting out, about 4 feet is probably ideal. You want to make sure your dog stays nearby and is aware of the leash and how you lead him with it. You have probably seen a lot of people using retractable leashes with their dogs. While these are fine for trained dogs who have proven to be reliable, you don’t want to use a leash like this with an untrained dog because it simply gives them too much freedom to wander.
In addition to the training leash, a long line leash is something you will want to incorporate as well. This leash allows you to practice commands like sending your dog off a distance and then telling him to come back. With a long line leash, you can safely practice commands that require the dog to move around more, without risking him being completely off leash.
Finally, whenever training your dog you’ll want to have a good amount of treats on hand. We mentioned before the importance of positive reinforcement, and there’s probably nothing that works better for this than treats. Treats are good not only for rewarding good behavior, but also for making sure your dog is paying close attention to you. We promise that it won’t take long for your dog to understand that following directions will get him a reward.
For more advanced training, there are a lot of other tools and techniques that are available. But for the average dog owner trying to train a house pet, these tools, along with a little love and patience, can go a long way.