Great Dogs are Both Born and Made
A great household and hunting companion can provide both you and the dog with years of fun and a relationship that’s better than you have with most people. Just like any great relationship, though, it doesn’t happen without a bit of work. Even the best dog in the world needs to be matched up with the right owner and the right methods to reach his full potential. If you’re willing to put in the effort, here are five tips that can definitely help you along the path to getting and training the perfect dog for you.
Choose the Right Dog
The best way to make sure you have a long happy relationship with your dog is to find one that matches your lifestyle needs the best. You want to find a dog that lives comfortably how you live, hunts how you like to hunt and plays how you like to play. Do your research to find a breed that suits you and then do your research on breeders to find a reputable breeder that produces a dog that will match your desires. This is the first step in the process and the most important.
Get to Know Your Dog First
Even if you do your research and get just the dog you want every dog has his own style and personality. Before you jump right into training of any sort, build some trust in the relationship with your dog and figure out what type of training he responds to the best. Some dogs will struggle under correction and other dogs will only thrive under lots of it. Match your methods to the individual needs of your dog and you’ll get better results consistently.
Establish Yourself as the Alpha
Dogs are pack animals and they’re constantly evaluating their position in the pack in relationship to new pack members. As far as your dog is concerned, the pack includes you and the rest of your family members. It’s important your dog is made to understand very early on that you are the pack leader and he is expected and required to follow your lead. Done right, this will result in a dog that takes direction and correction readily and happily.
Be Patient and Stay Consistent
No matter what behavior you’re trying to train into your dog, it’s going to take time and repetition to get it down. It’s also much more difficult to go back and fix undesirable behavior once it’s been developed through improper or rushed training. You’ll find you get much better result through frequent training sessions in short durations to keep your dog engaged until he’s fully comfortable in what you want him to do. Then, once you think he’s got it, continue to reinforce it so he gets it every time before you put him through it under the stress of hunting or competition.
Praise Them for Their Work
Your dog wants to please you and the best way to let him know he has is to provide positive reinforcement. The easiest form of reinforcement you can use anytime and anywhere is to simply praise him when he exhibits the behavior you desire. Just a couple words in a happy tone of voice and a scratch behind the ear is plenty of encouragement to get your dog feeling rewarded for doing what you want.
Keep Up the Good Work
While these tips are more about creating the right mindset for training than training itself, they provide the foundation on which good training is built. Not all trainers agree on the exact same methods but, regardless of your specific training methods, you’ll be off to a good start if you take these steps in seeking out your perfect canine match.