If you desire for your dog to have the obedience akin to a military dog, then you must demand higher standards not just from your dog, but also from yourself as the trainer. Many people see the great training, the military dogs have and they wish that theirs could also attain those levels and even though it is possible, you must know the types of training the dogs are subjected to, and most importantly, you must be willing to take your time and provide the training. It is not going to be an easy journey, but completely doable if you will take your time and master the patience.
Training Your Dog Like a Military Working Dog
Below is a brief look at what you need to provide your dog with a military working dog training-:
Take charge and be the leader
If you want your dog to behave like the military training dogs, then the first thing you must do is to take charge and be the leader your dog expects to see in you. A dog is a very intelligent animal. They know they are supposed to serve you and they are always ready to do that, if you will provide them with the right directions. If you act like an absolute clown when you are with them, then they will not help, but think that indeed you are an absolute clown.
A good way to visualize how your dog would like to see you is to imagine you have been asked to give a presentation to the executives in your company. Your dog wants to see you take charge and lead just as you would do if you were in the room with the executives. But if you are timid, always having a sloppy posture and you don’t show any interest in leading the dog and giving the commands you want them to follow, then you will never be able to train your dog like the military dogs.
Reinforce good behaviors to replace the bad habits
Just like human beings, your dog will be happy every time you reward them for doing something good. This is how you manage to reinforce good behaviors to replace the bad habits. Just like us, dogs also have currency, only that theirs is not in terms of dollars. The rewards you can give your dog include affection, treats, and chasing balls.
As the owner or the trainer, it is imperative to know that things that motivate the dog. For example, most dogs love treats, but you may find some that would rather chase a tennis ball than enjoying the treats. Every time you are training the dog and they do the desired thing, you should give them a reward to encourage them and to reinforce the good behavior they just did. You need to reinforce in their minds that good behavior equals a reward and once they get that, they will be more interested in doing the desired thing so that they can continue to get rewarded.
Learn to speak with your body
Dogs are nonverbal, hence, shouting at them or giving them compliments by the manner of speech may not be very effective. As such, you should learn to actually speak with them with your body. To begin with, you should always don a posture that will make them have confidence in you and trust you more. Then every time they do something worth commending, simply get down to their level and give them a pat on the head to demonstrate that you approve of what they have just done.
Then again, dogs are highly social creatures and they will appreciate more if they live in groups. When you decide to join a dog, so that you can form a small team or group, you will be responding directly to its elementary nature and their social needs. As such, you manage to create a bond that leads to trust between the two of you, making them to always heed your commands and always be eager to serve you better every time.
Know when to punish the dog
In as much as you may desire to replace the bad behaviors with the good ones, there are certain occasions when you have to discourage a bad behavior through punishment, but it is vital for you to know when to punish since this may lead to a revolt by the dog, thus making the training more difficult and less effective. When punishing your dog, it ought to be direct and to the point. They must understand that instead of getting rewarded for a good behavior, they are getting punished for a wrong behavior they just exhibited.
As a trainer keen on providing the dog with military working dog training, you already know what motivates and what upsets them. Every time they show a bad behavior, simply pick of the things that will hurt their feelings. However, the overall training should always be positive, and you should avoid losing your mind because your dog did something very small.
Exercise the Dog
Diet and exercise are vital components in a dog’s mental and physical health and their ability to train effectively. Just like university students, sitting in class while attending lectures the whole, then eating fast foods before going back home will definitely lead to poor mental and physical health. To get the most out of your dog, they must exercise regularly. With regular exercise, the dog will become mentally alert and will be more prepared to learn and train every day. Additionally, regular training will ensure they don’t suffer from common problems like cabin fever which might affect their training results.
Choose the right places for training and be consistent
To get great results in training your dog like a military working dog, it is important to choose the right spots for training and be very consistent with the training routine. A good place to train your dog is where there will be just you and your dog, and not places like your living room or crowded public places. With proper choice of training grounds, you will eliminate a lot of distractions and enjoy highly engaging training sessions. Once you get the right spot, you must make the dog understand that it is your preferred training ground, and this is done through consistency. When you go to train on the same place every day, the dog will know the moment you get there that it is time to train.
Be patient with yourself and with the dog
The worst thing you should never do when trying to provide your dog with military working training is to lose your cool or turn the heat on your dog when you are having a bad day. You must never overreact and always avoid the temptation to take it out on your dog. This will do nothing, but cause stress and anxiety which will not be beneficial in any way as far as the dog training is concerned.
It is also important to realize that training your dog takes time, and if you want to get the results seen with the military dogs, then you must understand it is a gradual process which is not going to happen overnight, and this is where patience comes in.
Same as with human beings, the learning capability of dogs is not the same. Some will learn quickly, while others will need more repetitions and more time to grasp what you are trying to teach them. To make the process easier, you must ensure consistency, and always rewarding them for good performance. With time, the dog will begin to behave just as you want, provided that you remain positive and patient. Always know that the dogs just want to please you, so be gentle with them and allow them time to learn and please you.
Effective dog training features a lot of repetition. There is no specific number as to how many times you will repeat or practice something before the dog finally catches it. There are several factors that come into play when talking about a dog’s learning capabilities, and the experts recommend that for better results, you should train your dog for a minimum of four hours every week. When this is broken down into days, then it implies that you should train the dog for at least thirty minutes every single day.
Socialize the dog
Other than just having a good relationship with your dog, socializing the dog will lead to it building more confidence in addition to giving them the capabilities to work in different environments. It will also make it easy for them to feel comfortable when they have to work with strangers or other dogs.
Teach the basic obedience commands
US Army dogs are taught to learn basic commands of sit, down, heel and stay with both verbal cues as well as hand signs. It then follows that you should also teach your dog about these basic commands if you want to train them like the military working dogs.