Dogs can make fantastic pets, but without proper training, you may find that your dog's behavior is not always be completely predictable. Dog obedience training is a great method to promote a dog's compliance with commands and to eliminate some of that unpredictability. Teaching obedience will allow you to maintain better control of your dog, inside and outside the home, making the interaction between you and your dog much more pleasant.
If you're interested in obedience training for your dog, the first thing to consider is whether you'd like to train your dog by yourself or with a class. If you do your research and understand dog behavior, it is quite possible to train your dog anything from basic commands to more advanced commands by yourself.
People who are just starting out owning a dog may be more interested in a class. In these classes, you will usually still work directly with your dog, but will receive instruction and assistance from an obedience trainer. This helps maintain the bond between an owner and dog, and encourages the dog to respond effectively to its owner instead of only a professional trainer.
Another thing to consider is your training method. Positive reinforcement is one of the most effective methods for training a dog. Instead of punishing the dog for bad behavior, obedience training often relies on rewarding a dog when it complies with a command correctly. The reward, usually a dog treat or toy, is a good way to let a dog know it has performed a desired request, and it becomes more likely to repeat that behavior given a particular command in order to receive the reward.
Clicker training is considered a very effective means of teaching a dog using positive reinforcement. A clicker is a small handheld device that makes a clicking noise. As soon as a dog performs a command as desired, the trainer will click and then offer a reward. Over time, this teaches the dog that a click means a reward is coming.
One of the benefits of using a clicker is that it provides a dog with immediate feedback regarding its behavior. The immediate feedback is crucial in teaching your dog precisely which behavior is the desired one. Your dog will know immediately when it has reacted in the requested way, and will be more likely to reproduce that particular behavior given the preceding command.
Clicker training also helps your dog understand precisely what you want from it. The dog learns that any behaviors between the completion of the task and the delivery of the reward are not the behaviors being encouraged. Removing this ambiguity can help speed up the learning process considerably.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is that dog obedience training requires patience. While positive reinforcement is effective, and using a clicker can certainly facilitate the process, a dog cannot understand you like another person would. Your dog may perform some incorrect behaviors until it understands precisely what you want. Approaching the lessons with persistence and positivity will speed things along and make the process more enjoyable for both you and your dog.