“What is the big deal about army dogs anyway?” If this is a question that’s crossed your mind before, you’re probably in the right place. Here, we will talk about 5 particular things you need to know about army dog training, which will answer the burning question- is army dog training any different from normal dog training?
Army Dog Training: The Big Whoop
What is the process of army dog training? Is it specifically for dogs in the army? Is this kind of training reserved for limited dog breeds? What distinguishes a normally-trained dog from an army trained dog? Well, all valid questions, for the record. But let’s start with the basics: army dog training is very much like regular dog training, except a notch higher. It requires a much higher level of sophisticated training, more discipline, and energy to keep up with them. It is also better suited for hyperactive dogs- or so it’s said! But let’s get one thing straight: it is no piece of cake. If you’ve ever trained a dog before, you know the level of patience and consistency it requires. Whatever you felt then, army dog training is twice that amount. That said, fret not, for it is not as daunting as it sounds (thanks to the word “army” in it).
Army Dog Training: Is It For My Dog?
Army dog training does not discriminate based on dog breed. However, the commonality between most army trained dog breeds cannot be ignored: they are most likely Pit Bulls, Belgian Malinois, or German Shepherds. But that is mostly because these dogs have very high play drives, making this kind of training suitable for them simply because they can keep up with the fast pace. Taking up army dog training for your dog could be challenging, but why not take up a fun challenge during these distressing times? Setting high standards for your dog and pulling it off successfully is not only good for your dog: it reflects well on you as a trainer!
Five Things You Need To Know About Army Dog Training
It’s just as taxing as normal dog training
If you thought your dog needed to enroll in the military to get army dog trained, you thought wrong. Even with army dog training, you follow the same approach: starting from basic commands like sit, down, heel, and stay. You work your way up from it quicker. An army dog training approach would also involve long hours of training as opposed to normal dog training. The intriguing thing about army dog training is the use of verbal AND gestural cues. If you find your dog responding well to verbal commands, throw in some hand signals to see how fast he/she is picking it up. This gives you a good mix of commands whilst sharpening their minds!
Generalizing Commands Is KEY
After you’ve noticed your dog mastering the basic commands (and slightly tougher gestures), it’s time to introduce generalization. This is a very effective method of army dog training that is brought in right after to help build your dog’s concentration power. Use the same command under varying circumstances. For instance, if you’re used to throwing a ball and asking your dog to fetch it, see if he’ll do the same with a pen, using the same command. The key here is to be patient with your dog!
Reaction to Unexpected Stimuli
Looks like your dog has gotten the basics down: what next? It’s time to introduce some distractions. This is a test of sorts, so remember to keep calm. Throw in a few distractions to your mix of commands and gestures to see if they pick up on it proficiently. This external stimulus could be a sound, smell, or visual object. That said, don’t bring them into an environment where they feel threatened (which goes without saying, especially if you’re a pet parent).
Use Positive Reinforcements Efficiently
Appreciate all wins: little and big! Your dog is going through army dog training, the least you can do is cheer her/him on! Since the level of training is more daunting, make sure you appreciate the value of higher achievements correctly. For instance, if you’re dog is a sucker for the liver, reward them with the liver for a great or first-time achievement, as opposed to a smaller win, which would depreciate the value of the reinforcement!
Socializing Plays An Important Role
Believe it or not, army dog training involves socializing: wherein your dog is brought into new environments with other dog breeds to see how they respond. Why you’re wondering? It is important to build up your dog’s confidence by helping them socialize. Contrary to popular belief, army dog training is not all about isolation and working on sophisticated commands and gestures. Find out how well your dog works around strangers- a huge part of army dog training!
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