How to train your dog with technology

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Owning a dog is great. But, knowing how to train your dog is a different story. Lucky for all of us dog owners, technology and dog training go hand in hand to keep your dog (and you) happier and healthier.

  • Dogs are pretty clever. In fact, the average dog can learn around 165 different words. In 2011, one border collie showed he knew 1,022 words!
  • The most popular name for male dogs is Max with Charlie in a close second. For girls, it’s Bella followed by Lucy.
  • Ever wondered what makes up your mutt? You can get a dog DNA test, just like you can for your own ancestry.

There’s a reason dog is man’s best friend; they cute and cuddly, love to have fun, and are eager to please. Although they’re merely animals, for most of us, they’re members of the family. For that reason, making sure they’re trained and happy is of the utmost importance. For the modern dog owner, there are plenty of tech-inspired toys, devices, and gadgets to help you train your dog.

Train your dog right

The foundation of all successful dog training is a well-trained owner. Likewise, a well-trained owner is one who puts in the time to learn how a dog communicates and can interpret effectively. Positive reinforcement is regarded as the best way to train your best friend.

The term positive reinforcement in dog training means that the dog learns by receiving rewards for good behaviors. Things like shock collars, prong collars, and any other aversive technique cause the dog pain and can actually produce a variety of unwanted behavior (including bites).

train your dog

A well-trained dog is a happy dog (and owner) © Ashley Timms Photography

Using positive reinforcement is simple: when your dog does something good, tell him and then reward him. Some people say “good boy!” and others use a clicker to signal a good behavior. Likewise, rewards come in a wide variety. For some dogs, something like kibble will make them happy. Other dogs are motivated by higher value rewards, such as cheese or deli meat. But, some dogs much prefer some scratches or a tennis ball as their reward. Regardless, the reward should always come right after you acknowledge the good behavior.

With positive reinforcement, you can train your dog in so many ways and to do so many things. Repeating the behavior-mark-reward pattern strengthens your dog’s abilities every time.

train your dog

Oskar the Poser – © Ashley Timms Photography

Using his nose

At the moment, I’m training my dog, Oskar, with a doorbell. When he wants to come back inside after being out, he tends to scratch at the screen door. Unfortunately, the first few times he scratched at the screen, I quickly ran over to let him in to stop any further damage. But, as positive reinforcement shows us, rewarding this behavior lead to recurring behavior and has inspired me to train him out of it. I chose the Mighty Paw Dog Smart Bell as it’s specifically designed for dogs. Attaching just outside the door, all it takes is a simple boop (scientific term) of his nose to activate. Like a traditional wireless doorbell, this triggers a chime from the receiver inside my house.

Did you know? There are 211 breeds recognized by the Kennel Club.

To ensure Oskar could learn, I started by presenting the doorbell to him from my hand. When he sniffed, I marked the good behavior and then gave him a treat. Then, I waited until he pressed his nose onto the doorbell, marked, and rewarded. I continued this pattern until he was able to fully press the doorbell with his nose. Once mastered, I attached the doorbell to the exterior of my house and let him indoors for a treat only after he booped the doorbell with his nose.

train your dog

World’s silliest dog – © Ashley Timms Photography

Luckily, the doorbell itself creates a sound similar to a clicker that we use in training. This means that Oskar hears confirmation of his boop which also gives me time to get to the door, let him in, and then reward him. While he’s not 100% just yet, Oskar is really good at using the doorbell. This technology gives me the option to let him roam around outside and come in when he pleases while also eliminating the unwanted behavior of scratching the screen. He’s happy getting rewarded and I’m happy with my intact screen door.

train your dog

Small dogs love training, too! – © Ashley Timms Photography

Which toys are best for dogs?

In addition to giving them exercise, dog’s need to have mental stimulation. Puzzle toys filled with treats require them to use their brains to work out solutions. These fun toys use innovation and technology to keep your dog on his toes and always thinking.

train your dog

Playing is a great form of enrichment – © Ashley Timms Photography

How to keep your dog clean

Just like any other new interaction, dogs need time to get used to being cleaned with devices and tools. Using positive reinforcement training, you can reward your dog for being around the cleaning tools and slowly work up to using them. Luckily, these make it easy to get the job done while keeping man’s best friend as happy as can be.
Cleaning

Grooming

  • Mira-Pet Ultrasound Dog Toothbrush: With the right introduction with positive reinforcement, cleaning your dog’s teeth is easier than ever. Although it looks like a typical electric toothbrush, this speciality dog toothbrush doesn’t vibrate or make any noise. It uses powerful ultrasound technology to blast away build-up while keeping your dog relaxed.
  • RUBOLD Dog Dematting Tool: This tool is specifically designed to offer thorough brushing and dematting while also protecting your dog’s skin. The Dematting Tool has two sides to handle even the most stubborn matted fur. It works on anything from coarse to curly to long to wiry.

ICYMI:Four service dogs got to meet Pluto at Disneyland!

How to train your dog when you’re not home

Of course, you can’t be home all the time playing with Fido (wouldn’t that be nice?). In that case, you can have a camera to monitor your dog while you’re out. Of course, you could use a simple home security camera, or you can go for something dog-specific. These clever cameras also dish out treats so you can continue to reward good behavior even when you’re out:

train your dog

Better than a dog's life – © Ashley Timms Photography

What if I don’t own a dog?

Can’t have a dog in your current situation? Technology has a solution for that, too. With recent innovation, pet robots haven’t been overlooked. Sony came out with aibo, an adorable robot that looks and acts like a puppy. He even has those big, joyful puppy dog eyes to melt your heart.

For the dog owners out there, in what ways do you incorporate technology and innovation into your dog’s life?

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe now.

Meet Ashley Timms

Ashley Timms is the Editor in Chief at Gadget Flow where she gets to write about the most incredible products in the world. When she’s not writing, she’s producing fine art dog photography.

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