How do I train my pet to use ramps?
Would my dog or cat even use it?
This is a very common question that we get and if I were looking for a ramp for my dog I would want to know the same thing. Training your dog to use a dog ramp is probably the simplest form of dog training you will ever do and is much easier than teaching your dog to “sit” most of the time. Why?
Because you are about to find out that your dog will like using it almost right away! Dogs love walking up ramps onto couches and beds because it makes them feel “bigger” in the household pack and more like you. As a matter of fact, we have never sold a ramp to anyone that had a dog that would not use it. Some dogs did not want to use it right away because either they did not trust it, was afraid of it, or whatever. After a day or two though it was off to the races. If you find your dog will not use the dog ramp right away after it is set up, the following section is for you.
Dog Ramp Training 101
Ok, maybe not 101 steps but worth 102!
Training your dog to use a dog ramp is extremely simple. If you can show your dog that it is nothing to be afraid of and even something to be rewarded for using they will be happy and even very proud to go up and down it. For them it is all fun, for you, it is even funnier to watch, not to mention it could save you an expensive vet bill down the road. There are a couple of different ways to get your dog used to the ramp and we will start with treats!
Treats (baiting …lol).
We all know that our dogs will do just about anything for their favorite treats and where the “treat” goes, the dog almost always follows. Get your dog’s favorite treat or food out. Give them one for sitting or for something that they are familiar with to start which will get them mouth-watering and ready for some ramp action. Now, get the dog to follow the treat up to the bottom of the ramp and get their feet (at least front feet) onto the ramp. Now give them the treat and reward him or them with showers of praise.
Tap on the floor of the ramp (not in the way you point at a pee spot in the carpet) and then praise them again. Now try and get them to follow the treat a little farther up the ramp if not all the way up. Give the treat again even if they go no further than the first attempt and praise. Do this a couple of times a day the first day and you may just get them on it that day. The praise is very important though because this shows your dog that by getting onto this new object that you are very, very pleased with them for doing it and all dogs want nothing more than to please their owners. Repeat this several times a day on days 1, 2, and beyond if you need to go that far.
(If you have a medium to large dog stick with Step #1 as it will work within a few more days)
It is very rare that someone makes it to step two but it does happen. If you have a small dog and you are on day 3 pick him or her up and set them on the top or middle of the ramp and make sure you have a treat handy. Stay right there with them so they feel secure and do not panic. Right away as soon as you set them on the ramp reward them with a treat and lots of praise just for being on it. Use another treat to coax them down the ramp and then shower him or her with praises.
Generally, dogs that are sluggish to use a ramp right away will go down it more willingly than going up it and this can be the ice breaker for you. After you successfully get the dog to go down the ramp (they will) a few times, they will trust that this new “thing” (ramp) is sturdy and go up it for you. Once they trust it and see that it is something that is really good in your eyes to do, they will automatically start using it all the time and really strut their stuff a lot of times while doing it.
A Note On Dog Training In General
Please Read This:
Every dog is different and has his or her own personality, the speed at which they learn, and sometimes the speed at which they want to learn. Some dogs learn faster than others and some may not learn quite as fast (just like people). One thing is guaranteed though when it comes to training a dog to do anything, they respond best to lots of praise and treats (rewards).
I bet you have seen or known someone who has a dog that is always getting screamed at and getting in trouble for peeing on the floor or whatever it may be. I would almost bet you do not see this dog owner showing the dog the right things to do and rewarding the dog for doing it. Many times a dog will continue to do a bad thing because he or she does not know or understand what the right thing to do is. Why???
Because he or she was not shown in a way that they can understand. Every dog will remember something they get a treat or reward for on a regular basis. For example, your dog may have picked up on the fact that if he or she sits next to the table while you are eating that you will eventually give them a treat (otherwise they would not be there) and to them, this means they are doing a good thing because you are rewarding for doing it.
Or maybe if they stand on their hind legs or bark that you give them a treat while eating so they bark, whine and stand on their hind legs the whole time you eat. This is something that your dog has picked up on that you reward them for without you having to teach them anything. I have been to households that absolutely will not give their dog treats while they are eating and guess what?
Their dog is asleep on the couch and could care less when dinner is served. This is true! Now think about this, why would your dog want to pee on the floor if he or she can go outside and pee in the grass and immediately receive their favorite treat and be treated like a king or queen?
You see, after rewarding your dog time after time for a period of days or weeks (depending on the difficulty of what you are teaching) they pick up on what they are getting rewarded for and a “habit” is formed. BINGO! You have “trained” your dog to do something and a habit is formed over time. From that point on reward your dog with praise every time they do what you want them to do (even if just peeing outside) and that habit will remain for life.
One Final Note On Dog Training
Food for thought! An entire meal for that matter.
If you are out to train your dog to become a world-class trickster, an athlete in doggie sports, or something extremely difficult there is more to these types of training than mentioned above. For this more advanced type of thing, you will need assistance from a trained professional to help your dog to be the best he or she can be. Most of us just want to have world-class companions (and clowns) which is an easy-to-reach goal for any dog with a little training. Any and every dog will respond to treats and praise for basic types of training and some quicker than others.
It really makes me sad (and mad) to see someone beating their dog and yelling at them all the time for doing wrong. You will notice that these same people do not take the time and effort to do any training at all and most of the time these people themselves can’t be taught and are set in their ways. They bought a puppy because it was so cute, they leave it to its own will and they beat it all the time because it does things that are unacceptable.
You can always tell a dog that has been through this because it will approach you like it is a piece of dirt with no self-esteem, with extreme caution and sorrow almost expecting you to beat it. Not only does this dog think that it has done something wrong, it now thinks he or she is downright bad and no good just like an abused child for that matter. Ever seen a dog like this? Go to your local pound or shelter.
That is where these dogs normally end up because their owner gets so fed up with their dog peeing in the floor or whatever it may be that they cannot take it anymore. “This dog is worthless!” , “This dog is stupid!” “This dog just does not learn his or her lesson”. 99 out of 100 times it is not the case (even if it is there is no excuse for that behavior). Did you know there have been many dogs adopted from a shelter, pound, or rescue that have gone on to become top athletes in agility along with other sports, top trackers for police along with search and rescues, and excelled in just a wide variety of different things from obedience to tricksters?
It makes you wonder what kind of idiots owned these highly intelligent animals before they mistreated them and got rid of them. I can see it now, I am going to have to open a rant and rave section for this type of thing because just thinking about it gets my blood boiling.
If there is only one thing that you remember from this entire web page or even this entire website let it be this…
“The ONE thing that every single dog on this planet has in common is that they want to please you! YOU are their superhero, mother, father, pack leader, mentor, role model, idle, owner… YOU ARE THEIR EVERYTHING!”
By understanding this not only will you be able to teach your dog the right way to do things, but also both you and your dog will live a happier and more joyful life together. You will be happy because your dog does what you have shown him or her is right, and your dog will be happier because he or she is making you happy (they can sense this) by doing what you want them to do. I hope that this page not only helps you in basic doggie training but also gives you a better understanding of your dog in general so that both you and your dog can better enjoy the time you spend together.
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