Training a dog can be a fun experience, but it can also be challenging. It’s essential to start early and stay consistent to create a happy home for all.
If you’re considering adding a dog to your household, it’s wise to create a training plan in advance. Here are some helpful training tips for your dog; start teaching them as soon as your new pet comes home.
8 Training Tips for Your Dog
1. Create a routine.
The key element of training a dog is to create and follow a routine. As with children, dogs thrive on a schedule. By creating a timeline for the day for food, potty training, playtime, walks, etc., you hardwire these habits in your dog’s brain from the start.
Creating a routine is also essential for training yourself when welcoming a new family member. Look at your schedule and outline how you will help your dog fit into it.
2. Reward positive behavior.
Dogs respond better to positive reinforcement than scolding. Rather than focusing solely on discipline, think about how you can create positive associations. For example, if your dog successfully potty trains, shower her with praise and affection. If she has an accident, clean it up and move on. Don’t dwell on it or scold.
It’s also worth investing in treats and toys to associate with positive behavior. Consider getting a pet camera that gives treats for those times when you can’t be physically present.
3. Be calm yet stern.
While the main focus should be on positive reinforcement, it can be beneficial to voice your disapproval of negative behaviors.
The important thing to remember is to stay calm and stern. Dogs will know the difference without you having to yell.
Patience is a virtue when training your pet. While it can feel like she’s antagonizing you, the reality is that dogs are like young children and don’t know a lot of things yet. It takes time to learn.
4. Start crate training early.
If you’ll be leaving your dog alone for extended periods, it’s best to start crate training right away. It can feel heartless when a dog is whining and crying, but the crate will someday become a retreat that helps keep her safe. I am a huge proponent of using a crate for dogs.
Start crate training in small spurts of time while offering rewards. Consider adding a shirt that smells like you if you’ll be trying overnight crate training. When your dog whines and cries and makes a fuss about being in the crate, comfort her without removing from the crate.
5. Use distractions.
In addition to rewarding positive behavior, you should always have a distraction ready when trying to limit negative behavior.
For example, if your dog is overly interested in the garbage, sternly reprimand her, remove her from the area, and provide a toy to keep her busy. Without a distraction, your dog will keep going back for more.
6. Nip chewing in the bud.
Chewing and nipping are common issues among puppies, who often engage in this affectionate, playful behavior with their siblings. It’s also not uncommon in older dogs, especially if they are in new environments where they might not be completely at ease yet.
It’s essential to start teaching your dog not to nip and chew as soon as possible. This will help prevent future conflicts and also protect their fragile teeth.
Respond to this behavior with a stern command, and then give your dog a toy or treat as a distraction.
7. Start socializing immediately.
It’s important to get your dog used to a variety of surroundings. Once you’ve gotten into a routine at home, start looking for opportunities to socialize your dog outside of the home. This could include going to the park with other dogs and interacting with different humans.
By socializing early, you build strong habits. It’s also worth investing in an obedience course, which will subsequently teach your dog how to behave and offer the opportunity to socialize.
8. Get to know your breed.
Every breed has a unique personality or features that sets it apart. For example, Great Danes are smart and know how to use their size to open doors. Rottweilers can be territorial about food.
Learning these unique breed-specific characteristics can prepare you to work around them. For example, letting a Rottweiler puppy eat out of peoples’ hands will curb that territorial streak. Dog proofing doors and handles will keep your Great Dane safe.
With these secret tips, you can help your dog transition into her new life with your family. Consistency is key, so be sure to show up every day to help your dog learn all she needs in order to be a happy, healthy part of your home.
What training tips can you offer?
Leave your comments below, or stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms and join in the conversation there!