Advice & Tips for Training a Dog
No matter how you choose to go about training your new puppy or dog, the important thing is that you are doing it. Untrained dogs can lead to unnecessary stress on you and your dog as well as those around you both.
Because we see so many dogs each day we also can see which ones are well-trained and which have evaded control. The best-trained dogs have usually been trained with consistency in mind, so they always know what to expect.
To start with a good foundation, consider having your puppy spayed or neutered when he’s of appropriate age, as dogs who have been “fixed” are less aggressive, more calm, and potentially more open to training.
Decide on House Rules in Advance
Consistency is key when it comes to training any dog. So it only makes sense to make decisions ahead of time as a family on the house rules for your new furry friend.
Decide what he is and isn’t allowed to do. Can he sleep in your bed? Stake out a spot on the couch? What about rooms - are there any off-limits? Making these decisions as a family can help avoid inconsistencies that may confuse your dog.
Start By Focusing on the 'Come' Command
Come is one of the most important commands when it comes to training our canine companions. Always use his name when commanding him to come and follow up with positive reinforcement.
As he develops, try the command in other situations, such as when his attention is elsewhere, and get him used to responding.
Always Reward for Good Behaviour
Did you know that just like humans, dogs respond best to positive reinforcement? Whether it’s a pat on the head, belly rubs, scratches in his favorite spot, or a treat or toy, your pup lives to please you.
Puppy-Proof Your Home
If you have kids, you’ll remember child-proofing your house to keep them safe and reduce the risk of danger - or your prized possessions getting destroyed. Do the same for your puppy by providing a safe place to put him when he’s not being directly supervised, such as a crate or pen, with safe toys that are exclusively his.
Teach as You Go & Don't Skip Steps
Along with positive reinforcement, you will also want to make sure that you are acknowledging every instance where you could train your dog. Seasoned dog owners will tell you that pups live in the moment and need lots of repetition.
If you’re going to enforce a rule or lesson, it has to be done immediately after they do the deed - they’ve already forgotten what they’ve done a few minutes later, so they will truly be confused and unable to make the association between their actions and corrections or training techniques unless they’re done right away. Consistent repetition gets results.
Help Your Dog Feel Safe & Happy
One of the most common mistakes we see dog owners make is that they attribute human emotions to their furry companions.
While we love them dearly and they feel like a member of the family, they’re not human, meaning they aren’t vengeful creatures who plan to upset us or tick us off. Dogs just focus on doing what makes them feel safe or happy, regardless of the outcome.
Enlisting Profession Dog Training Assistance
How your dog behaves is down to a combination of training, genetics, and the care and attention of loving owners. While it may be easy to love your four-legged family member training can be a struggle for many of us, and that's where the help of professional trainers and behaviorists come in.
- Dog Trainers (Pet Therapists & Behavior Counselors)
- Animal Behaviorists
- Dip ACVB - Diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
Choosing the Right Professional
With so many trained professionals ready to help you, it can be overwhelming trying to decide on the right professional for your pet.
Basic Dog Training for Behavior
A dog trainer is ideal if your dog has no behavioral issues and just needs basic training in obedience, agility, or another specific skill. Your vet may be able to recommend an excellent dog trainer in your area. When you have narrowed your search down to one or two people be sure to ask for their resumes and speak to their past clients as a reference.
Group classes are also great for teaching dogs basic manners and skills, and are well suited to new pet parents and puppies.
Focusing on Problematic Behavior
Hire a CAAB or Dip ACVB for one-on-one training if your dog has behavior problems that need to be corrected such as phobias, separation anxiety, excessive barking, destructive chewing, or aggression. These professionals cost more but have the skills, training, and experience necessary to address complicated issues.
If you would like to learn more about the different options available for dog training, please reach out to your vet.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.