Pro Tips for Training Your Dog
Besides twice-daily meals, regular grooming, shelter, and socialization opportunities, proper training is essential in ensuring your furry friend’s well-being. Therefore, if you already have a pup at home, or you’re in the process of purchasing one, make arrangements for training sessions. Doing so will promote good behavior and help you raise an obedient, happy, and loyal canine companion.
The time and energy commitment involved in training your dog out of their bad habits and transforming them into the ultimate trick-master may overwhelm the average dog owner. Housebreaking your puppy can be particularly daunting, especially if you’ve never trained a dog before. However, a well-regulated puppy who obeys your commands is right within reach when you refer to the following tips to teach your dog new tricks.
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Pick your dog’s name
As a first step, you’ll want to choose a name for your new dog or puppy. Although an older dog may already have a name, you have the option to change it. Dogs from breeders usually come with long names, while those from the shelter are given temporary names. Giving a new name to a dog from an abusive background will welcome in a fresh beginning.
For training purposes, it would be better to choose a short name that ends in a strong consonant like Ginger, Jack, and Jasper. With a sharp consonant sound, a dog can clearly identify their name. Not to mention, this strong ending appeals to the puppy’s ears, especially if you emphasize the final sounds. In the naming process, choose a name associated with pleasant things to help your pup associate your commands with something enjoyable like treat time or walks around the neighborhood.
Come up with house rules
Before bringing your puppy home, allocate time to set reasonable house rules that both of you can live by. These house rules will prevent confusion and promote a simple training process. In preparation for training, ask yourself these questions: Will your dog lie on your bed while you sleep? Will they be allowed to sit on the furniture? Are they restricted to certain parts of the house? Will you reprimand your pup if they beg at the dinner table?
Choose a training technique
Choosing the training method that will work best for you and your pup might be frustrating, especially when presented with a plethora of options. Luckily, you aren’t alone in your decision. Some dog owners disagree about the most effective training strategies. In the training world, some methods overlap or produce better results when used in tandem. The most popular techniques among dog experts are positive reinforcement, scientific training, clicker training, electronic training, mirror or model rival training, dominance or alpha dog techniques, and relationship-based training.
Taking time to observe and understand your dog’s mannerisms, temperaments, and energy levels will help you choose a training style that suits him or her best. The dog’s breed should also inform the training method you employ. For optimal results, spend quality time with your new dog to find out what makes your puppy tick. Some dogs will be toy-driven, while others may be food driven. Once you’ve determined their ideal motivators, incorporate food, toys, or positive affirmations into your training plan.
How to conduct the sessions
Regardless of the method you choose, make the experience rewarding, and remain confident and calm for the entire duration. Ensure that you stay consistent by formulating achievable goals at all times. In the interest of consistency, introduce a command, and carry it to completion. You can modify the training methods as you progress. However, remaining consistent and avoiding switching back-and-forth will prevent any instances of confusion.
Since dogs have short attention spans, it’s best to conduct short sessions and take frequent breaks. Regardless of the dog’s age or breed, limit sessions between 10 and 15 minutes or less for an enjoyable learning experience. Because sessions shouldn’t exceed 15 minutes, you can squeeze in a quick lesson like a demonstration on “come” and “sit” commands for feeding time.
Unfortunately, not every session will go according to plan. Whether or not your pup hits a benchmark, always finish the session on a positive note. Praising your puppy satisfies the desire to please you.
Avoid punishments that cause your dog discomfort and pain, and never discipline him for something you didn’t witness firsthand. For example, if he spills something on the floor or couch while you’re away, don’t scold them once you discover the mess. Without context, your pup won’t understand why you’re mad. Additionally, remain patient and keep in mind that you’re retraining a dog’s instincts, which can take a significant amount of time to achieve.
Dogs can master several commands in one session. However, you don’t want to bombard your furry friend with a never-ending list of commands, when only a few basics are required to co-exist peacefully with your new dog. Begin basic command training at home and, if needed, enroll him or her in a class that will help him thwart distractions and maintain a friendly disposition with strangers. These essential commands include “down,” loose leash walking, “sit,” “stay,” “come, “off,” and “don’t touch.”
The “sit” command is an essential skill that helps a dog understand how to react to various training lessons. Once your dog masters the “down” and loose leash walking commands, he can accompany you to walks to the café or the nearby park. “Don’t touch” will help you protect your four-legged friend from accidentally ingesting inedible objects, contaminants, or human food that can harm them.
Beginning training immediately facilitates the early development of positive habits, making having a dog more enjoyable for the owner. Remember that dogs are intelligent and impressionable creatures, so every time he or she is around, you can be a learning opportunity.