Adding a four-legged friend to your family is one of the most exciting things! Having them eat your favorite pair of shoes or leaving you special “surprises” on your carpet, is not. Training your dog and teaching them your expectations is key to having all creatures, both two-legged and four-legged, co-exist happily. Since January is National Train Your Dog month, we have compiled a list of 5 tips to help you get started in the training process.
- Your Dog’s Name
Choosing the perfect name for your new pup is one of the most important things. While you’re busy thinking of the cutest, funniest or most original name, keep a couple of things in mind. When it comes to training, a shorter name is generally best as it is easier to say and pair with training commands. Also, names that end with a strong consonant, like Scout, Rex, or Champ are clearer when spoken and therefore, make it easier for your dog to understand.
- Setting up House Rules
Before you bring your new dog home, it’s important you have come up with your house rules. Is your dog allowed on the furniture, and if so, are they allowed on all of it, or just certain things? Are there certain rooms or areas in your home that are off limits? Will you let them have snippets of people food or will they only be allowed dog food? Knowing these things will make it easier on both you and your dog and will help avoid any confusion.
- Teach on “Dog Time”
Dogs live in the moment and it’s important to remember that when training. Reprimanding him for something he did 2 minutes ago is not beneficial, as they have already forgotten it happened. If he misbehaves, make sure you reprimand right in the moment so he can learn to make the association between the behavior and the consequence. Repetition is key when training in order to reinforce what he’s learning.
- House Training
When it comes to house training, consistency is the best way to teach your dog. Set a schedule and do your best to adhere to it. Wake up at the same time each morning and let your dog out right away. Feed him at the same time every day and then immediately let him out afterwards. As you continue to re-enforce the schedule, your dog will become accustomed to it and you will start knowing when your dog will need to go out before they even come to you.
- Always End Training Sessions on a Positive Note
Good boy! Great job, Baxter! Your dog has worked hard to learn new things and make you happy, so don’t forget to reward him. There are several ways to praise your dog; rewarding with treats, giving him his favorite toy, playing with him, or giving him lots of extra petting and loves. Find what works best for your dog and go with that. Rewarding him after all his hard work will help ensure that he’s ready to work again next time you train.
Bonus Tip: Enrolling your dog in an obedience class while simultaneously training on your own, will help expedite the training process.
The biggest thing to remember when it comes to training is patience. Just like you and me, it takes time to learn new things. Try not to get frustrated (though it may be hard at times), and always let him know how much you love him.