You are finally bringing home the newest member of your family, your puppy. It is a happy and exciting time for everyone, but it is important to agree on all of the rules and training plans beforehand. Whether you plan on taking your dog to an obedience school, or hiring a private trainer for your dog, or even training them yourself, it is important to remember that you will need to continue the training at home. Just as kids do not learn everything they need to know at school, dogs need additional training at home.
1. Create a Special Place for Your Dog
It is important to designate an area that you use to train your dog. The dog needs to be able to associate this place with training time. It is helpful for this to be an area free from distractions, and plenty of room for them to move freely.
Your dog needs to have “a room of their own,” or their own special place, this should be introduced as early as possible. The dog needs their own place to sleep and feel comfort in the safety of their own space. The den, often a crate, will also be an extremely helpful tool for house training.
2. Use a Positive, But Firm Voice
Reward-based training is vastly acknowledged as the most effective and animal friendly method. You should be firm and commanding because you are the boss, while also remaining positive and encouraging to ensure that your dog feels safe. Dogs understand simple commands and names, because human languages are not their language your tone of voice vastly conveys your intentions. When you sound angry or frustrated during training, you will form a negative association with learning skills for your dog.
3. Set a Timer
Dogs do not have a long attention span. They can only focus for a small amount of time before they are bored or anxious. To ensure the most attention and understanding of the training, you should set a timer for a time between five and fifteen minutes. That is how the training sessions should last. You should have several training sessions each day to remind your dog of what you practiced earlier.
4. The Important Things Should Be Taught First
The first commands you teach your dog will be their favorite, this is what they will do when they feel uncomfortable or do not understand a new trick. Begin with relevant commands like “down” and “come.”
Dogs, especially puppies, love to jump up in greeting. Do not punish them. Simply ignore the behavior and wait until they settle down before showing positive reinforcement. Do not encourage jumping behavior by petting or praising your dog when they are in a “jumping up” position. Turn your back on them and do not pay them any attention. Starting with this command prevents them from jumping on visitors.
Teach them to come when they are called. This is an important command to teach early on to prevent them from running into the street. Teaching the “come” command should be mastered first. Since they will be coming to you, your alpha status will be reinforced. You should get on level with them and tell them to come, while using their name. When your dog obeys this command, make a big deal and use a lot of positive reinforcement. Try this again while they are entertained with something else, you will see the benefits of mastering the command early on when they get older.
5. Consistency is Key
Before you even bring the dog home, you should decide on the rules. Are they allowed to be on the furniture? Are they allowed to sleep with you? Are they allowed table scraps? Making sure that the rules are settled from the beginning, there will not be any confusion.
You also want to avoid changing the rules every couple of months. Although it may be adorable to take pictures of your new puppy on your couch, as an adult they will be confused why they are no longer allowed on the couch, if staying off the furniture is a rule.
You should correct the dog as soon as you see that they are behaving in a way that they have been trained not to. Just as importantly, you should reward the good behavior with a healthy treat as soon as you realize that they are catching on. They will be sure to keep up the good behavior.
6. Keep it Short and Sweet
Singular words are the best to use for commands. Find one and use it consistently. Some pet parents may say “Go to your spot” to mean “Get into your crate,” others may simply say “crate.” Using the command “crate” is more effective and efficient. Short and sweet wins here.
7. Using a Crate
Crates can be very helpful, especially younger puppies and older dogs coming into a new home. A crate is a good way for your dog to feel safe, but it is also helpful while housetraining. Sleeping in a crate will teach your dog to hold their bladder for a long amount of time. Be sure to avoid sending them when only when they are naughty. The crate should be a place they enjoy and not a punishment.
8. Maintain a Schedule
Dogs like knowing what to expect. It reduces apprehension and teaches them to trust you. It is best to have a schedule for feedings and walks. Your dog will know when to expect meals and also develop a good control over their bladder and bowels between their walks.
9. Be Patient
Dogs differ in how they respond to training. Some breeds learn faster because they are more intelligent and take pride in pleasing their puppy parents. However, other breeds tend to let their noses lead the way and are easily distracted during training. You must be patient and persistent. Reward all correct behavior and correct mistakes as soon as they happen. The reward of staying patient with them during their training will be worth it.
10. Positive Reinforcement
Yelling and punishment for doing something wrong is not effective when compared to treats and praise for doing the right thing. When house training your puppy, provide lots of rewards when they do their business outside. They will learn much faster with positive reinforcement.
Reward your puppy or dog for good behavior with positive reinforcement such as treats, toys, love and heaps of praise. Let them know when they are getting it right. However, do not reward bad behavior, this will only infuse them.
Be sure to end the training sessions with a positive note. Use praise such as, “Excellent boy!” or “Great job, Spot!” This will encourage them to continue to please you throughout the training. Leave them with lots of praise, a treat, some petting, and play time. Your dog will show up to the next training session ready to learn, with their tails wagging!
Contact Argos Dog Training
If you need assistance teaching you dog important commands and behaviors, Argos Dog Training is an expert dog trainer in the Boston area. We offer private and group training sessions to help your dog learn commands and socialize. Checkout our list of courses here and get in touch with us today to setup a consultation! Give us a call at 617-302-7467 or fill out an online form to get started.