You're the proud new pet parent of a beautiful young puppy or rescue dog... and now you have to train them! Our vets at Blue Mountain Veterinary Services share some key dog training tips to help get you started.
Dog Training Tips
It doesn't matter whether you choose to train your new puppy or rescue dog yourself, or take advantage of training classes, every pup can benefit from some training.
Naturally, we see a lot of dogs on a regular basis at our animal hospital, and the best-trained pets respect their owner as the alpha. These pups have also been trained with consistency in mind, so that they always know and understand what to expect.
Our vets believe that a good foundation to start with includes making sure your puppy stays healthy and having your puppy spayed or neutered when they reach an appropriate age. Getting your canine companion “fixed” may help make them less aggressive towards other dogs, calmer and potentially more open to training.
Establishing House Rules
When it comes to training, dogs respond best to consistency! That's why it's super important to be clear with yourself and your family regarding what you expect of your new pup before you bring him/her home.
You need to be clear about what your pup is and is not allowed to do. Is sleeping in your bed ok? Is your pup allowed to curl up on the couch? Are any areas of the house off-limits? By understanding and mapping out your expectations, you can help to avoid confusion and indecision after your new fur baby arrives at the house.
Teach Your Pup to Come on Command
One of the first basic commands your furry friend will need to master is “Come!” Always use their name when making the command, and be sure to follow up with positive reinforcement such as praise or a tasty treat.
As your pet grows and learns, try getting them to 'come' in other situations, when their attention is elsewhere, and get them used to responding even if there's something more interesting than you grabbing their attention.
Be Quick with Treats & Praise as Rewards
To get your pooch to respond well when training, it's important to always reward good behaviour with positive reinforcement. Whether it’s a pat on the head, belly rubs, scratches in a favourite spot or a treat or toy, your pup lives to please you and appreciates being rewarded when they get it right.
Puppy-Proof Your Home
Just like child-proofing your house to keep kids safe, you will need to puppy-proof your home in order to help keep your new fur baby safe, (and to help protect your prized possessions getting destroyed). Provide your pup with a safe and comfortable place to stay when not being directly supervised. A dog crate or pen are purpose made and an ideal place for your pooch to relax and play with safe dog-friendly toys.
Know a Teaching Moment When You See One
Just as you want to reward good behaviour, you want to recognize teaching moments as they happen. 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. Dogs don't dwell on the past, 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. Fast, consistent repetition gets the best puppy training results.
Note: Dogs Do Whatever Makes Them Feel Safe or Happy
A common mistake made by many dog owners is attributing human emotions to their canine companions. We understand that you love your dog and that your fur baby feels like a member of the family, but remember - your pup is not human.
Dogs simply aren't vengeful creatures who plan to upset you or annoy you, they just do whatever makes them feel happy or safe in the moment, which can result in both good and bad behaviours. When your dog misbehaves, just try to remember that it wasn't planned and respond to the behaviour right then and there. Your dog lives in the moment, and when dog training, so should you.
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.