There are few things more exciting than bringing a new puppy home, but along with the excitement comes responsibility. Now that you're a pet parent, it's time for training to begin. Here are a few dog training tips from our Norristown vets, to get you started.
Our Best Dog Training Advice: Big & Small Dogs
Regardless of whether you decide to train your new puppy or rescue dog yourself, hire an instructor, or head to puppy classes, every dog can benefit from some basic training tips.
We see both large and small dogs at our clinic, and we've found that the best-trained animals respect their owner as pack leaders. Additionally, the consistency of their training has ensured that these well-behaved dogs always know what to expect.
Our Norristown vets recommend having your puppy spayed or neutered at an appropriate age. Getting your dog 'fixed' may help to make your pooch calmer, less aggressive towards other dogs, and potentially more open to training.
Set House Rules
When it comes to training, dogs respond best to consistency. So, before you bring your puppy home, decide what they are and are not allowed to do. Will you let your dog sleep in your bed? Take a seat on the couch? Will there be any rooms that are not accessible? Clarifying your expectations with yourself and your family can help you avoid confusion and indecision when your adorable new canine companion arrives.
Train Your Dog to Come on Command
One of the very first basic commands your pooch will need to master is “Come!” Always use their name when commanding them to come to you, then follow up with positive reinforcement such as a treat or lots of happy pats.
Try the command in different situations with different distractions as your new dog's training progresses. This allows your dog to practice focusing on you and obeying even when there is a lot going on around them.
Reward Good Behavior Quickly With Treats and Praise
The key to training your dog is positive reinforcement. Always commend good behavior! Your dog lives to please you and will appreciate the reward, whether it is a pat on the head, a belly rub, a scratch in his favorite spot, or a treat or toy.
Puppy-Proof Your House
Puppy proofing is similar to childproofing your home. To keep your new dog safe and your prized possessions safe, remove anything your dog is not allowed to play with. We also recommend that when your dog is not being directly supervised, he has a safe and secure place to go, such as a crate or pen, with safe toys that are exclusively his.
Don’t Delay When It Comes To Training
Recognize teaching opportunities as soon as they arise! Puppies, according to experienced dog owners, live in the moment and require a lot of repetition. If you are going to enforce a rule or teach a lesson, you must do so immediately after they do the deed. If you wait even a few minutes, your puppy will have no idea what it did correctly. Positive results are obtained through consistent repetition and reinforcement.
Dogs Do What Makes Them Feel Safe & Happy
One common blunder is attributing human emotions to your dog. Keep in mind that, while we adore them and consider them a member of the family, they are not human. Dogs aren't vengeful creatures who deliberately upset or irritate us. They just do whatever makes them happy or safe at the time.