So, you got a new puppy in the home or just adopted an adult dog. Don’t worry if you have a couple of chewed up shoes or a few spots on the carpet, now is the perfect time to turn things around and get started on your dog training routine. Training your dog doesn’t have to be just another chore added to your long list of things to do. It only takes a few minutes out of your day and you’ll have fun watching your new dog learn commands as she works hard to please you. In the end, you can sit back, relax and be proud while you enjoy your well-behaved dog. In the meantime, here are some tips before you start training your dog that will make the process go a lot smoother.
1. Be in the right mood.
Always work with your dog when you’re relaxed and in a positive frame of mind. If you’re tired or in a bad mood, you can become frustrated or impatient, which is not good for you or your dog. Yelling at your dog or using punishment while training is counter-productive and will cause your dog to distrust you.
2. Train when your dog is in the right state of mind.
Puppies can have short attention spans, so train her in an area without distractions and choose a time when she’s not overly energetic or excited
. If the training session is not going well, try exercising her for a short time or quit and try again a little later.
3. Use what motivates your dog.
Luckily, most dogs are motivated by food which makes things a lot easier for us who are doing the training, but don’t forget dogs are also motivated by affection and praise.
4. Use training treats.
When using food as motivation, small training treats are a great way to reward your dog without giving her a lot of excess calories. She’ll work just as hard for a small tasty treat as she will for a larger treat. If she doesn’t seem particularly interested in treats, check out these tips
5. Start simple.
Start with simple commands such as Sit
to help build confidence, then slowly move on to more difficult commands. Teach one command at a time until she’s got it down, then reinforce the mastered commands as you teach new ones by finding ways to work them into your dog’s daily routine.
6. Get everybody on-board.
Make sure you and other family members use commands consistently so your dog doesn’t get confused. Also, make sure family members aren’t unintentionally rewarding unwanted behavior and that everyone is on-board with training the dog.
7. Use the right tone of voice.
It’s important to use the right tone of voice
for different commands. Use an upbeat and energetic tone of voice when giving commands that are active, such as Come
. Use an authoritative tone of voice when training passive commands that require some restraint, such as the Sit
commands. Dogs also love animated praise and sometimes react just as much to the tone of what we’re saying as the actual words themselves.
8. Check your timing.
Timing is everything when training a dog. Give rewards immediately when you get the result you are looking for. Dogs have a short memory for associating actions with rewards. If you withhold or hesitate when giving rewards or praise, you may accidentally be praising and reinforcing something entirely different.
9. Be patient.
Work with your dog for short periods of time, keeping the training sessions light and fun. Quit before she gets tired or overwhelmed. Often, during your first session when teaching a new command, your dog might seem thoroughly confused. That’s all right, try again each day and she’ll soon connect the dots.
10. Keep working.
Don’t be discouraged when she listens perfectly at home, but not in the park or around other people or dogs. Once she’s trained where it’s quiet at home, you’ll still need to build on that training by working with her around distractions.
Having a positive attitude towards training you dog can make the process easy and enjoyable. Yes, even when she grabs that hamburger off the kitchen counter, it’s an opportunity for training. Be patient and consistent and your dog will be soon rewarding you for all your hard work.