You've brought home a new puppy, maybe for the first time, and you're not sure where to start with training. Here, our veterinarians share some helpful tips and advice on training a new dog.
Best Advice For Dog & Puppy Training
All dogs benefit from basic training from a young age. Training teaches them structure and bonds them with their owner. Plus, of course, training your new dog can help hone good behavior.
Start setting a good foundation by deciding whether or not to have your puppy spayed or neutered when they are the appropriate age. Dogs that have been “fixed” are less aggressive, calmer, and potentially more open to training. After a foundation has been set, new dog owners can start to follow the advice below to train their new pooches.
Establish Home Rules
In terms of training, dogs respond best to consistency. It’s only fair to be clear with yourself and those you live with on what you expect from your new pooch before you bring them home.
Determine what they are and aren't allowed to do. Can they sleep in your bed? Claim a spot on the couch? Are there rooms they aren't allowed to go into? Clarifying your expectations helps prevent confusion and indecision later.
Teach Your Dog To Come on Command
One of the first basic commands your dog will have to master is “Come!” Always use your pup's name when commanding them to come and follow up with positive reinforcement.
As your dog develops, try the command in other situations, such as when their attention is elsewhere, and get them used to responding.
Be Quick Rewarding Good Behavior With Praise & Treats
One of the first principles of dog training, whether your pooch is big or small, is to always reward good behavior with positive reinforcement, this can be a pat on the head, a belly rub, scratching their favorite spot, a treat, or a favorite toy. Your pup loves to please you.
Make Your Home Puppy-Proof
(If you have kids) do you remember child-proofing your home to keep your children safe, reduce the risk of danger, and prevent your valuables from getting destroyed? Do the same for your pup. Give your puppy a safe place to hide when they aren't being directly supervised, such as a crate or pen, with safe toys that are exclusively theirs.
Don’t Put Off Teachable Moments
Just as you want to reward good behavior, you want to recognize teaching moments as they occur. Dogs live in the moment and require lots of repetition.
If you’re going to enforce a rule or lesson it has to be done immediately after your dog does the deed. Dogs forget what they’ve done a few minutes later, so they won't be able to associate their actions with your corrections or training techniques unless they are done right away. Consistent repetition gets results.
Remember: Dogs Do What Helps Them Feel Happy or Safe
One of the most common mistakes we see dog owners make is they attribute human emotions to their furry companions.
While we love our fur babies dearly, they aren't human, meaning they aren’t vengeful creatures who plan to upset or annoy us. They do what makes them feel happy or safe at the time (this can be both good and bad).
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.