Best Dog Training Tips
Very Useful best Dog Training Tips Ok, he’s finally home.
Training needs to begin immediately, regarding the new pattern on the rug, not to discuss the dog’s breakfast he’s made of your new Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals. But where should you start?
Whether you train your new puppy or dog yourself, take courses, or hire a private trainer, some basic training tips should be taken right out of the gate. These top 10 tips from trained dog trainers at the top of their game will help get you going.
Related: Best Dog Foods Tips.
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Aside: When your puppy is old enough, think about getting him or her neutered or spayed, likewise if you adopt a dog. A neutered or spayed dog is more docile, less aggressive, and may be more open to successful training.
Top Tips from the Pros
I tell my clients that the best time to train is when their dog is about to hit the “puppy spaz” hour—that time of day when he races around the house or yard for no apparent reason. I find that it is usually around the same time every day. This is the perfect time to do some training.
-Melanie Walker, Surprise, AZ
Keep a few clickers and treat bowls scattered around the house to make everyday training easier. Dry treats and a clicker can easily be hidden in a covered dish or in a desk drawer (just be sure that the treats are in a place not readily accessible to your dog) to make training easier.
-Dawn Antoniak -Mitchell, Esq. CPDT-KA, BonaFide Dog Academy LLC, Omaha, NE
Once a new behavior has been learned, incorporate it into your daily routine.
-Jamie Da Mato, CPDT-KA, Animalsense Canine Training and Behavior, Inc., Chicago, IL
Keep your training sessions short and fun! Have three or four training sessions each day, and keep them short—less than 15 minutes each session. If you find yourself getting frustrated, stop. Training should be fun for you and your dog.
-Jacquelyn England, A Dog’s Life, Sunnyvale, CA
A few short training repetitions can easily be snuck in before meals, at potty breaks, and other times throughout the day. It is easier for busy people to find a few minutes throughout the day to intentionally train than to find a big block of time daily.
-Dawn Antoniak-Mitchell, Esq. CPDT-KA, BonaFide Dog Academy LLC, Omaha, NE
I encourage people to work with their dogs outside of post offices and in front of storefronts. This helps with a dog’s socialization skills, as well as attention. Dogs can practice the sit for introductions, then leave it, and watch me commands, and stay and heel exercises.
-Marian Pott, Miramar Dog Training, Obedience, Herding, Behavior, Half Moon Bay, CA
Be unpredictable! Dogs are pretty good at figuring out when you have treats and when you don’t. To be unpredictable, have treats when you don’t look like you do. Don’t always use a bait bag and/or use things like sealed jars of baby food hidden in your pocket.
-Jacquelyn England, A Dog’s Life, Sunnyville, CA
Use training treats strategically. For behavior that your dog already knows (e.g., sit), use lower-value treats, like pieces of his kibble. When you want to encourage him to learn a new behavior, use higher-value treats. The reward should be commensurate with the difficulty of the task.
-Patricia Bentz, CPDT-KA, CDBC, K-9 Training & Behavioral Therapy, Philadelphia, PA
Be sure to reward your dog during periods when he is quiet and not performing any unacceptable behaviors. For example, if he is sitting quietly and not barking, this is a perfect opportunity to reward him with his favorite treat or a belly rub.
-Dawn Nargi-Ferren, CPDT-KA, Metropolitan Pets, New York City, NY
When choosing treats for training, keep in mind that they count as part of your dog’s diet—they add calories, and if your dog has dietary restrictions due to allergies or health issues, the treats shouldn’t violate those restrictions. Whatever you use, keep the pieces very small. The point is not to feed your dog but to reward him. Treats should be soft and easy to chew so that he doesn’t have to stop training to chew.
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LISTEN TO YOUR DOG
Learn to listen to your dog. If your dog appears to be uncomfortable meeting another dog, animal or person, don’t insist that he say hello. He’s telling you that he isn’t comfortable for a reason, and you should respect that. Forcing the issue can often result in bigger problems down the line.
BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR AFFECTION
Most people don’t have a problem being very clear about when they are unhappy with their dogs, but, they often ignore the good stuff. Big mistake! Make sure you give your dog lots of attention when he’s doing the right thing. Let him know when he’s been a good boy. That’s the time to be extra generous with your attention and praise. It’s even okay to be a little over the top.
DOES HE REALLY LIKE IT?
Just because the bag says “a treat all dogs love” doesn’t mean your dog will automatically love it. Some dogs are very selective about what they like to eat. Soft and chewy treats are usually more exciting for your dog than hard and crunchy treats. Keep your eyes open for what he enjoys.
TELL HIM WHAT YOU WANT HIM TO DO
There is nothing inherently wrong with telling your dog “no,” except that it doesn’t give him enough information. Instead of telling your dog “no,” tell him what you want him to do. Dogs don’t generalize well, so if your dog jumps up on someone to say hello and you say no, he may jump higher or he may jump to the left side instead of the right. A better alternative would be to ask him to “sit.” Tell him what you want him to do in order to avoid confusion.
Whenever you’re training your dog, it’s important to get as many family members involved as possible so everyone’s on the same page. If you are telling your dog “off” when he jumps on the couch and someone else is saying “down,” while someone else is letting him hang out up there, how on earth is he ever going to learn what you want? Consistency will be the key to your success.
HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Changing behavior takes time. You need to have realistic expectations about changing your dog’s behavior as well as how long it will take to change behaviors that you don’t like. Often behaviors which are “normal” doggie behaviors will take the most time such as barking, digging and jumping. You also need to consider how long your dog has rehearsed the behavior. For example, if you didn’t mind that your dog jumped up on people to say hi for the last seven years and now you decide that you don’t want him to do that anymore, that behavior will take a much longer time to undo than if you had addressed it when he was a pup. Remember it’s never too late to change the behavior some will just take longer than others.
DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE BENEFITS OF FEEDING A HIGH-QUALITY FOOD
Feed your dog a high-quality diet with appropriate amounts of protein. If your dog spends most of his days lounging in your condo, don’t feed him food with a protein level that is ideal for dogs who herd sheep all day. The money that you will spend on feeding an appropriate quality food will often be money that you save in vet bills later on. I recommend you always check with your veterinarian for the right diet for your dog.
YOU GET WHAT YOU REINFORCE – NOT NECESSARILY WHAT YOU WANT
If your dog exhibits a behavior you don’t like, there is a strong likelihood that it’s something that has been reinforced before. A great example is when your dog brings you a toy and barks to entice you to throw it. You throw the toy. Your dog has just learned that barking gets you to do what he wants. You say “no,” and he barks even more. Heaven forbid you to give in and throw the toy now! Why? Because you will have taught him persistence pays off. Before you know it you’ll have a dog that barks and barks every time he wants something. The solution? Ignore his barking or ask him to do something for you (like “sit”) before you throw his toy.
BRIBERY VS. REWARD
The idea of using treats to train is often equated with bribery. Truthfully, dogs do what works. If using treats gets them to do what you want, then why not? You can also use the world around you as a reinforcement. Every interaction you have with your dog is a learning opportunity, so when you think about it, you probably don’t use food very often except during active training sessions. So why does your dog continue to hang out? Because you reinforce him with praise, touch, games, and walks. Just remember, the behavior should produce the treat; the treatment should not produce the behavior.
Let your new dog gradually earn freedom throughout your home. A common error that many pet parents make is giving their new dog too much freedom too soon. This can easily lead to accidents relating to house training and destructive chewing. So, close off doors to unoccupied rooms and use baby gates to section off parts of the house, if necessary. One of the best ways to minimize incidents is to keep your dog tethered to you in the house and by using a crate or doggie safe area when you can’t actively supervise him.
By Juliana Weiss-Roessler
Having a trained dog isn’t the same as having a balanced dog, but if your dog knows a few basic commands, it can be helpful when tackling problem behaviors — existing ones or those that may develop in the future.
So where do you start with dog obedience training? You could take a class, but it’s not necessary; you can do it yourself. In fact, with the right attitude, it can be fun for both you and your dog!
This is one of the easiest dog obedience commands to teach, so it’s a good one to start with.
- Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose.
- Move your hand up, allowing his head to follow the treat and causing his bottom to lower.
- Once he’s in sitting position, say “Sit,” give him the treat, and share affection.
Repeat this sequence a few times every day until your dog has it mastered. Then ask your dog to sit before mealtime, when leaving for walks, and during other situations where you’d like him calm and seated.
This command can help keep a dog out of trouble, bringing him back to you if you lose grip on the leash or accidentally leave the front door open.
- Put a leash and collar on your dog.
- Go down to his level and say, “Come,” while gently pulling on the leash.
- When he gets to you, reward him with affection and a treat.
Once he’s mastered it with the leash, remove it — and practice the command in a safe, enclosed area.
This can be one of the more difficult commands in dog obedience training. Why? Because the position is a submissive posture. You can help by keeping training positive and relaxed, particularly with fearful or anxious dogs.
- Find a particularly good smelling treat, and hold it in your closed fist.
- Hold your hand up to your dog’s snout. When he sniffs it, move your hand to the floor, so he follows.
- Then slide your hand along the ground in front of him to encourage his body to follow his head.
- Once he’s in the down position, say “Down,” give him the treat, and share affection.
Repeat it every day. If your dog tries to sit up or lunges toward your hand, say “No” and take your hand away. Don’t push him into a down position, and encourage every step your dog takes the right position. After all, he’s working hard to figure it out!
Before attempting this one, make sure your dog is an expert at the “Sit” command.
- First, ask your dog to “Sit.”
- Then open the palm of your hand in front of you, and say “Stay.”
- Take a few steps back. Reward him with a treat and affection if he stays.
- Gradually increase the number of steps you take before giving the treat.
- Always reward your pup for staying put — even if it’s just for a few seconds.
This is an exercise in self-control for your dog, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to master, particularly for puppies and high-energy dogs. After all, they want to be on the move and not just sitting there waiting.
This can help keep your dog safe when his curiosity gets the better of him, like if he smells something intriguing but possibly dangerous on the ground! The goal is to teach your pup that he gets something even better for ignoring the other item.
- Place a treat in both hands.
- Show him one enclosed fist with the treat inside, and say, “Leave it.”
- Let him lick, sniff, mouth, paw, and bark to try to get it — and ignore the behaviors.
- Once he stops trying, give him the treat from the other hand.
- Repeat until your dog moves away from that first fist when you say, “Leave it.”
- Next, only give your dog the treat when he moves away from that first fist and also looks up at you.
Once your dog consistently moves away from the first treatment and gives you eye contact when you say the command, you’re ready to take it up a notch. For this, use two different treats — one that’s just all right and one that’s a particularly good smelling and tasty favorite for your pup.
- Say “Leave it,” place the less attractive treat on the floor, and cover it with your hand.
- Wait until your dog ignores that treat and looks at you. Then remove that treat from the floor, give him the better treatment and share affection immediately.
- Once he’s got it, place the less tasty treat on the floor… but don’t completely cover it with your hand. Instead, hold it a little bit above the treat. Over time, gradually move your hand farther and farther away until your hand is about 6 inches above.
- Now he’s ready to practice with you standing up! Follow the same steps, but if he tries to snatch the less tasty treat, cover it with your foot.
Don’t rush the process. Remember, you’re asking a lot of your dog. If you take it up a notch and he’s really struggling, go back to the previous stage.
Just these five simple commands can help keep your dog safer and improve your communication with him. It’s well worth the investment of your time and effort. Remember, the process takes time, so only start a dog obedience training session if you’re in the right mindset to practice calm-assertive energy and patience.