Congratulations on bringing home your new rescue dog or puppy. Now it's time to start their training! In this blog, our Delaware County vets share some useful tips and advice for training your new canine companion.
Tips & Advice For Training Your Dog
Every dog can benefit from essential training tips, it doesn't matter if you are planning to train your new pooch yourself, hire a trainer or take your canine friend to obedience classes.
Our veterinary team sees many dogs on a daily basis and, all of the best-trained pups respect their owner as their alpha. These dogs have also been trained based on consistency, so they always know what they can expect.
We recommend starting your dog's training with a solid foundation, so you should consider having them spayed or neutered when they are the appropriate age. Dogs who have been "fixed" are calmer, less aggressive, and possibly more open to being trained.
Establish house rules
When it comes to training, dogs respond best to consistency. It’s only fair to be clear with yourself and your family on what you expect of your new pup before you bring them home.
Decide what they are and aren't allowed to do. Can they sleep in your bed? Stake out a spot on the couch? What about rooms - are there any off-limits? Clarifying your expectations avoids confusion and indecision later.
Teach them to come on command
“Come!” is one of the first commands your pup should learn how to master. Always use their name when commanding them to come and when they listen, provide them with positive reinforcement.
As your dog develops, try using this command in other situations, like when their attention is elsewhere, and make sure they get used to responding.
Reward good behavior and be fast to give treats and praise
One of the first tenets of dog training is to always reward good behavior with positive reinforcement. Whether it’s a pat on the head, belly rubs, scratches in their favorite spot, or giving them a toy or treat, your dog lives to please you.
Make your home puppy-proof
If you have children, you probably remember having to child-proof your home, to keep your kids safe and lower the risks of any danger- or your valuables getting destroyed. You will have to do the same for your puppy, by giving them a safe place to go when you can't directly supervise them, such as a pen or crate that has safe toys that are only theirs.
Don’t put off teaching moments
Just as you want to reward good behavior, 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 - 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. Consistent repetition gets results.
Remember: dogs do what makes them feel safe or happy
A very common mistake we see dog owners making is that they associate human emotions with their canine companions.
While we truly love our dogs and they feel like a part of the family, they are not human. This means dogs aren't vengeful animals that plan to make us irritated or spite us. Dogs do what makes them feel safe or happy at that specific time but, this could be good or bad.