Bringing your furbaby home for the first time is an exciting experience, adding that little fella to your family brings so much joy, but now you are probably wondering how you will train him/her.
You shouldn’t worry as training your puppy is a fun experience but needs patience. Don’t rush the puppy to do tricks immediately, you should create a bond with them first, they need to trust you and feel relaxed around you.
Take time in getting to understand the new addition to your family, play with them, feed them well, just make them comfortable, but not too comfortable as it will take you as an equal and you don’t want that as this will cause behavioural problems. For example, allowing the furbaby to sleep on your bed will send a confusing signal to that cute little fella.
Training your dog is a big project, it is important to have realistic expectations, do it step by step consistently and observe what works for your dog.
Encourage your dog with treats whenever they do something positive but let them earn it, you will find this task less challenging and actually have some fun as you get to know your dog.
Make sure the dog also gets proper socialization, dogs socialization builds the dogs coping skills. having a wide range of positive experience helps your puppy be a stable well-rounded dog and also boosts their confidence to interact with people and fellow four-legged community.
With the following tips you can confidently train your pup into a well-behaved dog.
Dog Training Tips
1. Don’t Let your Dog Run the Show
It is important for your dog to know who the boss is, when taking your dog out for a walk don’t let him pull ahead of you while on the leash. This gives them the impression that they are in charge this perception may also reflect in your other interaction.
Therefore, make sure that they always walk right beside you or slightly ahead or slightly behind you, doing these lets your dog know that you are in charge, and they reciprocate by being obedient to your commands.
2. Always Say your Commands Once
Your four-legged friend wants to please you so be patient with them, repeating your command will not make the dog understand you better.
Keep in mind that puppies at their early stages are like sponges particularly at the ages of 3 to 16 weeks, they learn commands quite easily especially with positive reinforcements.
The goal here is to make your dog respond to your commands autonomously, for example, your dog should know that when you say “sit” the dog should sit immediately, this is also a good way to stop bad behaviour.
Consistency is key for getting the results you are aiming for; you can achieve this by identifying and creating patterns.
Your training cues should be consistent, if you say your command cues once today then three times tomorrow, this is breaking consistency. Make sure your verbal and non-verbal cues are consistent for effective communication.
It is also important to encourage as many members of your family as possible to be on the same page to prevent break down of communication. For example, if you tell your dog to sit then another member of your family gives the dog a contradicting command this may confuse the dog. The commands should be harmonious for the dog to understand the command.
4. Show your Dog Affection
Always let your dog know if they have done something right, petting your dog telling them they have been a good boy or girl which will encourage the dog to do better. They love to please you and by you showing the affection they feel encouraged to be more obedient to you.
You probably have a tight schedule, but in truth, your canine friend does not need much of your time, a few easy adjustments have big gains in your relationship with your dog, here are some affectionate activities you can try
– A bit of cuddle time in the morning; spending about five minutes in bed cuddling your dog or a short walk outside will really make your furry friend happy. They even get the chance to empty their bladder outside first thing in the morning. This sets the tone of the day according to Mary R. Burch, Ph.D., AKC’s Canine Good Citizen Director.
– Toys; you will probably be gone for most of the day, so to ensure the dog has enough mental stimulation while you are away, you should get enough toys for the dog. Therefore, he will be engaged playing with the toy for the most part of the day, avoiding boredom which leads to destructive behaviour,
– Hang-out with your dog; you can incorporate some of your day’s activities with your dog time, for example, cuddling watching tv together.
– Quick daytime walks; just as you enjoy short breaks in your busy day schedule, your dog too will appreciate a short five-minute walk during the day to break the monotony.
– A drive with your dog; taking a car ride with your dog shouldn’t only be for vet days, dog love car rides even if just a short drive as you go about your errands.
– A night walk will be an added bonus; your dog will also get the chance to empty their bladder before going back home, this also acts as an exercise for your dog and therefore helps prevent bad behavioural habits such as barking unnecessarily.
5. Train your Puppy to Go to the Bathroom Outside
When it comes to training your dog, this is the most crucial part, here are a few ideas on how to go about it;
– Create and maintain a feeding schedule: having a feeding schedule will help you predict when your dog’s next bathroom time will be. You need to feed a puppy three times a day and also give them more chances to go out as they have a weak bladder,
– Observing body language; all dogs show signs that they have to go, for example; holding their tail in a funny position or sniffing around the house looking for a place to go. You should take them outside even if their expected time to go isn’t due.
– Pick a designated spot; having your dog go at a designated spot will make him know that that’s the place to go as dogs are creatures of habit. Add a verbal cue whenever you reach their designated spot.
– Supervision; supervise your dog as they go about their business outside, also ensure that the dog is comfortable and feeling safe.
6. Choose your Dog’s name Wisely
For your dog to respond to a certain name, try making the name easy, short and with a strong consonant end, this is particularly important for a puppy in the training stage, you want your dog to respond every time you call.
Having an easy name is also important when issuing other commands to your dog. For instance, assuming the name you chose for your dog is “Toby”. When commanding him to sit you could firmly call out “Toby sit” the commands flow out naturally and the dog is, therefore, able to hear it clearly. Another instance is the name “Tom” assuming you want your dog to come and the command he responds to in this case is “come”, calling out “Tom come” almost sounds the same and therefore confusing to your dog.
In the case you have adopted your dog from a traumatic situation, you might want to change the name as they might associate the name with traumatizing events.
Always associate the name of the dog with pleasant events you want the dog to think of the name the way as he’s thinking about treats and the like.
7. Dealing with the Bad: Nipping, Biting & Barking
To be able to solve the issue of excessive barking, you first need to understand why dogs bark excessively, some of the reasons are;
– Being bored; leaving your dog for long hours without mental stimulation.
– Alarm/fear; regardless of where your dog is, the dog might bark at any object or noise that captures their attention.
– Territory; your dog may bark if an animal or a person breaches an area that the dog considers his territory, the bark gets louder as the perceived threat comes closer.
– Compulsive barking; this is ingrained and therefore difficult to treat, you should see a behavioural specialist for guidance.
– Attention seeking; your dog might bark to grab your attention, do not reward this, as that only works to encourage the behaviour.
Do not allow the excessive barking to continue as barking gives the dog an adrenaline rush that gives the dog a pleasant feeling, therefore this might make the barking more ingrained. There are many methods to deal with excessive barking, some of them are:
– Verbal commands; firmly say “quiet”, if the dog responds to this command, reward it with a treat
– Non-verbal; use your index finger to attract the attention of your dog, again reward him if he responds.
– Exercise; take your dog for a long walk or take him to a park and let him play, chances are he will be too tired to bark afterward.
– Toys; toys will keep the dog mentally stimulated, keeping them busy, you could buy them a food dispensing toy. This works very well especially if you leave your dog for long hours unattended.
– Collars; some collars are designed to send ultrasonic or audible corrections to your dog, these collars offer a means to tame your dog. Shock collars are also an option but for some dog owners may be a little excessive.
– Biting and nipping behaviour
To stop this be gentle, do not reprimand your dog if he bites you, this is in their nature. Instead of scolding him, you could act hurt and in a lot of pain if nipped or bit by your dog this will make him stop.
8. Schedule Playtime with Other Dogs
This breaks boredom and also build social skills; you may notice the jovial mood the dog has while playing. There is a lot of jumping, barking and running around, but be careful to ensure your dog is not being bullied.
The recommended play time is at least 3 times a week, you should also notice that some other unwanted behaviours also will reduce with enough playtime.
9. Get Your Dog to Trust You
You should form a good relationship with your dog, your dog shouldn’t be afraid of you. Instead, he should feel comfortable around you at all times.
Teach them how to be calm, this is reinforced by enough socialization. however, be careful to ensure that your dog knows who the boss is.
10. Always End Your Training Sessions on a Positive Note
Praise your dog at all opportunities. If he has done his best to please you in the duration of the training session, things like some petting, treats and verbal praises will make him happy and excited for another training session, and as already mentioned is a positive reinforcement which really is one of the key pillars for dog training in general.
The above tips are meant to ensure you have a happy and obedient dog. Be patient as you train your dog, it can be frustrating at times, but with patience, persistence, and consistency, eventually you get the results you have been working towards.
Do not get mad if the dog does something undesirable, avoid scolding him regardless of the situation, he is working very hard to please you. Negativity will destroy the bond between you and your dog, you want him to trust you.
Above all have fun, having a dog is great for your health because of the connection you and your dog build over time, it’s incredibly therapeutic and rewarding!