Are you a new dog owner? You may find yourself wondering what the next step is after bringing your canine companion home. Training should begin right away, but how do you even start? Where you can find the best dog training tips — and what is the best training method? Can you actually teach an old dog new tricks?
Dog training can take place at any age, and there are numerous options for training your furry new friend. You can train your new dog or puppy yourself, or you can take classes for dog training in Little Rock. Either way, a few basic dog training tips will make the process much easier right from the start.
Top 10 Dog Training Tips
Initially, dog training can seem like a daunting task, especially if this is your first dog. Training your new pup is a big undertaking. However, with the right top dog training tips from our Canine Center, you and your new pet will figure out the best ways to work together for positive results.
Dog Training Tip 1: Pick a Sensible Name for Your Dog
Picking out the perfect name for your new dog or puppy is a fun part of getting a new pet. Some names really are better than others — especially when it comes to dog training. Consider short names ending with a strong consonant. These sounds are most likely to catch your pooch’s attention when their name is called.
Whatever name you decide on, make sure you connect it with positive experiences whenever possible — not negative ones. In theory, your dog should think of their name the same way they think of other fun experiences like mealtime or walks. As an example, if you call their name and scold them for pottying in the house, they will begin to connect their name with discipline…not good things that make them want to respond.
Dog Training Tip 2: Determine the Rules
Before you even bring your new dog home, decide what rules they should follow. Consider things like:
- Are they allowed on the furniture?
- Are certain parts of the house off-limits?
- Will they eat their dinner when you do?
- How do you plan to potty-train them?
Determining what they can and cannot do in the beginning helps avoid confusion later on — for both of you. You can also make sure you have the appropriate accessories. Remember: once you make these rules, you have to stick to them.
Dog Training Tip 3: Use Simple Commands
Unfortunately, dogs do not come into this world understanding language. Over time they will come to learn some words, but dogs will never understand sentences. Saying something like “Jack, please be a good boy and make me proud by laying down for me right now” will result in a cocked head — not the desired behavior.
Dogs learn from body language before they learn commands. Assist your dog into a sitting position before expecting them to respond to a command. Once they have consistently mastered the behavior, then you can start adding verbal commands. Remember to keep commands short and simple.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, five of the most frequently used commands for dogs are:
- Come, and
- Leave it.
Dog Training Tip 4: Consistency Is Crucial
The key to dog training is consistency. Without consistency, you just will not get the results you are seeking. Make sure everyone in the family knows the same rules and commands when interacting with your dog or you might cause confusion for your pooch. Consistency also means rewarding the correct behavior each time it occurs and never providing a reward for undesired behavior.
Dog Training Tip 5: Read Their Body Language
Dogs use body language, facial expressions, and posture to communicate with you. While your dog cannot talk and tell you how they feel, reading their body language is a key aspect to understanding what they are trying to tell you. It will take time and getting to know your puppy pal, but eventually, you will be able to understand what they are trying to communicate with their expressions and body language.
Dog Training Tip 6: Timing Is Everything
When utilizing positive reinforcement, correct timing is very important. In order for your pet to make the connection between good behavior and a reward, the two must take place within seconds of one another. For instance, if you tell your dog to sit but give them a treat after they stand again, they will think they are getting the reward for standing rather than the behavior you asked for.
Dog Training Tip 7: Reward Your Dog for Good Behavior
Just like timing is crucial to positive reinforcement, the reward provided for your dog’s good behavior is also essential. Treats, toys, praise, and love can all be used to let your pup know they are doing the right thing and make them want to keep performing the desired behavior.
Dog Training Tip 8: Mental Stimulation and Exercise Are Key
According to the American Kennel Club, providing your dog with the proper amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day is essential to good behavior. If your dog is lacking in either of these activities, you might find them getting into trouble around your house. This is particularly true for working breeds or high-energy dogs.
Dog Training Tip 9: Remember Your Pet Is a Dog
Many of us treat our furry friends as part of the family and look for their similarities to people. However, sometimes you have to remember that they are just a dog and not human. It is their very “dogginess” that makes them such good boys that are so easy to love!
Dog Training Tip 10: A Positive Attitude Is Important
Maintaining a positive attitude when working with your pup is crucial to a successful training plan. If you get frustrated, your dog senses it and may act out in response. When you stay calm, so does your pup. Keeping sessions short not only prevents your dog from losing focus, it helps you avoid irritation.
Be sure to end all training sessions on a good note. Your furry friend has been working hard to make you happy. Provide them with lots of love, petting, treats, or a few minutes of play together. This will ensure they continue to strive to please you.
Dog Training in Little Rock at The Pine Hill Ranch Canine Center
Whether you have a new puppy or an older dog, The Pine Hill Ranch Canine Center can assist you in the dog training process. We want to help you implement these dog training tips to make life easier for you and your pooch. We offer obedience training for dogs of any age in addition to sports classes and private training. Schedule a class online or call us today at (501) 817-1412!