Having a dog for a pet is one of the most wonderful things in life. However, whether you’ve got yourself a new pup, adopted a dog from a shelter, or have a generally docile, grown dog you want to train properly, it’s never too early (or too late) to teach your dogs some basic skills.
These skills will not only make your life with your canine best friend more fulfilling but also ensure harmony and good behavior.
However, before beginning canine training in earnest, keep in mind that it is important for you as a pet parent to always be patient, encouraging, and positive. Moreover, be conscious of your body language, add variety, and make training sessions a regular thing – something you can do in 10 to 15-minute bursts.
Housebreaking a dog is probably one of the most challenging aspects of canine training and the most basic. It requires you to be consistent, patient, and positive.
• Mind your dog. Limit his access to a few sections of the house. Close bedroom doors or keep him in a safe, confined space where he has the privacy he needs.
• Establish a routine. Dogs thrive on consistency, so make sure to feed him at the same time every day. Schedule dog walks like clockwork, as well as potty breaks. This way, you can condition your pet to do his business on a schedule as well.
• Give your dog treats for doing things right. Praise your dog for small and big achievements. If he goes potty in the right spot, give him a treat; let him know he’s doing great so he can identify it as desirable behavior.
• Don’t punish your dog for making mistakes. If he happens to ‘go’ inside the house before a walk, don’t get yourself all worked up. Just clean up, keep to your schedule, and reward him when he does things correctly. Consistency is key, and you’ll be rewarded soon enough.
Another basic command you can teach your dog is ‘come.’ Be sure to practice this in a quiet area.
To do this, you can start with your dog on a leash. Gradually move away from your dog while also telling him to ‘come!’ State the command only once but stay relaxed and open. If your dog stays still, you can persuade him to head your way by waving a treat. Cheer him on with a ‘yes!’ and reward him with a treat when he heads your way.
Keep following the same formula all the while increasing the distance between you. Be sure to ‘make it a party’ whenever your dog obediently comes to you on command as this lesson can be useful in high-risk situations and keep your dog safe.
Just like teaching your dog the command to come, stay is also a very important training lesson as it can keep your dog safe in potentially dangerous situations.
Again, begin this lesson by standing close to your dog while he is in a sit or down position. As you hold your hand outward, say ‘stay.’ While he remains still, give him a treat. Move away farther and give the same command to stay in the same manner. If your dog stays in his sit or down position, give him a reward again.
Keep increasing the distance as you repeat this lesson. You can also gradually introduce distractions such as toys or other pets running around to test his discipline.
Always end lessons on a good note
Be generous with praises like ‘good boy!’ and ‘excellent job!’ as well as treats, tummy rubs, or playtime whenever your dog does well. This way, your furry pal will grow to associate lessons with positive experiences.
Pretty soon, he’ll be jumping and wagging his tail for his next canine training session with you.