Dog Training for Beginners — 10 Tips

It’s an exciting time when you bring home a new dog or puppy, it can change the dynamics of your household and fill it with fun and love, that’s the fun part. The not so fun part is that an untrained dog can cause a lot of damage that can cause unnecessary expense and headaches. If your dog is out of control, owning a pet can be a constant source of aggravation. A dog that doesn’t behave can jump up on people and get into other people’s yards and this can cause a lot of aggravation to you and your friends and neighbours. The best course of action is to train your dog and turn it into a well-trained and obedient companion. Every dog has the potential to be a well-trained and obedient pet, all it takes is someone who has the time to invest and help them become what you want in a pet. Here are 10 dog training tips for you to get started with:

1. Teach Your Dog His Name

Once you all agree on a name for your dog, you need to teach him to respond to it. If you do this properly, it will teach your dog to associate his name with love and reward. You will want to use plenty of treats to teach your dog to come to you when you say his name. Call the dog using a happy voice and then offer him a treat and pet him nicely when he comes to you. Keep repeating this over and over until the dog comes to you right away when you say his name.

2. Fit Short Training Sessions in Through the Entire Day

Training is something that you must do on a continual basis, not just one time. One-time lessons do not stay with your dog, and you will not have effectively shown them that their daily life involves obedience. It is best to carry out training in short sessions every day. When you keep the sessions short, your dog will be ready to learn because he is alert and paying attention to you. If you try to force your dog to learn when he isn’t ready for it, both of you will become frustrated. It is also much easier to fit shorter sessions into your busy schedule.

3. Find a Treat That your dog Likes

Not every dog likes the same type of reward or treat. Every dog is different, just like people, and has a unique personality, with certain dislikes and likes. A reward that your dog loves is the most effective one to use, so finding out what that is will be the best way to ensure that the dog responds positively to you and makes training easier. Some dogs enjoy treats while others want love and affection or a squeaky toy.

4. Teach Your dog the “Come” Command

You will need your dog to come to you each day and go where you need him to go. If the dog does not understand the command “come” then it can become very frustrating. You could resort to putting on a collar and leash and pulling the dog along, but that isn’t ideal. If you have found a treat that you dog likes, then this is a good option to teach your dog to come to you. You can play a game with your dog by putting a leash on the dog and saying “come” with joy in your voice. Back up until the dog catches up with you and when they arrive, reward them and say “YES!” in a very happy voice.

5. Keep Stress Away by Using Positive Words

You need to remember that dog training isn’t always going to go as well as you want it to. This should not discourage you, but you need to understand the reality of dog training. There will be times when you feel very frustrated, and it is at those times that you need to take a break. Always speak in a positive manner to your dog and about your dog. This will benefit you so you won’t feel stressed and your dog will also feel the calmness and respond to it.

6. Make Sure Everyone in the Family is on the Same Page

Dogs are just like children, they need consistency. The rules should always be the same with you and with every member of your family. Discuss with your family what behaviours are expected from the dog and then make training a family project. Everyone should encourage the good behaviours of the dog and then correct any bad behavior. All family members need to use the same signals and words when they are training the dog or giving him commands.

7. Give Short and Clear Commands

Your dog is not going to understand a long dialogue, so you need to let him know what you what with short commands. Your dog needs to know exactly what you want with short words such as “come”, “sit”, “leave it”, “down” and “stay”. Try to use these words instead of “no” which a dog may not fully understand. Specific commands let your dog know exactly what behavior you expect from them.

8. Reward Good Behaviours with Positive Attention

When your dog does something right, reward him by giving him some positive attention and speaking your approval. Give him a reward that you know he enjoys, and he will remember and tend to repeat that behaviour. Pay less or no attention to your dog when he is displaying a negative behaviour. Disobedience may need to be addressed but it is more important to reward and encourage the good behaviours.

9. Stay Consistent with What you Teach

If you don’t allow your dog on the furniture but then allow your dog up on the furniture once in a while, there will be confusion and the dog will think it is okay for them to get up on the furniture. You must be clear about your expectations and enforce the rules always. If you allow your dog to do something you don’t want it to just because they are being annoying, they will learn that this is all they need to do when they want their own way.

10. Respond to the Behaviour of Your Dog Immediately

If your dog does something you don’t like you need to let him know right away instead of getting angry about it and then taking that anger out on the dog. A dog’s short-term memory is around five minutes so if you don’t discipline them right away for a bad behaviour they are not going to know what it is that they did wrong. Punishing a dog for a behaviour that they did hours ago is unfair and cruel.

Remember that kindness and consistency is the key to getting the most desirable behaviour out of your dog. Pay attention to your dog and he will be the best pet you could ever have. Ignore him and you will have a real problem on your hands.

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