As soon as you welcome a new furry friend into the home, it’s time to start training.
All dogs are trying their very best to be good dogs, but it’s your job to help them get there. By nature, your dog craves your approval. They want to please you–so it’s important that you teach them what your expectations are.
Without a proper foundation of obedience and respect, there could be long-lasting consequences for the bond between you and your dog. Considering your dog might be a blank slate, this might feel like a lot of pressure.
But don’t worry–we’ve got some tricks that can help you simplify things. These training tips can help your precious doggo take the next step towards becoming a good boy (or girl).
12 Training Tips To Help Your Doggo Become A Good Boy
From basic commands to advanced tricks, dog training is a rewarding experience for both you and your furry best friend.
While ease of training depends on the type of dog and individual temperament, all dogs can be trained–and trained well.
With enough time and patience, you can train your dog to be the perfect companion. With these dog training techniques, you can get there in no time.
1. Learn to Speak Dog
Your dog isn’t born with an understanding of English. They don’t know what “no” or “good dog” means.
In order to communicate with your dog, you have to learn how to speak their language.
Dogs may not be able to talk, but they can tell you how they feel through body language. Learn what your dog is trying to tell you through their physical movements–like flattening the ears, wagging the tail, or moving the eyes.
In turn, use your tone of voice to communicate an emotion or command. Saying “good dog” won’t mean anything to them, but if you say it in a bright, happy tone, your dog will know what you mean.
2. Punish Bad Behavior
If you catch your dog doing something they’re not supposed to do, it’s important that you correct the behavior immediately. If you wait more than a few seconds, they’ll have forgotten why they were in trouble in the first place.
Use firm, consistent commands like “no.” You can also use a sound–like the “tsch” sound created by renowned dog trainer Cesar Millan–or one of your own creation.
3. Reward Good Behavior
Don’t just punish bad behavior–make sure you catch your puppy doing good things too. It’s easy to get caught up in the scolding when your puppy is in trouble, but you need to let your dog know when they’re doing the right thing too.
Even if it’s seemingly at random, if you see your pup doing what they’re supposed to do, show them your appreciation. Anything from vocal praise, affection, or a treat will work.
4. Don’t Reinforce Bad Habits
Dog owners can sometimes unintentionally reinforce behaviors that they don’t want to see.
If your dog jumps all over you when you get home from work, do you keep petting them? Even if you’re saying no, giving the dog attention teaches them that jumping is an acceptable way to get what they want.
A good response to jumping would be to simply turn around and give them the cold shoulder. Once they’re calm and all four paws are on the ground, then you can give them the affection they’re asking for.
Strategies like this work for bad habits like jumping, eating food off the counter, or barking at the doorbell. Be sure that you aren’t accidentally encouraging bad habits.
5. Keep a Pawsitive Attitude
If you start to get upset or frustrated during training, your dog will pick up on that.
It’s not always easy–especially if your puppy just doesn’t seem to be getting it–but when your emotions get out of check, the training will be even less effective. Negative energy will make your dog anxious, so try to keep a calm, patient, and positive attitude.
Focus on the positive, always reward your dog for a job well done, and show them just how much you love them.
6. Find Out What Motivates Your Dog
Just like humans, every dog is driven by different things. Some will go wild for treats, while others could play fetch all day long.
Get to know your dog and find out what motivates them the most. This can shape the kind of rewards you give your dog.
If they’re food motivated, try upping the ante with some tastier treats like pieces of meat or cheese. If they love to cuddle, showering them with praise and affection might be more effective.
Knowing what reward pushes them the most will help–but don’t ever just use one kind of motivator. Even if your dog loves food, mix things up by alternating with another reward.
7. Keep Them Stimulated
Dogs that are bored are dogs that get into trouble. Especially if you have a younger puppy, you need to keep them active and avoid any mischievous behavior.
Exercise them daily through play and long walks. Practice tricks with them almost every day to keep their minds sharp.
If you’re going to be away for a few hours or more, leave some chew toys behind to give your dog something to do. Otherwise, your dog might start chewing up carpets or barking excessively.
8. Help Them Socialize
The key to a well behaved dog is exposing them to a number of different situations.
Make sure you let them interact with other dogs, either at a regular outdoor area or a designated dog park. With other dogs, they’ll learn how to properly socialize and play. This can help avoid aggression or behavior issues with dogs in the future.
If your dog is aggressive or overly excitable, getting them used to being around people is crucial. Take a walk on a busy street, walk your dog past shops and restaurants, and interact with family and friends regularly.
9. Keep Things Short and Sweet
Dogs have notoriously brief attention spans. You’ll be training them one minute, and the next they’ll spot a leaf blowing in the wind and be completely thrown off.
Always keep your training sessions short. Start out with just 5 to 10 minutes of training at a time, and slowly increase as your dog matures.
Be sure to end each session on a positive note. You can review something the dog already knows and give them a treat and plenty of praise for their success.
When you first start training, make sure you’re conducting training sessions in the same place each time. Familiarity, consistency, and brevity will help your pup learn without getting bored or frustrated.
10. Be the Pack Leader
All of your efforts will go to waste if your dog doesn’t respect you. Make sure your dog knows that you’re the boss.
A dog who takes on the role of pack leader will be more aggressive, and may even ignore your commands. It’s important that you remain calm and assertive. Don’t lose control during a training session.
Assert yourself as the alpha of your household. The dog should look to you for cues, not the other way around.
11. Stick to the Script
Dogs are creatures of habit. Remember, they don’t speak English and will easily lose track of words if you mix up your terminology.
Be consistent with all of your commands. If you say “down” one day and then “lie down” the next, your dog will quickly get confused.
Start every session by reviewing the tricks your dog has already learned, and then slowly introducing new ones.
If it helps, you can create a training schedule with all of your training times and a vague lesson plan. Just be sure to keep it flexible–you can make note of how quickly your dog is progressing and adjust it according to that.
12. Puppy Kindergarten
All dog owners want to make sure their furry friends are well trained and happy. But not everybody has the time or the resources to make that happen.
While you should always be conducting some of the training yourself, you don’t have to do it alone. Look around your in area for dog training programs. Some of them are daycare options where you can drop off your dog, while others will allow you to participate alongside other dog owners.
There’s no shame in asking for help–especially when your dog’s well being is on the line.
If you’re looking for more resources, try Canine Weekly for more information on training, breed specific behavior, and dog wellness.
Start with the Basics
Teaching your dog basic obedience with these training tips will do more than make your life easier–it will deepen the bond of trust between you and your dog.
Your dog is always looking to please, and they’ll be satisfied by making you happy and reaping the rewards of great behavior. You’ll be happy with a manageable, well-behaved dog.
It might seem like hard work at times, but the result—a happy, patient, obedient doggo–is well worth the effort.
Looking for more ways to live a happy life with your pooch? Check out our website for more!