The first time that new puppy or rescue dog looks into your eyes, a thought startles you: Now you’ve got to train him! Our South Charlotte veterinarians share dog training advice for new owners.
Best Dog Training Advice
Whether you’re training your new puppy or rescue dog yourself, signing up for classes or hiring an instructor, any dog will benefit from a few critical training tips. To begin, think about having your puppy spayed or neutered when he reaches the right age, as pooches who have been “fixed” are often more calm, less aggressive, and potentially more open to training.
Set house rules
Dogs respond best to consistency in training. The time to decide what you and your family should expect of your new family member is before he arrives. What is he allowed or not allowed to do? Will he have a spot on the couch? What about in your bed? Are any rooms off limits? Setting expectations prevents confusion and indecision later.
Teach him to respond to your command to “come”
“Come!” is one of the most basic (and one of the first) your canine companion should master. When commanding him to come, always use his name, then follow up with positive reinforcement. As he matures, try the command in other scenarios, such as when he’s distracted by an interesting stick or new toy so he’ll be used to responding.
Be quick with praise and treats to reward good behavior
One of the cardinal rules of dog training is to reward good behavior with positive reinforcement, without fail. Whether your pup’s preferred love language is belly rubs, scratches in his favorite spot, a pat on the head, or a yummy treat, your dog lives to see your smile.
Puppy-proof your digs
If you’re a parent, you’ll remember preparing for your new arrival by baby-proofing your house. You’ll still have many similar issues with a new puppy - you’re on a mission to keep them safe, reduce risks of danger, and preserving prized possessions. Your four-legged friend will need a safe place such as a pen or crate to stay when he’s not being directly supervised, and safe toys that are exclusively his.
Seize opportunities for teaching moments
Just as you should aim to reward good behavior, you’ll want to train yourself to recognize teaching moments as they happen. Experienced dog owners will tell you that puppies live in the moment and need copious amounts of repetition; if you plan on enforcing a rule or lesson, it has to be done immediately after they do the deed.
Otherwise, they will have forgotten what they’ve done a few minutes later and will be truly confused and unable to connect their actions to training techniques or corrections unless they’re done right away. Consistent repetition yields results.
Pro tip: dogs do what makes them feel happy or safe
One of the most common follies of dog owners we see is that they tend to attribute human emotions to their furry friends. While we love them like one of our human family members, they’re not human. Therefore, they aren’t vengeful creatures who mean to upset or anger us. They do what makes them feel happy or safe at the time, which can be both good and bad.
Need to make sure your dog is healthy and ready for training? Our South Charlotte vets can complete a routine exam to ensure they are in good health. Contact us at Sharon Lakes Animal Hospital to book an appointment today.
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