You’ve just welcomed a new puppy or rescue dog into your home and now comes the challenge (and fun) of training your new four-legged family member. To get you started, our Greensboro veterinarians share a few helpful dog training tips.
Our Best Dog Training Advice
Whether you choose to train your new puppy or rescue dog yourself, hire an instructor or head to classes, every pooch can benefit from some essential training tips.
We see a lot of dogs on a regular basis at our clinic, and the best-trained ones respect their owner as the alpha. They've also been trained with consistency and love in mind, so they always know what to expect.
To start with a good foundation, consider having your puppy spayed or neutered when they reach an appropriate age, as dogs who have been “fixed” are often less aggressive, calmer and potentially more open to training.
Set Firm House Rules
When it comes to training, dogs respond best to consistency. It’s only fair to be clear with yourself and your family on what you expect of your new pup before you bring them home.
Decide what your pup is and isn’t allowed to do. Can your new fur baby sleep in your bed? Stake out a spot on the couch? What about rooms - are any rooms off-limits? Clarifying your expectations avoids confusion and indecision later in the process.
Teach Your Dog to Come On Command
One of the first basic commands your furry friend will need to master is “Come!” Always use your pet's name when commanding them to come and follow up with positive reinforcement when they obey.
As your pet develops, try the command in other situations, such as when their attention is elsewhere, and get your pup used to responding to the command in any situation.
Reward Good Behavior & Be Quick With Treats or Praise
One of the first tenets of dog training is to always reward good behavior with positive reinforcement. Whether it’s a pat on the head, belly rubs, scratches in their favorite spot or a treat or toy, your pup will learn fastest if rewarded for good behavior quickly and consistently.
Puppy-Proof Your House
If you have kids, you’ll remember child-proofing your house to keep them safe and reduce risk of danger - or your prized possessions getting destroyed. Do the same for your puppy by providing a safe place to put your pup whenever they are not being directly supervised, such as a crate or pen, with safe toys that are exclusively theirs.
Don’t Delay Teaching Moments
Just as you want to reward good behavior, you want to recognize teaching moments as they happen. Seasoned dog owners will tell you that pups live in the moment and need lots of repetition.
If you’re going to enforce a rule or lesson, it has to be done immediately after they do the deed - they’ve already forgotten what they’ve done a few minutes later, so they will truly be confused and unable to make the association between their actions and corrections or training techniques unless they’re done right away. Consistent repetition gets great results.
Remember: Dogs Do What Makes Them Feel Safe & Happy
One of the most common mistakes we see dog owners make is that they attribute human emotions to their four-legged friends.
While we love them dearly and they feel like a member of the family, they’re not human, meaning they aren’t vengeful creatures who plan to upset us or trick us. They do what makes them feel happy or safe at the time, and that can be both good and bad.Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.