Training a new puppy can be daunting. They like to pee in the house, chew up your shoes, and cause general mischief. While it can be aggravating, dog training when done correctly can be rewarding in the end when your new best friend is well behaved! While it can get some getting-used-to since you have to rearrange the house and change your daily routine, training your pet should never be too hard! Here are some tips on how to train your dog with ease.
Look no further! Here are the best dog-training tips to keep you sane in your early doggy mom/dad days:
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BASICS OF TRAINING:
Understanding Your Dog
Remember: Your dog doesn’t know English! He won’t be able to understand you right off the bat if you’re yelling commands or tricks at him. He’s basically like a baby as well, since he’s just getting used to everything. Everything will take time, especially when you’re first learning to bond with your pup. Understanding why he barks and his body language will greatly help you understand his wants and needs.
Puppy-proofing your House
Once again, your pup is like a baby. If you give him something to destroy in front of him, he will do it! Create a space for your pup, preferably on hardwood floors so it’s easy to clean so that he doesn’t get into anything he’s not supposed to. Remove anything from the bottom shelves and close, or even babyproof, your pantries.
If your pup can’t find anything to destroy, he won’t do it! This will save you the hassle of getting mad at your pup! After all, not in sight, not in mind, right? Eventually, when your furry friend grows up, it should be safe to remove the locks and put everything back into place. He shouldn’t be finding the need to chew on everything once he’s older!
Patience is Key
I can’t stress this one enough. Being patient is the most important thing to remember when training a puppy. Your pup may not be able to understand you right off the bat, it’s important to remember that it takes time and daily training to train your little furry friend! When you find yourself on a short fuse, be sure to take a break so that your pup doesn’t get the short end of the stick!
Much like children, puppies don’t understand what is happening when you yell at them, and it can cause harm to your relationship with them. Praise good behavior rather than punishing bad behavior. Avoiding yelling, as this may cause your pup to become defensive and start to bark or bite. If your pup makes a mistake, clean up their mess and ignore them for a little bit. Because your pup constantly wants your attention, you can safely ‘punish’ them by ignoring them completely, as this lets them know they did something bad without having them become defensive!
What Motivates Your Pup?
Does he like treats? Toys? Affection? Knowing what your pup wants from you can make life much easier! This may sound simple, but it may take some time to figure out what makes your pup want to listen to you!
Timing is Everything
Don’t teach your pup tricks in one sitting. It can often confuse your pet, and end up with results you never wanted in the first place! Instead, train your pet throughout the day in short bursts, so they can retain more knowledge! Be sure to always keep a handful of treats on you as well, so if your pup happens to do something good, give them a treat! Reinforce good behavior with treats your pup wants!
Set house rules early on.
Set boundaries on what your furry friend can and can’t do in the house. Remember, these rules shouldn’t change for their whole lives! Are they allowed to go upstairs or downstairs? Should they be able to go on the bed? How about the couch? By setting these boundaries, your pup will know who’s the boss of the house. It may take time for them to understand where they’re allowed to go, but this is key in keeping them well trained.
Keep in mind that once you allow them on the couch more than once, there’s no going back. They will always want to jump up and cuddle with you on “hooman” furniture. If you want to keep your expensive furniture neat and slobber-free, here’s a list of the best couch covers to buy.
Teach them not to bite
This one is a little tricky, depending on the temperament of your dog. If they’re friendly and they’re a puppy, they may just be teething. Still, it should be an important part of dog training to teach your dog it isn’t okay to bite humans! Whenever your pup even play bites you, let out a little scream and get away from your pup. Immediately ignore them, as this will let them know that you’re upset at them. Eventually, this should discourage their biting habits.
Also, be sure to give them plenty of chew toys, so they have something to bite on! This is important, because if they have nothing to bite on, they may end up going for furniture or pillows!
Make sure any punishments or rewards are given on “dog time”
Your dog has the focus of a jittery squirrel. When they do something good, be sure to give them a treat right away, so they know what did was good! If they did something bad, be sure to immediately ignore them. This will reinforce good behavior and deter bad behavior! Make sure to keep a pocket full of treats just for these small victories.
Stop the Bark
Like any dog, your dog will probably gain a habit of barking at anything and everything. Barking can be tricky to handle, but is definitely worth it in the long run. Start young and early, and try to be consistent. If your dog barks, try to stop them immediately. If you let them bark at some things and not others, it will be a lot harder to stop them from barking.
The doorbell training technique is the easiest one to start with. Simply ring the doorbell, and wait for your pup to start barking. If they are quiet, immediately say, “Quiet!” and give them a treat. This training technique will take a lot of time for your pup to understand, so be sure to do this frequently and even daily!
Don’t encourage jumping behavior
Your pup will like to jump. Even if they’re cute and small, jumping can be quite a nuisance! Normally, the best time to train them is when they get excited, like during dinner or when you come back home to them. As much as you want to, don’t immediately pet them! Wait until they calm down and stop jumping, then start petting them. The same should be applied during dinner, when they start jumping, don’t put down the bowl until they sit still!
Praise the pup when they pee!
Just like most training, positive reinforcement is vital for housetraining a puppy. Whenever your pup successfully pees or poops outside, give them treats and lots of praise! With patience, this will result in them realizing what correct behavior consists of. Much like babies, puppies tend to have accidents too. Accidents that happen when you are not present should NOT be scolded – recall that pups have their own sense of time, and any punishments will not be correlated back to the accident. Simply just clean up, and bring your pup outside. The best gauge of when your pup needs to pee is when you need to pee!
Set a consistent schedule
Another vital step for house training a pup is consistency. To do this, try and wake up at a similar time every morning to take your pup out. Feed the pup at the same time every day if possible, and try and take them out to pee directly afterwards. In time, you may come to be able to predict when your pup will need to go to the bathroom, and react accordingly. Your pup should be able to adapt to your household’s needs as well, like playing when you are home, and sleeping when you are not!
Be aware of the signs your pup may give off
If you observe your pup circling around and pacing, it may be a sign they need to relieve themselves. Keep an eye out for this behavior, especially so the younger the puppy. Often, puppies are unable to control their bladders until they are 12 weeks old. Sometimes, older dogs may pace by the door, or even start to bark at it.
There is a bell technique that some trainers use! By giving your pup a bell to ring, they can alert you when they need to go outside. This helps correlate that ringing the bell means going outside! Normally, this is done with your pup pawing at the bell to alert you that they may need to go to the bathroom.
Make a “keyword” for your pup
Try using a keyword when telling your pup to go out. By using words and phrases such as “outside” and “go pee” every time your pup goes to the bathroom, it allows the pup to correlate those phrases with taking care of their business. This may actually bring you ease, because if you want them to go earlier than their usual time, using the keyword would make them go earlier!
Use a crate or training pads
When inside a crate, a puppy will instinctively not want to soil the area it will lie down in, teaching it to hold it in. However, ensure to let the pup out of the cage every once in a while, as it will eventually have no choice but to relieve itself. If you don’t have the schedule for this approach, an alternative option is the use of training pads.
Set up a room with a non-absorbent floor, and place the pup’s toys at one end and the training pad at the other. Since puppies often go to the bathroom on absorbent materials, it is likely that they will prefer to use the pad. However, just be aware that this method will take longer than if you used a crate.
Use a front clip harness if your pup pulls on the leash
If your pup pulls on the leash, a front clip harness is effective at controlling this behavior. Collars and back clip harnesses actually promote pulling more than stopping it, by directing the pup’s attention away from you when you try to control them. The harness will actually be less damaging on your puppy’s neck area, if they’re a puller. Since the harness wraps around their body, it’ll be less likely they’ll hurt themselves as well!
Let your pup sniff around
Let your pup know what their surroundings have. By letting them sniff around at your side, they’ll eventually get used to smells, and it would help them be less jumpy. The more comfortable they are with your neighborhood, the less likely they’ll tug on your leash! Smelling also provides pups with mental stimulation, making them calmer and less anxious in general.
Consider the clicker
The clicker is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a device that clicks when you use it! Professional trainers use this method, because the idea is that the clicker can eventually replace the treat. Whenever your pup does something good, give them a click, then a treat! The clicker can then signify that your furry friend did something positive, and they consider it praise! This is more for those pups who can easily get overweight from too many treats, so the clicker is a great alternative.
Use SPECIAL treats
During training, it’s best to give your pup something they think is important! This will help reinforce good behavior. Rather than simply using biscuits or dog food, try something more delicious! Try pieces of chicken or cheese, but if your dog has a sweet tooth, try banana chunks or apple slices. These delicious treats will let your pup know that these tricks are worth doing, especially if they get great food in the end!
In the end, training your pup is easy! It just takes a lot of time and patience. By keeping these tips in mind, as well as daily training, your dog will be able to learn anything you teach him! The key to a well-behaved dog is simply love, patience, and repetition.