January is national “Train Your Dog Month” so we wanted to offer some dog training tips to share with you and help you get inspired to get learning with your pup!
Some of the first questions people tend to have with training is “When should I start?” and “Is it too late?”. The answers to these questions are pretty simple. You should start as soon as you get your pup! Six weeks is typically as soon as dogs go home with their new family and that’s a great age to start training! Secondly, it’s never too late to start training! Old dogs are great at learning new tricks! Their behaviors may be more ingrained, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be changed, especially with the help of a treat…or two.
What do I do?
Before you begin training with your pup, here are some things you’ll want to think about and do!
-Get some treats!
Treats are crucial to training with your dog. Pats and praise will work as rewards for some dogs, but treats are a higher value reward and will really help motivate your pup to listen and try to do what you’re asking. We recommend getting small, low calorie treats labeled for training.
-Do your research!
We won’t spend a lot of time going into specific methods of training because there’s so many methods out there and different methods work for different dogs. Reddit and Youtube can be great resources for dog training in addition to just doing a basic search on the internet.
-Have Patience & Be Positive!
Dogs do want to please their humans, we just don’t speak exactly the same language so it can take a bit for their to be mutual understanding! It could take your dog multiple days to learn to sit and that’s okay! If you stick with it and keep a positive attitude, so will your dog!
-Keep it Short
Keep your training sessions short and sweet, but do them often! Five minutes, three times a day will probably be more productive for your dog than one fifteen minute session where both of you could easily become frustrated.
Below are some of the most common and basic “tricks” that help your pet learn general obedience:
Bonus tip: Many owners like to add a hand signal to the vocal command of tricks. Since dogs learn differently, some respond better to a hand signal than to a vocal command. It’s always good to begin with both and then you’ll have your dog focussing with more than one sense at a time!
How & What to Learn
- “Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose.
- Move your hand up, allowing his head to follow the treat and causing his bottom to lower.
- Once he’s in sitting position, say “Sit,” give him the treat, and share affection.”
- A fist is commonly used as a hand signal for the “sit” command.
- Have your dog sit and slowly back up
- Hold your hand up in the “high-five” position and say “stay” or “wait” as you slowly back up. Only take a few steps when you’re in the beginning stages of learning the trick
- Reward with a treat and praise if your pup waits!
- Before “Come” can be learned, you need to be sure your dog knows his or her name. If you’re not sure they know their name, wait for your dog to dog to focus on something other than you, then call their name. If their attention goes to you, give them a treat and praise! Some people like to say “yes” before giving a treat as a way for the dog to know they did the right thing.
- Once you’re sure your dog knows their name teach “come” in a similar way. Walk away (to the other side of the room or yard), call their name and say “come”. If the dog comes, offer a treat and praise!
- Increase the distance as you practice.
- Remember to only use “come” when your dog is not by your side and you want to get their attention and have them come to your side. Sometimes “come” can become confusing for a dog because their owner uses it in too many ways.
You can do it!
If you start with these simple tips, you’re well on your way to having an attentive and well-behaved pooch! Get creative and make up your own tricks to challenge you and your furry best friend!
Remember, as with most things with our pets, patience and consistency are KEY! You can do it!