It can be so exciting to decide on getting that family dog, finally. You may have excited children or simply be looking forward to the companionship yourself. Getting the place they are going to sleep ready, buying a stock of food and treats and even getting the collar and lead ready. Training is one of those big hurdles every new owner needs to tackle at some point, and the sooner you do it, the better journey you will potentially have.
However, many new dog owners really have no clue where to start. Sure you want to master basic commands such as sit and lie down, and even ensure that your new beloved pooch is good on the lead, but how do you go from having a dog that doesn’t listen to having one that is obedient and responds to your every word? It comes down to decent training and consistency. I wanted to share with you some of the ultimate tips to help you get started on this journey.
Choose your dogs’ name wisely
It is very tempting to pick a name straight away and decide on something you love, but actually, it is very important to consider the name choice and make a wise decision. Much like when you name a child, you take all kinds of things into consideration. Such as sound, will it go with a surname and how it may age or be for them as they get older? While these things aren’t necessarily important for your dog’s name, the same emphasis should be applied. Is it a strong name, is it easy to say, is it something and a sound they may recognise. It’s a good idea to focus on a strong sounding consonant at the end of the name, to help when training and using it. If you are rehoming a dog, you may have a name already, but changing it won’t be out of the question. If you use it consistently, then a dog will begin to recognise the name, and this could also represent a fresh start for your new pet.
Decide on the house rules that you can stick to
Before your dog has even come home, it is vitally important to establish some rules in place. You need to decide right now what your dog can and can’t do. Consider things like sitting on furniture, being in certain rooms, or will there be specific areas and beds for them to sit. Knowing this early on will help you to enforce those rules when your dog comes home, so they know right from the start where they stand on things. It is no good sending mixed messages.
Set up an area just for them
Many new owners want to be able to give their dog some space, so having an area just for them could help them feel right at home. It might be a bed in a certain part of the room, or even their own room in some cases. This enables a dog to have a place to rest that they know is theirs to use.
Relaxation is an important factor
Helong your dog to relax, especially when you first bring them home, will help you to ease them into their new environment, so consider the environment you are bringing them home from. If it is a puppy, then they may be used to sounds and warmth, so imitate the environment with a hot water bottle and ticking clock next to their bed. If a dog is coming from a shelter then they may be comforted by some noise, so leaving a radio on low or some background noise might help ease them into their new environment. This is also important to encourage relaxation after training, as it helps a dog calm itself from a fulfilling and focused session.
Tackle the important commands first
You may want them to imitate the beg position, give their paw for a handshake or roll over, but before you get to that stage, there are many basic commands that need to be accomplished first. One of the major ones being to come to you when you call. This works very well especially when being outside and taking a dog for a walk off the lead, you need them to respond and come back to you the moment you call. Practicing in your garden or in a safe environment is the best way to go about it. That is when sit and lie down can also be introduced. Once you have mastered these commands and your dog is comfortable listening to you, then you can go on to more complex training.
Use positive reinforcement techniques
It is important to reward good behaviour, and many people consider things like treats after a command is completed to encourage enthusiasm for listening and good behaviour. Make sure that the treats are tasty and interesting so that a dog will continue to do good work. Websites like Betsy Farms have a great selection. You may also want to think about the language you use. Considering the words good and great and using a positive tone will help get the message across to your pet dog.
Being consistent will help
Consistency is so important when it comes to training and using the same words and commands as well as keeping up with consistent positive reinforcement will help to get the message across. You may also want to consider training at similar times of the day so that there is a level of expectation.
Always end your training sessions on a positive note
Finally, it is always a good idea to end a training session on a positive note, even if it hasn’t been too successful. Towards the end revert back to things that your dog can accomplish so that you can continue with a positive technique at the end. Plus some affection goes a long way.
I hope these tips help you to tackle dog training quickly and effectively.