Easy At-Home Dog Training Tips
Whether you adopted your first ‘quarantine pup’ or added another fur baby to your family, puppy training is imperative to ensure your dog can live its happiest, most stress-free life. Many of us are staying home a lot more, so now is the perfect chance to dedicate some quality time to training your pooch. Whether you’re building a foundation of discipline for a new puppy or simply want to freshen up your dog’s listening skills, there are some things to keep in mind and easy tips you can follow to make training time more fun for all involved.
Consistency is key
Make sure everyone in your household knows the rules. If your dog is not allowed on the couch, no one should be letting them up there. Sometimes training can be as much for you as for your dog.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement means encouraging good behaviors and NOT punishing bad ones. While it may be frustrating to have your puppy wet the carpet yet again, don’t scold them, this will only lead to more anxiety about potty time. Instead, let your dog know when they’ve done the correct behavior – even if it wasn’t a command – with lots of praise.
Read the Room
We all have our off days, and so do dogs. If your pup is distracted, tired or otherwise not cooperating, move on and save training for another time. There’s no use frustrating yourself and your pooch!
Tips & Tricks – For You!
Start with the 7 Basic Commands
Sit, Stay, Down, Come, Off, Don’t Touch/Leave It, Heel (Leash Training) – these tend to be the most useful and easiest to learn, start with “Sit” as it is simple and will help your dog with learning to listen.
Fewer distractions are vying for your pup’s attention. For leash training, you’ll of course want to be outside, but try a quiet street or your backyard.
Work on One Trick or Behavior at a Time
Dogs, and puppies especially, have short attention spans! 10-15 is a good starting time.
Try Clicker Training
Especially useful for tricks like shake/paw or naming toys to play hide ’n seek.
Build on Experience
If something isn’t working, try it a new way. Use different methods until you find something that works.
We’ve said it before, but it is the most important thing for you to do. Use the same word for each trick and teach it consistently. Always praise good actions and try to build a training routine.
Learning new things takes time, so be willing to work with your pet for a few weeks until they get the hang of things. Then be sure to continue being consistent with your praise and upholding the ground rules. Just like for us, bad habits are easy to form and harder to forget.
When in Doubt, Trust the Experts!
Happy Hound offers tailored Doggie Training courses provided by experienced, professional dog trainers. Use Happy Hound services to supplement your training at home, or we can do all the hard work for you!
Is It Ever Too Late to Start Training a Dog?
We all know the phrase, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but like many sayings, it’s just not true. Whether you let training fall by the wayside for your puppy or you adopted a dog from the shelter that needs a little discipline, there is no reason you can’t train an older dog.
Mature dogs tend to have longer attention spans, probably already know how to listen to commands – even if they’re quite not sure what to do – and understand some human words or actions. Plus, new adoptees are often eager to please and will appreciate the extra attention.
Some things to consider when working with an older dog are:
- Give them more time: Aging dogs tend to move slower, some tricks may need to be modified.
- Consider their health: Try to not do anything too strenuous or for too long.
- They may need to ‘unlearn’: Note any bad habits or behaviors and work to correct their actions.
- Rescues may need extra considerations: Be sure not to scold or punish a rescue (or any dog, for that matter), they may have experienced trauma in the past, so be gentle.
Training can be hard work, both for the pet and for you, but it is rewarding and, when done right, fun! It requires consistency, patience, individualized techniques and, of course, plenty of positive reinforcement (read: pets & treats). Always reward good behavior, but never punish them for making a mistake. Dogs want to please you and like to learn: mental stimulation will keep them busy, well-behaved and happy.
Happy Hound offers expert training courses taught by experienced trainers. Our two week Dream Dog course is recommended for all puppies and our programs are tailored to best suit your dog’s breed, temperament and experience. At the end of the course, your pup will show off their impressive new skills at Graduation, and you’ll come home with a dog that knows the basic commands as well as how to handle separation anxiety, have manners around others and will be potty trained (if needed). Happy Hound offers several other options for training including our 4 day Good Dog Package, for those needing minimal assistance, all the way up to our 21-day Celebrity Rehab & Socialization Package or 28-day Passive Aggressive Recovery Package, for those needing more help with aggression and socialization. We can also add training sessions while your pooch is staying with us for Doggy Daycare! Fully customize your experience at Happy Hounds so that your doggo, and you, can lead their happiest life. Learn more about training program options here.