Bringing a new dog home can fill your house with the fun and love that only a canine companion can provide. Unfortunately, an untrained dog can eventually put a serious damper on that joy. When your dog is out of control, pet ownership develops into a nonstop headache.
A disobedient, destructive dog is every owner’s worst nightmare. Imagine your couch cushions ripped, your flooring torn up and your walls scratched. Dog hair is everywhere it’s not supposed to be, and constant barking interrupts your favorite shows.
When your dog continuously misbehaves, their behavior jeopardizes your relationships, with your family, your neighbors, and your friends. For their sake– and your own sanity– you must get your dog under control.
The good news is that every dog has the potential to be a well-trained, obedient pooch. No puppy was born understanding what it means to be a “good dog”. Rather, they grew into well-behaved dogs because someone invested the time to help them get there.
With the investment of a bit of time and effort, your dog can be the best pup on the block. Teaching obedience is a process, but the following dog training tips will get you started. As with all training, consistency is key. Enlisting the supplemental aid of a pet sitter from a pet sitting service like Love & Dogs would be very helpful in maintaining that consistency.
Keep stress at bay with positive words
The first thing to remember is that training your dog isn’t always going to go as smoothly as you would like. I say this not to discourage you, but to help keep things in perspective. There are times that the process will frustrate you. Keep yourself and your pet sitter focused on the routine and you will see progress.
How you talk about training can make all the difference in your attitude, however. Resolve to speak positively to and about your dog. It’s all about tone with your pet. Both you and your pet will benefit from taking a low-stress approach to training. It will enhance your relationship and help your pet learn quicker.
Fit training into your life with short sessions throughout the day
Training isn’t a one-time thing. You can’t expect to devote eight hours of your weekend to the process and then be finished with it. Not only will the lessons not stick with your dog, but you won’t have effectively demonstrated that obedience should be part of daily life.
Your dog loses focus after a few minutes, becoming bored with whatever you’re trying to impart. Instead, do your training in short snippets each and every day, keeping them short and interesting, taking most advantage of when your dog is alert and ready to learn. Instead of wasting your time trying to force your dog to train when he’s no longer up for it, maximize your effort for best results. Short sessions are easier to fit into a busy schedule and you can enlist the aid of a pet sitter to perform them on their drop-ins during the day.
Teach your dog to come, since you’ll use this command regularly
Every day, you’re going to need to get your dog to go where you want them to go. If they don’t understand the command to come, then you’ll either have to prod them along or break down and carry them.
Having a dog who comes right away when called is so much easier. There is a game that will both teach your dog to come and to acquaint them with, and overcome any trepidation regarding, a leash. Put your dog on a leash, say, “Come!” and then back up until your dog catches up to you. When she arrives, give her a reward and enthusiastically exclaim, “Yes!” At first you may have to wait a bit, until your pet is confident enough to walk to you. Once they become acclimated to a leash it will go much faster.
Get your family and pet sitter on board, so everyone is working together
Dogs need consistency. The rules in your house should be the same, whether the pooch is hanging with you, your partner or your kids.
A family meeting to outline the behaviors that you expect from your dog is a good start. Then, make the training a group effort, in which everyone encourages good actions and corrects misbehavior. Everybody should use the same words and signals to communicate with the dog.
This is one of those situations where having a pet sitter can be very advantageous. A big portion of your pet’s day is spent alone. Kids are at school, parents are at work, and your pet is alone, either in their crate or wandering about. Having your pet sitter drop by to let them out and play a couple of training games with your pet can break up their day and keep them entertained, perhaps saving your furniture.
Issue specific commands that communicate what you want
Your dog doesn’t speak English, so he doesn’t need a lengthy conversation on proper behavior. Get to the point with quick commands.
Specific words will let your dog know exactly what you expect. Teaching your dog to respond to “sit,” “come,” “down,” “stay” and “leave it” will keep everyone calmer and happier.
Use these words more often than the less specific “no,” which your dog might find open to interpretation. These specific commands let your pup know exactly what behavior you expect.
Follow through, so your dog knows that you mean what you say.
If you tell your dog not to sit on the couch, but then let them up there three times out of four, they’ll rightly think that it’s okay to lounge on the couch. Be clear with yourself about what expectations are, and enforce those guidelines regularly.
Don’t let nudging, barking or whining encourage you to slack off. If you give in just because they’re being a nuisance, they’ll learn that’s all it takes to get their own way.
Respond to your dog’s behavior right away, so it’s fresh in their mind
A dog’s short term memory is only about five minutes long. If you wait to discipline your dog for an infraction, he probably won’t remember what he did unless you do it within that window. This makes the discipline not only unfair but also ineffective.
Offer chew toys as an outlet for your dog’s need to chew
Chewing is a normal dog activity, but don’t take that to mean that your dog should be allowed to gnaw on you, your shoes or your furniture. Direct that behavior to toys and chew bones instead.
To maintain your dog’s interest in toys and chew bones, rotate them out regularly. Not only do they become bored with the same toys but too much at once and they can’t focus.
Set limits that can grow as your dog matures
When you bring a new dog home, they don’t need to be given free reign of the entire house. Give them a smaller, secure area to explore at first. Choose a space that won’t be easily damaged by an untrained dog, and close off other areas with doors or gates.
As your dog becomes more comfortable in your home and has demonstrated trustworthy behavior, open up more of your home to them. This also makes life easier for your pet sitter. Be sure to keep them in the loop as your pet’s privileges evolve.
Let your dog have a space of their own for down time
Every dog should be given their own bed, shared with no other person or pet. Once they learn to relax calmly in this area, they’ll appreciate the downtime. To teach them to rest quietly in their bed, offer rewards for relaxing in that spot.
Remember that realistic expectations will keep discouragement at bay
Dog training isn’t an overnight process, and sometimes you might feel that you aren’t making much progress. Although some training programs might advertise that your pup will be fully obedient after just six lessons, but training is really a lifelong process.
Sometimes your dog will obey just as you wish, and other times getting good behavior out of them might be more of a struggle. It doesn’t mean that they’re a bad dog or that you’re a bad owner. It just means that you’re both still a work in progress.