Adding a new dog is the same as getting a new member to the family and is an exciting time. Regardless of your dog’s age – either an 8-week-old puppy or a weathered senior dog – training is a great way to build a special bond between your dog and yourself. Having a dog that is well trained will allow the dog to better blend with the family, making both dog and owner happier. While training can be frustrating and overwhelming at times, we have compiled a list of the top tips that the professional trainers swear by.
Dog Training Tips the Trainers Swear By
Be Consistent with Training
This can be true in two different ways. For one, make sure the same words are always being used. If you want the command “down” to mean “get off the counter” then don’t also use the word “down” to tell your dog to “lay down”. It is important that all members of your family are using the same words for each command. Secondly, be careful with rewarding bad behavior. If you don’t want your dog to jump, make sure every time he jumps he is corrected. Giving your dog a correction only 80% of the time he jumps, and petting his head the other 20% of the time is going to send a mixed message to your dog.
Remember the 3 Ds of Training
This is very important when learning a new behavior and then expanding on the behavior. First, get the dog to perform the behavior. Then add in a command to associate with the behavior. Next, add in the 3 Ds. Duration, Distance, and Distraction. If your dog can sit on command, have them learn to sit longer, with you a farther distance away, and with other distractions to make sure he knows to focus on you giving him the command.
Keep the Training Sessions to Just a Few Minutes
Dogs, especially young dogs, do not have a long attention span. Just a few minutes to perform the behavior is all that is required. Repeat short training sessions throughout the day to get the most benefit from training. Having your dog work for longer than he can focus is just going to lead to a bored and frustrated dog (and owner).
Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Your dog is not going to be the next Lassie after one training session, and an 8-week-old puppy is not going to be able to perform tricks and stunts seen in the movies. Remember that a young dog is like a baby. While adults walk and talk all day long, it is exciting for a baby to take a first step and learn a new word, and your dog will not be any different. Praise your puppy for learning to sit, to potty outside, or to come when he hears his name called. Work on consistency and increase with the 3 Ds of training discussed earlier. Eventually, your dog will learn new, impressive behaviors with consistent training.
How to Choose a Pet Trainer
Most people choose their dog trainer based on either a personal recommendation from friends or because they appear to be well-qualified. We believe it is a matter of meeting the trainer so you can decide if the trainer is a good fit for you and your pet.
While we at Sunset Veterinary Clinic provide veterinarian services, we don’t provide any training. Look around to find a list of trainers to meet with in the Edmond area. Call, make appointments, bring a list of all your questions and make an informed decision of who to go with.