Whether you’ve just acquired a new puppy or you’ve been tasked with taking in a dog that exhibits questionable behavior, it’s helpful to know how to train a dog. While many people are overwhelmed by the prospect of turning a problem puppy into a diligent master of attention and obedience, training is actually quite easy. All it takes is a positive attitude, a few treats and a few minutes of your time every day. Keep in mind that training is exceptionally important if you have a new dog. It is a key component of bonding, as well as an essential practice if you want to develop and maintain a positive relationship with your furry friend.
When can I start training my dog?
It is okay to start training right away as long as the puppy is at least 8 weeks old. Just keep it short and simple. Your puppy’s attention span may be as little as 5 minutes, and that’s fine. Training of any kind will be beneficial. Likewise, training is an excellent opportunity to bond with your puppy.
What will I need to train my dog?
You will need, at least, a leash and some quality dog treats. For the first 1 or 2 weeks after you bring your puppy home, keep him on a leash when he is out of his cage so that he will bond with you and stay out of trouble. You’ll also need some tasty treats to reward your dog. While any training treat from a pet store will do, smaller ones are usually better. A clicker is a must if you want to conduct clicker training, but that’s about it. Likewise, you can opt to keep your puppy on a leash indoors until you have fully potty trained him. While this may take a few months, keeping him on a leash is the only way to make sure he doesn’t sneak out for a minute to relieve himself inside the house. It is also possible to keep an older dog at home on a leash for a few weeks if you have adopted him. He may not react well depending on his mood, but this should help you forge a bond. You should still keep your dog on a leash if you are going to train him outdoors in a fenced area. You can also just use your dog’s food as a treat if he seems to particularly like it.
What is the first thing you should train your puppy to do?
It will be hard to teach your puppy to do anything if he doesn’t know when to look at you. When your puppy looks away, say his name. If he looks at you (even if it’s just because you made a noise), give him a treat and some praise. Do this regularly throughout the first few days you have the puppy and he will soon learn his name.
This is the first thing to teach an older dog if you are going to change his name. While it may take a little longer for an adult dog to learn his new name, it shouldn’t be too difficult if you are positive and understanding. Avoid using nicknames at first. You should use the exact same name each time you do it to keep the process simple.
How do you teach a dog to sit?
Take a treat and hold it just above the dog’s nose. Say “Sit” and gently lift the treat a little higher above his head.
The dog should follow the treat up and get into a sitting position so he can follow the treat more comfortably. If he sits, give him the treat. If he doesn’t, step back and wait for him to calm down before trying again. Keep doing this until the puppy no longer needs the treat to move to sit. After a week or two of training him this way, omit the treat altogether so that he only needs the verbal command.
“Sit” is the best command to start with, as it is the most natural command for dogs and is the basis for many other commands.
How can I teach a dog to stay put?
Have your dog get into a lying position and give him the command.
You can use “Stop”, “Stay” or whatever command you want. Wait a few seconds. If the dog stays still, give him the treat. Repeat the procedure over and over again increasing the amount of time between the command and the reward. As you continue to work on it, have him stay and then try backing away from the dog or placing the treat on the floor away from you. If the dog stays where he is, give him the reward. Keep working on the duration and distance between the dog and the reward. The longer you can get him to stay still, the more he will respond to the command in the future.
When giving the dog a treat, use a command to indicate that he can get up. For example, it can be “Free” or “Go away”.
How do you train a puppy to relieve himself?
Take your puppy out on a schedule and bring treats. Take your dog out at regular intervals. As a general rule, he needs to relieve himself first thing in the morning, just before bedtime, 1 to 2 hours after eating and drinking, and after intense exercise or play. Try to stick to a schedule so that the dog gets used to relieving himself in the same place each time, and take treats with you on the walk. Reward your dog every time he does his business outside.
A puppy can hold its bladder 1 hour for every month since birth. So, a 2 month old puppy can hold it for 2 hours, a 4 month old puppy can hold it for 4 hours, etc.
If you can’t take him out during the day while you work, consider hiring a dog walker or asking a neighbor to help you so that the dog can relieve himself during the day. If you have problems with accidents in the middle of the night, you could stop your dog’s water intake 2 hours before bedtime. If your dog doesn’t stop relieving himself in the same place every day, keep taking him there.
Celebrate every time he does his business outside.
When your dog does his business outside, reward him with lots of petting, hugs, and verbal praise. Yes, it may be silly to throw a little party in the street just because your dog has pooped, but it’s actually the best way to get him to want to do his business outside in the future. If he is actively eager to relieve himself outside, he will learn to hold it in when he feels like doing it inside. It can take months to fully potty train a puppy, so be consistent and patient. You should still do this with an older dog that you train. He will want to do the right thing, but he won’t know what to do if you don’t celebrate his success.
Avoid yelling or getting angry if he makes a mistake.
Your first reaction is not likely to be positive if you notice that your dog has done his business inside. Remind yourself right away that your dog is not doing it to annoy you. He wanted to relieve himself and either doesn’t understand why he can’t do it inside or he wanted to so badly that he just had to do it. Take a deep breath and clean up the mess. Avoid yelling at your dog or punishing him. If you catch your dog in the act in the future, you can either pick him up and take him outside as soon as possible or make a small noise and lead him outside. If he finishes relieving himself outside, give him a treat, say “You did great!” or something similar, and clean up the partial mess he made inside.
This also applies if you have an older dog. You should never yell at him if you want him to develop positive behaviors.
- As a general rule, ignoring negative behaviors and turning your back on your dog is a much better way to get him to stop chewing on furniture or your hand.
- When working with a new dog, it will help to carry a bag full of treats with you wherever you go. You never know when you’ll want to reward a behavior, and there are plenty of opportunities to train your dog on walks, visits to the dog park and visits to a friend’s house.
- If a dog doesn’t listen to a command, avoid repeating it. Just wait a moment, get his attention again and then try again. If you keep saying “sit, sit, sit, sit” and at that point your dog sits, he may start to think the command is “sit, sit, sit, sit” and not “sit.”
Disclaimer: “The advice in this article is for reading purposes only. Always seek professional advice before following any
of the methods/ advice in this article”