Depending on your new dog’s breed, temperament, and age, some training is probably in order. But don’t worry, here are five training tips you and your dog can easily master.
1. Determine the Rules Before He Comes Home
Is your dog going to be allowed on the bed or will he sleep in a crate at night? Will parts of your home be off-limits or will you let your new dog roam freely? It is important to determine your new house rules before you bring your dog home to avoid any confusion during the training process.
Make sure you and your family are on the same page, so everyone knows what your new addition can and can’t do. With a plan in place, the training process will go much more smoothly, and you will have more eyes on your dog to praise him when he does the right thing and help him avoid behaviors that may get him in trouble.
2. For Best Results, Use Positive Reinforcement
Dogs and puppies don’t think like humans, and one of the quickest ways canines learn is through positive reinforcement. This could include praising your pup in a warm, kind tone, petting him, or better yet, treats!
Whether you are training your dog to go to the bathroom outside or teaching him a new trick, immediately rewarding him with something he loves will help strengthen the connection of the ideal behavior. In fact, scolding your dog when he does something bad (negative reinforcement) may just make him scared and confused. By reinforcing the right behavior, it will soon become second nature.
3. Ignore Rather Than Scold
If you find your dog engaging in problematic behavior, try ignoring him rather than yelling at him. For example, if your pup jumps up on you or your guests, simply turn your back and ignore him for a few minutes. Or, if you find your dog chewing on your new shoe, try replacing the item with one of his toys and ignoring him. This will help teach your dog that he won’t get any reaction from you at all and eventually the behavior should stop.
There may be times where you do need to scold your dog—try using a firm tone of voice rather than yelling, and never, ever use physical violence on your pet.
4. Set Up Your Dog’s Own Private Space
Whether your dog will have a whole room to himself or a cozy crate, it is important that you set up a private den for your new companion. This not only provides him a safe space to relax and sleep but can also be a valuable housetraining tool, as he will not want to go to the bathroom in his den.
Be sure to avoid using his crate as punishment or “time out”—your dog needs to form a positive association with this space so he can feel safe and comfortable.
5. Stay Positive & Patient
Training dogs and especially puppies take time and patience. Don’t forget that your new friend is a canine—they behave in ways that make them feel safe and happy, not to make you mad.
Stay positive and patient throughout the training process because your new dog may sense when you are angry! By rewarding good behavior and staying persistent, your new friend will be the best-behaved dog on the block in no time!