If you're unsure what dog training looks like, then you're probably not alone because many new dog owners don't know how to begin training. The training process might look different for all dogs, but it's not impossible to learn a new behavior. You don't need any special qualifications to get started. As a beginner, you can teach your pup the basic commands such as sitting, staying still, coming when called, going into their crate when asked, and pottying outside.
Taking it step-by-step makes the process much easier and less overwhelming. By breaking up the project into small goals you can work through over time, you will be able to teach your dog and reinforce behavior successfully.
What are the Benefits of Training Your Dog?
Teaching your new puppy basic obedience gives them the freedom to safely engage in activities they enjoy, such as running off without a leash and joining you when meeting friends and family. Dogs are intelligent animals that love to learn, so training is also a great way to keep them stimulated and prevent boredom.
How do Dogs Learn?
A training session should always focus on rewards. To reinforce specific behavior, provide your pup with something they truly love, such as treats, toys, or praise every time they do something correctly. Take the time to discover what rewards it enjoys the most – this will make learning more enjoyable and efficient. A few of their favorites may be small pieces of meat or cheese – the tastier the treat, the better you'll both do.
Below are some of the basic training you can give your dog. You will learn different training methods and other tips to make sure your puppies learn how to follow your command.
Come when Called
- Gently call your dog's name or the word "come" while you both stay in the same place.
- After calling your pup's name or the word "come," reward them with something delicious, even if they don't come to you. It's all about letting them know that a treat follows when they hear their name.
- After rewarding your dog, place another treat near them on the ground. As soon as they finish it, call out their name again. When they look up at you, give them another tasty treat. This will help them associate the word with treats and positive feelings.
- Repeating this process multiple times will help increase the distance from which your pup can respond to their name. Be sure not to overuse their name by calling it too often if they don't respond, as this will make it easier for them to ignore it. If this happens, approach your pup and start the process again from a closer range so they can successfully react when you call out their name.
- Make the game even more enjoyable by introducing a bit of movement. Once they can turn and face you when you call their name, throw a treat onto the ground. You can take a few quick steps away while calling out their name. Your pup will likely follow after you, as chasing is fun.
- As a dog trainer, you can reinforce your dog when they come to you with lots of positive reinforcement like praise and treats, or play a game of tug-of-war. Make sure that coming to you is enjoyable. As you continue this training, slowly increase the distance and practice in different environments. If you are training outdoors, keeping your pup on a long leash is best until they have mastered the skill.
You can try two methods to train your dog on what sit means. They are called luring and capturing.
- Get down on the ground in front of your pup, holding a tasty treat to lure them in.
- Place the treats right in front of your puppy's nose, then slowly lift it above their head. They will likely sit as they raise their head to reach for the treat.
- Give them the treat when their hind end touches the ground.
- After one or two repetitions with the food lure, remove it and use your empty hand to entice your pup. Be sure to reward them still after they sit.
- Once the dog learns the hand signal for sitting, use the word "sit" before you give the cue.
- Position yourself in front of your puppy, holding a few of their favorite treats or dog food.
- Position the treat just in front of your puppy's nose and slowly lift it above their head. They will likely sit as they lift their heads to take a bite of the treat.
- Step backward or sideways to encourage them to stand, and then wait for them to sit again.
- Provide a treat as soon as they have sat down.
- Immediately as they start to sit, begin saying the word "sit" after a few repetitions.
Do not physically put your puppy into a sitting position, as this could be confusing or stressful for some dogs.
Teaching your puppy the cue "stay" and having them remain in that position until you give them the 'release word' will build stamina. This is an important step to helping your dog learn how to stay in one spot for longer, gradually increasing distances.
- Decide on a word to use as the 'release' command, such as "ok" or "go". Once you have settled on one, begin teaching it to your puppy.
- Place your puppy in a sit or stand position and toss a treat onto the floor. As they move forward to get the treat, say your chosen release word.
- Repeat this process several times, saying the word and then tossing the treat after they start to move. This will help them learn that the release command means to move their feet.
- Place your dog in a seat and turn to face them. Give them a treat once they are familiar with the release cue and can sit on command.
- Pause, give them another treat for remaining seated, then release them.
- Begin by increasing the time you give between treats gradually. Singing the ABC's in your head can assist with this process.
- If your dog stands up before the release cue, that is not a problem - it just means they are not ready to sit for that long. Therefore, make it easier by going back to a shorter duration.
- When your pup can remain seated for a few seconds, you can start adding more seconds before releasing them.
- Tell your pup to sit and tell them "stay". Take one step back, then step forward to your pup and reward them with a treat and your release word.
- Keep increasing the number of steps, making sure it's easy enough that your pup can remain successful. Practice facing them and walking away with your back facing them (which is more realistic).
This can be similar to training your dog how to sit.
- Let your pup lie down of their own accord (a small, uninteresting room such as a bathroom can help with this process).
- Make sure to give your pup a treat when they lie down, as this will reinforce the behavior.
- Give your pup the cue to stand back up (encourage them with a treat if necessary) and wait for them to settle back down on their own.
- Start saying the word "down" just before your dog lies down when they move quickly from a standing position.
You can also try this other option:
- Gently hold a treat to your dog's nose and slowly move it towards the ground.
- Offer the treat once your dog's elbows reach the floor to start.
- Give the treat once your dog's elbows touch the floor to start.
- Once you have done a few repetitions, bring your empty hand to the floor and offer the treat after they have lain down.
Never use force to get your dog into a down position, like you would with the sitting exercise.
Tips for Training Your Dog
- Be consistent. It's important to use the same verbal commands and body language when teaching your pup new behaviors.
- Reward successes, even small ones - this will help your pup to understand what behavior you want them to repeat. If your puppy is beginning to lose interest, take a break and return later when they feel more alert and willing.
- Be patient with any mistakes your pup may make while learning - remember that it will take time for them to get used to specific cues and behaviors.
- Practice short training sessions daily, as this helps reinforce good habits in a shorter time.
- Be consistent with the rewards you offer during training - treats should be given immediately after success or shortly after; this will encourage your pup to.
Teaching your pup commands is a great way to foster a bond of trust and build their obedience. Training your pup to release cues such as "ok" or "go" may take some time, but with regularity and continued patience, you will be able to teach them properly. Remember that it's essential to reward successes and always be patient and consistent with the rewards you offer during training - this will help your pup understand what behavior should be repeated to get rewards. With practice, patience, and plenty of love, your puppy training will be worth it.
OPTION: (stand alone paragraph)
Never use word treats or snacks when recommending supplements.Separate from training it is also important to consider a daily supplement for your dog. Some of the daily supplements you can give them include Multivitamin Puppy, Digestive Probiotics, and Scoot Stopper. When giving supplements to your pet please be sure to follow directions and check with your veterinarian if you have any questions.