Are you ready to train your dog? As you know, proper training is one of your dog’s basic needs—it will make your dog’s life more enjoyable, and yours too.
The first thing to know is this: Start training your dog as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to get rid of bad habits and instill good ones. Think of dog training like learning a language—it only becomes more difficult as you get older.
However, if you stick to the plan, you can properly train your dog within two months. Some dogs can even be trained in four to six weeks. Here’s how to do it:
- Buy the right equipment. Proper dog training does not require many items, but you do need a dog collar or harness that is suitable for obedience programs. A retractable leash, for example, isn’t suitable because it sends mixed signals to the dog. And don’t forget tasty treats: Dogs will respond to training better when they are rewarded with snacks they enjoy. These can be either store-bought or homemade, such as plain chicken or turkey.
- Positive reinforcement—on repeat. Tasty treats bring us to positive reinforcement, which is generally considered the most effective dog training method. When your dog obeys a command of yours, offer a reward. From verbal praise to treats themselves, dogs need to form positive associations with commands in order to obey them. If there’s no reward, the dog sees no incentive to obey.
- Start with basic commands and short sessions. Like any practice routine, you don’t want to overwhelm your dog early on. Baby steps! Set up training sessions that last 10 to 15 minutes, two or three times a day. (This is especially true for puppies, due to their short attention spans.) Similarly, it’s important to use basic commands first, before progressing to the more advanced ones. The “sit” and “lie down” commands should be mastered first.
Over time, the commands will become more advanced and your dog will become better and better trained.
Just remember: Be firm, but fun. Stick to the routine, but don’t train your dog too aggressively or impatiently. All dogs react better to love and joy, just like humans!
If your dog demonstrates some of the following behaviors, we recommend speaking with a trained animal professional rather than trying to address and fix the problem yourself:
- Separation anxiety
- Unruly Behaviors (such as jumping, digging, barking, etc.)
- Aggression to people
- Aggression to other animals
- Compulsive behaviors
Our goals are to help pets and their owners live together comfortably and safely, and to help restore the bond between pets and their families.