Training Tips for New Dog Owners
Bringing home a new dog is such an exciting thing, but it also comes with tons of responsibilities which can be super frightening for some people. Doing tons of research beforehand and ensuring you’re totally prepared will help get you used to having a dog at home. Ask any dog owner, one of the greatest feelings in life is having a furry friend who loves you unconditionally. To return the favour, you should be the best dog companion there is. To help, we’ve compiled a list of training tips for new dog owners.
When training your dog, positive reinforcements are a must. This includes things like rewarding your dog’s good behaviour with their favourite treat or playing with their favourite toy.
Pay attention to your dog
This might seem obvious, but what this means is learning how your dog reacts to situations and paying attention to their body language. If they appear unsure or uncomfortable being around someone or in a certain setting, acknowledge that and fix it.
Consistency is key
Effective communication with your dog is achieved through being consistent when training. This includes both verbal cues and non-verbal cues. To get your dog fully trained, you need to commit lots of time to them. Creating a schedule to help you stay on top of being consistent is a great idea.
Other pets and people
Socialization is extremely important when training your dog. Try going to dog parks and getting your dog used to being around other animals and people. If you don’t socialize your dog, they will become anxious and potentially aggressive.
A natural dog behavior is jumping up on people to say hello and while you might be okay with it happening to you, it’s something that is deemed unacceptable and potentially frightening for others. Ignoring your dog when they do it and teaching them an alternative greeting will prevent unwanted jumping.
You never want your dog to nip at or bite someone so discouraging this behaviour is crucial. Avoid scolding them but act as though you are in pain if they do nip and it will tell your dog to stop right away.
Recognize your pet’s good behaviour
Not all good behaviour is deserving of a treat but positive verbal praises are great too. If you have visitors enter your home and your dog greets them kindly or refrains from begging when you’re at the dinner table, it’s as simple as telling them they’re a ‘good boy.’
Keep them mentally stimulated
Regular walks are obviously necessary when it comes to dog ownership but aside from those, you should also get creative with mentally stimulating your dog. By this, I mean playing games with them, going on scent walks, teaching them new tricks, trying out new parks and more! You can find lots of cool ideas on sites like Pinterest.
Be patient with your pup
Training your dog is going to take lots of trial and error but always remain patient with them. Your dog ultimately wants to impress you and make you happy but sometimes they will make mistakes, especially if they’re puppies or if they’re coming from a shelter where before they didn’t know how to be house-trained. Instead of getting angry and scolding your dog for doing something wrong, help them correct their behaviour and remember to reward what they do right.
Make your house dog friendly
Even if your dog isn’t a puppy, they can still manage to get into things they shouldn’t. That’s why it is super important to puppy proof your home and eliminate any chances of them destructing your home or harming themselves by accident. It’s easy to forget to put things away but try to keep your dog’s wellbeing at the forefront of your mind.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
This is a huge one for first time owners! If you’re struggling to properly train your dog, it’s okay to ask other people for assistance. This includes any friends who own dogs, your veterinarian and even dog trainers if you feel it is necessary. Everyone wants you to succeed when training your new dog so getting a professional opinion or investing in dog training isn’t something to be ashamed of. Training can be difficult and if you’ve exhausted all of your options, having someone else step in to help can be key.
Feel out off-leash parks slowly
If you want your dog to be comfortable at off-leash dog parks, it’s best to train them slowly instead of throwing them into the situation. Off-leash parks can be extremely overwhelming for a dog who has never been around so many other dogs and people before. Try going at times where there aren’t many visitors and for the first few visits keep your dog leashed while they interact. Eventually your dog will get used to the environment and you can allow them off leash.
Start off with easy commands
When it comes to training your dog, try some basic commands first before attempting to get them to jump through hula-hoops or fetch you a beer from the mini fridge (and yes some dogs can actually do that). Easy commands include ‘stay’ and ‘sit.’ Once you’re able to get them to obey these commands, you can get a little more creative.
Establish who’s the boss
Letting your dog know what you want at an early age can help lower the chances of your dog acting out or becoming destructive. This doesn’t mean scolding them or screaming at them when they mess up, it means being firm with your commands and staying calm if they do something wrong. Reacting positively to good behaviour will teach them what is right but trying to punish them when they do something wrong could result in anxiety and aggressiveness. Try maintaining eye contact during training and always staying in an upright position instead of kneeling down to their level.
Show them you love them
It’s important to realize that your dog loves you unconditionally even when you’re having an off day. Training your dog can be challenging but you will get there together if you do things the right way. During this process don’t forget to show your dog some affection, appreciation and don’t forget their toys. These are some great training tips for new dog owners.