You’ve just brought home a new puppy or rescue dog. Now to train him! Our Rabun County veterinarians share dog training advice, for big and small dogs, for new owners.
Our Best Dog Training Advice
Whether you choose to train your new puppy or rescue dog yourself, hire an instructor, or head to classes, every pooch can benefit from some essential training tips.
We see a lot of dogs at our clinic on a regular basis, and the best-trained ones respect their owner as the alpha. They've also been trained with consistency in mind, so they know what to expect at all times.
To start with a good foundation, consider having your puppy spayed or neutered when he’s of appropriate age, as dogs who have been “fixed” are less aggressive, more calm, and potentially more open to training.
Set house rules
When it comes to training, dogs respond best to consistency. It’s only fair to be clear with yourself and your family on what you expect of your new pup before you bring him home.
Determine what he is and is not permitted to do. Is he allowed to sleep in your bed? Take a seat on the couch? Are there any rooms that are off-limits? Clarifying your expectations prevents later confusion and indecision.
Teach him to come on command
One of the first basic commands your furry friend will need to master is “Come!” Always use his name when commanding him to come and follow up with positive reinforcement.
As he develops, try the command in other situations, such as when his attention is elsewhere, and get him used to responding.
Reward good behavior and be quick with treats and praise
One of the first dog training principles is to always reinforce good behavior with positive reinforcement. Whether it's a pat on the back or a belly rub. Your dog lives to please you, whether it's with scratches in his favorite spot or a treat or toy.
Puppy-proof your house
If you have children, you will recall child-proofing your home to keep them safe and reduce the risk of danger - or the destruction of your prized possessions. Provide a safe place for your puppy to go when he's not being directly supervised, such as a crate or pen, as well as safe toys that are exclusively his.
Don’t delay teaching moments
Just as you want to reward good behavior, you want to recognize teaching moments as they happen. Seasoned dog owners will tell you that pups live in the moment and need lots of repetition.
If you're going to enforce a rule or teach a lesson, you have to do it right away because they've already forgotten what they've done a few minutes later, so they'll be truly confused and unable to make the association between their actions and corrections or training techniques unless you do it right away. Repetition that is consistent yields results.
Remember: dogs do what makes them feel safe or happy
One of the most common mistakes we see dog owners make is that they attribute human emotions to their furry companions.
While we adore them and consider them family members, they are not human, which means they are not vengeful creatures out to upset or irritate us. They do whatever makes them feel happy or safe at the time, which can be good or bad.