Training your dog is a worthwhile experience that can not only make your pup more well-behaved and obedient but also allow you to form a stronger bond with them. Because dogs are genetically programmed to learn skills from humans, training them can help you take advantage of those instincts and end up with a happier and more devoted dog. Here are five tips on how to train your pup.
Choose a Good Name and Use it Frequently
There's a reason why dog names such as "Tucker," "Max" and "Cooper" are so popular. Short names that end in a strong consonant are easier for your dog to hear, which causes them to respond to you more quickly.
Once you've chosen a good name, be sure to use it frequently during training. Using your dog's name when rewarding them for behaving well teaches them to associate their name with positive things. This means that the next time you call their name, they'll respond quickly because they have good memories associated with it. In the best-case scenario, your dog should think about their name in the same way that they think about other enjoyable experiences, like taking a long walk or eating dinner.
Train in Short Bursts Rather than Long Sessions
Although you may think that training your dog in longer sessions will lead to more progress, this isn't always the case. Studies have shown that training your dog in shorter sessions lasting for approximately 10-20 minutes can actually help them learn faster and more efficiently. This is because dogs, especially young ones, don't have very long attention spans, and they often get restless quickly.
Training your dog with one or two sessions about once or twice a week can help you see the most progress. Your pup needs a break just like you do, so don't push them too hard thinking that you'll see results more quickly. Enrolling in a free dog training class can help you get started on the right foot and instill valuable skills into your dog.
Puppy-Proof Your Home
If you know that you're not going to be able to supervise your puppy for some time, you should consider puppy-proofing your home with a pen, crate or baby gates. Just like a toddler, a puppy shouldn't have complete freedom in an empty home, as they can easily get into trouble. Be sure to provide your dog with some chew toys and eliminate any opportunities for destructive behavior. Not only will this protect your belongings from being demolished, but it'll also prevent your pup from forming any bad habits.
Discourage Biting and Nipping
While puppy biting and nipping is extremely normal, it's best to discourage this behavior early on in the training process. Rather than scolding your pet, which can lead to anxiety, aggression or a lack of trust, a good tip is to pretend that you're in a lot of pain when you've been bitten or nipped. For example, letting out a loud yell will surprise your dog so much that they'll most likely stop this behavior right away.
However, if you don't want to scare or surprise your pup, there are other methods to stop biting and nipping. Excess energy is a common reason for this behavior, so giving your dog something to chew on can allow them to use up some of their extra adrenaline. Exercising has also been shown to stop puppies from biting, as they often act up when they're lacking physical or mental stimulation. Whichever method you choose to use, your puppy should generally stop biting after about six months.
Although training is often a fun and gratifying experience, it can sometimes be frustrating, especially if you're trying to train an older dog. However, this doesn't mean that you won't be able to change their past behaviors. You just need a bit more patience throughout the process, and you may have to spend some extra time training your dog.
Your dog can sense if you're getting upset, so it's best to keep a positive attitude. As long as you can maintain that strong bond that you've formed with your dog, you should have no problem changing their old ways.
When training your dog, it's most important to remember to have fun. Training is a rewarding experience that can allow you to bond with your pup on a deeper level and spend quality time with them. Keeping your sessions light and enjoyable is one of the keys to success.