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Teaching a dog basic obedience is essential. Training your dog not only makes your life a lot easier, but it also gives your furry friend a lot more freedom. When you know you can trust your dog enough to come back when called, you can let him run free off leash and have a good time and take him places without fear of an outburst.
For new dog owners, training a dog can be a challenging scenario. There are many training types to tick off the list, including house training, crate training, basic obedience commands, leash training, and more.
Dogs are also very intelligent and love to learn. Use the tips below to learn how best to train your dog at home.
Keeping Your Dog Healthy Is Essential to Training
First and foremost, it seems obvious, but it’s worth stating that dogs need to be healthy in order to learn correctly.
Different breeds can have different requirements, such as how much exercise and food they need each day. This also changes depending on the age of your dog.
With walks, puppies can usually exercise for five minutes per month of age, so a four-month-old pup can walk for twenty minutes at a time. You can take them for a walk of this length once or twice daily.
Other healthcare issues are also essential to consider, such as grooming. Depending on your dog’s fur type, it may require trips to the groomers for trimming. It’s best to take puppies at a young age so they quickly get used to the scissors and clippers. Some dogs also need regular brushing to avoid matting in their fur.
Like humans, dogs may also require some loving skincare. Breeds with skin folds, like pugs, can experience bacterial infections if they are not cleaned properly. Some dogs also experience dry, flaky skin.
There are many ways to care for your dog; some people are even turning to supplements like CBD. With increasing awareness of CBD for skin healing, it’s now possible to get CBD dog shampoos and other products to help you care for your canine.
Once their health is up to scratch, here’s how to train your dog at home.
Tip #1: Minimize Distractions
Dogs, especially puppies, can quickly become distracted. After all, the world is completely new to them, and there’s so much to explore!
When training, it’s best to take your pup to a quiet room away from distractions. That way, they will have nothing to focus on but you and your voice.
That said, you will later need to ‘proof’ your dog’s behaviors. It’s unlikely that they will learn every single trick after one session. Keep returning to each command until they have a high success rate, and then slowly introduce distractions.
Just because your pup sits every time she’s told to in a quiet living room does not mean she will stop and sit at the edge of a busy road. Training in all kinds of environments is thus essential for safety.
Start out with no distractions to help them learn, then re-introduce them until they nail the command.
Tip #2: Little and Often
Like humans, dogs can get tired when trying to learn. If they become tired and frustrated, they won’t learn anything, and you will likely be irritable, too.
Train your dog little and often in smaller sessions with lots of breaks. It’s essential to be patient with your pet – just because you’re not bored doesn’t mean they will be totally receptive to your training.
Sometimes, your dog will have worse sessions than others. If you come to a training session to find your dog being disobedient and distracted by everything, don’t force it. Come back to the session another time.
Tip #3: Treats Are Key
Most dogs respond well to positive reinforcement. High-value treats work great for most dogs, but what’s considered ‘high-value’ can vary between breeds and indeed between specific dogs.
A lot of breeds like high-flavor treats, including salmon snacks or even cheese. Just make sure you don’t give your pooch too many!
Some breeds that are less food-oriented may even prefer a special training toy that they love. You can reward your pooch by letting them play with the toy.
Each time your pet correctly performs a command, give them a treat. When you’re at home practicing simple commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay,’ this is pretty easy.
However, it’s also recommended to keep up training outside of set sessions. For example, if your family is sitting down to watch television and your dog also settles quietly, make sure to reward their good behavior. It can sometimes be tricky to notice when your dog is being good – it’s much easier to spot when they’re running around and misbehaving – but keep an eye out and give them positive attention whenever they behave well.
Treats do not always have to come in the form of food. Fussing a dog, giving them attention, and playing with them are all ways to reinforce good behavior. Make sure you finish each training session on a high by giving them a command they already know and rewarding them for it.
Your pet is much more likely to respond if they have a strong bond with you.
Tip #4: Do Your Research
There are so many aspects of training your dog, and each one can require a slightly different approach. Obedience training is one thing, but socialization with other dogs and humans, leash training, and recall are all also essential.
There are plenty of guides online regarding how to train your dog in each situation. Make sure to do some research beforehand to determine the best course of action.
Bear in mind, though, that every dog is different. It can sometimes take a few different approaches before you find something that sticks. Be patient with your four-legged friend and keep putting in the work – you’ll get there.
Final Thoughts: How to Train Your Dog at Home
Training a dog is no easy feat, especially if it’s your first time. It takes many dedicated hours and lots of attention (and usually, lots of treats!). However, it’s totally worth it to give you and your dog the best possible life together.
Training can be quite fun, too. It can help you build a lasting bond with your dog and be a way for you to engage in play together.
Remember, there are lots of ways to train a dog, so if something doesn’t seem to be working, don’t panic. Simply do some research and find another course of action.