Best Friends professional Trainers recommend that you begin training your dog as soon as he arrives in your home. This will avoid irksome problems and let your new pooch know what’s expected of him.
Successful dog training depends upon on establishing yourself immediately as the leader. A dog is a pack animal, and when he enters your home, he expects to follow rules and obey the leader. Once he understands you are the pack leader and he knows his role within the family “pack”, he will be more comfortable and easier to train. Set boundaries, be firm and offer rewards, especially love and kindness.
Learning the basics
Every dog should learn at least the basic obedience commands. Let’s focus on Come and Sit.
Choose a time when your dog is relaxed, but not sleepy, and a quiet area with few distractions. Early training sessions should be short; it’s better to spend a few minutes with your dog several times a day than to try to sustain his interest for a single long period.
Start with the “come” command, which is important for your pet’s safety. Best Friends Trainers recommend using the leash method. Begin by putting a collar on your puppy. Once he’s accustomed to wearing it, attach a leash and standing several feet away, say “come,” and gently pull him towards you. As he reaches you, praise him, using a happy tone of voice.
Gradually, your pet will begin to associate the word with the action and you won’t need to pull on the leash. Once that happens, practice the command without a leash. Remember to give him lots of praise when he responds by coming to you.
Don’t try to accomplish too much at once. End each session on a high note, just after your dog has successfully performed a command. This will make the training process enjoyable and something to which he will look forward.
Learning to sit is an important and useful skill for your dog to have. It is also often the foundation upon which other training tricks are based. The sit command can be taught in a variety of ways. One of the easiest way to teach your dog the ‘sit’ command is to place him on a leash in front of you, hold a treat above his head, and give the command ‘Sit’. By having your dog look up at the treat, that forces him to slightly lower his rear end. You can then move the treat toward his tail which forces your dog to completely adopt the sit position. You should repeat this exercise several times until your dog gets the sit position right, rewarding you dog with the treat and praise when he responds correctly.
Once your dog has correctly grasped the sit command, you should practice it in regular situations around your home, while you prepare his dinner, before opening doors, when you have company around, and so on. If you have visitors at home, you can also ask your dog to sit and quietly observe everyone and everything that goes on. Use this command frequently and be very consistent.
As you see your dog make progress with these first two commands, you can move onto to “stay” and then “down”. Once he has mastered these commands, you can begin to teach him to walk properly on a leash.
One of the best ways to get your dog’s training started is by joining a group class. With the help of a professional trainer, you will learn the proper ways to teach, reward and correct your dog.
Training classes also provide an opportunity to socialize your pet, which is important to his emotional well-being. Dogs that aren’t adequately socialized can become shy and fearful. In fact, many behavior problems in older dogs stem from lack of adequate socialization as a puppy. Check your local Best Friends Pet Care Center for Puppy Kindergarten and Basic Obedience classes.
However you decide to approach training your new pet, remember that three “p”s of successful dog training: patience, persistence and praise!