Since so many people adopt or buy or receive dogs as gifts around the holidays, is it any wonder that January is National Train Your Dog Month? Unfortunately, bad behavior is one of the main reasons that people end up rehoming their dogs, especially if they just got them and have no idea how to deal with it. In the vast majority of cases, your puppy isn’t trying to be bad, they just don’t know any better.
Training will resolve a lot of problems. Even if you aren’t struggling with bad behavior, just a few little irks here and there, every dog could benefit from additional training. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of some of the top tips you can use for National Train Your Dog Month to help your furbaby be the best they can be.
#1. There’s Nothing Like Positive Reinforcement
The best way to help your dog know when they have done something right and to encourage them to continue to do so is by letting them know! Everyone loves knowing when they’ve done well, and knowing that and being encouraged to keep doing so will make your pup want to continue that behavior. Your dog works hard to understand what you’re asking them to do, they deserve praise and perhaps a treat when they do so.
This also applies to the end of your training sessions – when you end on a positive note, your furbaby will be more inclined to see training as a good thing and be more open to doing it again.
#2. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
In order for your dog to associate commands with behaviors, you’ll have to be very consistent with your training schedule. This also works for their day-to-day routine. Structure helps dogs learn what to expect and what you’re asking for. Depending on your dog, different types of commands may work better for them than others. For instance, many dogs respond well to treat training, while others work well with clickers. It can be a learning curve to figure out what works best for your furbaby in order to set your dog up for success this National Train Your Dog Month.
#3. Get Rid Of Distractions
Just like you, dogs can easily get distracted, especially by things that are disruptive, such as loud noises, as well as their favorite toys. It’s easier for your furbaby to learn if they’re able to focus on you and what you’re trying to teach them. Consider closing any windows or doors, asking any family members or roommates to go to another room, and put their toys somewhere out of sight, out of mind.
While you’ll see many people recommending this tip for National Train Your Dog Month, it’s important to remember that the same as you, your pup can only maintain focus for so long. Generally, it’s good to keep training sessions to around 10-15 minutes, so you can have your dog’s undivided attention.
#4. If At First You Don’t Succeed….
Try, try again. As nice as it would be if your dog immediately understood what you’re trying to train them to do, this rarely happens. It’s important to be patient and understanding with your pup, as getting stressed or upset will only make the training process take longer, as well as making your dog associate it with negativity. Especially if your dog is new or isn’t very well trained, it can take some time for them to pick up on new things as they adjust to a new environment and new people and new expectations.
Remember: your dog isn’t trying to get on your nerves when they don’t understand what you’re asking them to do. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, it’s best to cut the training session short. Ending on a positive note = your dog finding training less stressful and easier to do.
#5. Give It Some Time
Once your puppy has begun to understand what commands mean, it can still take them a little bit to react to said command as they remember what it means. Rather than repeating the command over and over, give them a few seconds to figure it out before you ask again. Visual aids can help with this, especially if your dog doesn’t initially respond. If you ask your dog to sit, you may consider gesturing to the floor as you give the command, so they get an indicator of what that means.
Training your dog can take some time, and it never really stops, especially since you’ll need to give them refreshers throughout the years. Hence the existence of National Train Your Dog Month, in order to help dog owners understand how best to train their dogs. These are but a few of the dog training tips out there, but hopefully, they help you and your furbaby succeed.
At Little Teton Doodles, we’re passionate about training, which is why we’re affiliated with BAXTER & Bella, which is an incredible online puppy training course (use code LITTLETETON25 for a 25% discount). They offer online video tutorials to guide you through how to train your pup, as well as a lifetime membership. They’re truly excellent trainers who have helped many of our clients with their pups. We’re always happy to do anything we can to bring you and your pup closer together. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!