Sign up to receive new dog parent tips
Dogs are naturally curious, and learning new things keeps a dog’s mind sharp and engaged.
Besides being a great form of mental enrichment, teaching your dog basic manners (such as not jumping on guests) can also improve the human-animal bond and create a more relaxed home life for everybody.
Not sure where to start with training? Read on for some ideas:
Training and Manners: Why and How to Pursue Training for Your New Dog
Whether this is your first dog or your twentieth, dog training is beneficial. After all, training is a great way to:
- Increase your dog’s safety. A well-trained dog is less likely to pull free from their leash and run toward a busy street, or to swallow a turkey bone after you tell them to “drop it"
- Improve your dog’s interactions with yourself and others. Training helps your dog learn which sorts behaviors humans prefer
- Improve your bond. When you have positive interactions, the friendship is better for both you and your dog
- Keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated. Training is kind of like “school” for dogs
For all these reasons, training can be a great way to help your new dog get settled in.
That’s true whether you have an adult or a puppy, or even a senior. Older dogs may need more patience to let go of any bad habits they’ve developed, but with the right strategies most dogs can learn—and even enjoy the learning process.
Which Type of Training Is Best for My Dog?
When it comes to training for dogs, you have a lot of options:
- First, there’s basic training and manners. This includes common commands such as sit and stay, and helping your dog learn the rules of the home. Nearly all dogs can benefit from some form of basic training
- Then, there are more advanced types of training. This may include off-leash learning, and even fun tricks (such as barking on cue or learning to be the ring bearer at a wedding)
- Some energetic dogs may take to athletic forms of training, like agility courses
Every dog is different, so you can decide based on your dog’s aptitudes, interests, and needs (for example, are you planning to take them to off-leash dog parks?) how far to take their training.
Do You Need a Professional Dog Trainer?
If you already have some experience and feel comfortable teaching your dog by yourself, by all means go for it!
If you’re new to the process or need a refresher, working with a trainer will probably make the process easier for you.
Depending on your preference, you can find a local training class, or teach your dog at home with the help of an in-person or virtual trainer.
What Motivates Your Dog?
Some dogs are food motivated. They’re happiest when their training success is rewarded with a treat. There’s nothing wrong with this, so long as the training treats are part of your dog’s balanced nutritional plan.
With other dogs, praise from you or playtime with a favorite toy can also serve as a reward to motivate them as they learn.
Once you know what motivates your pup, they’ll probably learn faster—and have more fun along the way.
General Training Principles for Dogs
Here are a few general principles to follow as you and your pup begin your training journey:
- Dogs learn in the moment. So, the reward must be immediate for them to make the mental connection.
- Using a “clicker” is a good option. This is a device you can use to make a clicking noise immediately when your dog does the correct behavior—your dog knows a treat follows the click, so they will try to replicate the behavior that earned the click.
- Use positive reinforcement. Dogs learn best, and become more socially well-adjusted, when positive training techniques are used and the experience is enjoyable.
- Make sure the training is repeatable in multiple locations. If your dog does well in class, be sure to have them practice the same behaviors at home (otherwise some dogs will think these new behaviors are something they only have to do at the training facility and not at home).
- Remember, training is for YOU, too. A good trainer will help you understand your dog’s thought process for more training success. This will also help you avoid inadvertently reinforcing behaviors you don’t want.
- Be consistent. Everyone in the family should be sending your pup the same message so they don’t get confused. For this reason, some training classes allow older children to attend with their parents and dog.
- Be patient. Every dog learns at their own pace, but as long as you’re consistent and make the experience positive, most dogs will catch on.
As you continue to train, you’ll have fun watching your dog’s clever mind at work.
Perhaps most important of all—your dog will enjoy the bonding time with you, their new best friend.
From our family to yours,
Fromm Family Pet Food