It’s super exciting to have a new puppy in the home! That excitement can die pretty quickly, however, when Dad discovers poop in the hallway.
Puppies can be a handful. Getting them trained takes time. Here are 10 tips to help you train your new doggo and integrate him or her into the family!
1. Listen to your dog
Every dog works a little differently. Even though your pup can’t verbally tell you how he would like to be trained, if you pay attention, he will let you know how best to handle him. For example, if your dog seems uncomfortable saying hell to new people, don’t force him to do it. There are ways to train him, but he won’t learn very quickly if you don’t listen to his wants and needs.
2. Be generous with love and affection
Just like people, dogs respond much better to rewards than they do to punishment. While it’s easy to let them know when you are unhappy with them, be sure and let them know when they have done something right. If you reward them for their behavior, they’re more likely to repeat it.
3. Be consistent
Be sure and communicate with your other family member what is okay and what if not okay. If one family member lets the dog on the bed, and the rest tell her no, then she gets mixed signals and will become confused.
4. Tell them what you want
Instead of just telling the dog “no”, be sure and let them know what it is that you DO want. Just telling him “no” doesn’t provide any information. For example, if you don’t want your dog on your bed, be sure and teach him what he CAN do, rather than just what he can’t do. No, you can’t be on the bed, but here’s a dog bed you CAN be on!
5. Be patient
It takes time to train a dog. Your pup may be trying very hard to please you, but they simply don’t understand all that is expected of them. Be patient and realize that YOU also took time to train.
6. High-quality food/treats
Don’t underestimate the power of high/quality food. A dog may not behave the way she has been taught if she simply doesn't feel great. We all perform better when we are healthy.
7. Reinforce what you want
If a behavior is reinforced, the dog will continue to do it - even if you do not like the behavior. For example, if you give your pup a treat to get him to stop barking, you are teaching him to bark any time he wants a treat. Make sure and ONLY reinforce the behaviors you are happy with.
8. Use all interactions as a teaching opportunity
Usually, the training of a dog is associated with treats and bribery. However, there are more ways to reinforce a dog’s behavior. You can offer praise, touch, take them on walks, etc in order to reward them for good behavior.
9. Let them earn more freedom
Don’t let your new puppy have too much freedom all at once - this is where you will run into more accidents and chewed up household items. When your dog shows more responsibility, reward them by giving them more freedom, rather than giving it to them all at once.
Your dog will make mistakes, but she sincerely wants to do her best for her. Remember to forgive her quickly. Once again, do not reinforce bad behavior, but do not yell at her either. Remind her that she needs to do better and let her move past the error.
Good luck with the new fur baby! If it feels impossible at times, take a deep breath and remember what it was like for you growing up. You didn’t always get things right away. You took the time to learn to understand your world.
Even if your new dog isn’t a puppy, your home is still a whole new world to them. Be a loving parent and help them learn the way your world works.
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