Training Tips: 22 Great Ideas To Help You Train Your Dog in 2020

Training your dog should be fun! But it can also be quite challenging. Especially if your dog is young, bouncy and strong!

I’ve selected some helpful tips for you below.

I’d like to help as many people as I can and so I’ve also set up regular tips by email which will answer many of your questions.

Okay! Now for some tips you can start working on right away.

Sometimes the simplest tip can make the biggest difference to the pleasure you get from training your dog.

Here are some of my favorites, together with a few important rules that will help you have more fun with your Labrador.

#1 Build a dog training habit

Training a dog takes time and needs to be done regularly.

Like any other demand on your time, you are most likely to stick with it, if you make your dog training sessions a daily habit.

Habits are hard to make, but hard to break. So making good habits is always worthwhile.

Motivating yourself

Pick a time to start when your motivation is high!  A New Year, a new month, a birthday.. these are often powerful motivators for us.

Rewarding your dog is good, but you need to reward yourself after each training session too – spend five minutes doing something YOU really enjoy.

#2 Getting started

Link your dog training sessions to something else you do every day. Sessions don’t need to be long, especially in the beginning.

Getting the habit going should be your priority. And experts reckon it takes from 30 to 60 days of daily commitment to get a habit well established.

Five minutes training after the school run each day, or when you get home from work, will work wonders if you do it religiously every day.

Later, when the habit is well established you can skip a day if you need to, or train for longer if you want to. But in the beginning, aim for short sessions every day.

#3 Choose the right rewards

Choosing the right treat for the skill you are training today, is critical.  And your ability to make the right choice will improve with practice.

The most important factors which will influence your choice will be

• Preference
• Distractions
• Hunger

Each of these factors work together and against each other.  If your dog prefers roast chicken to sausage,  you may still find training with sausage is effective, until you increase the distractions around him.

Then you may need to switch to chicken for a while.

Unless of course he is very hungry indeed, in which case sausage may work just fine!

Special or unusual foods often make better training treats.  If your dog gets kibble for every meal, kibble is not going to cut the mustard.

Not unless he hasn’t eaten for 48 hours.

While it makes sense not to try and train a dog that has just ‘stuffed his face’ we don’t want to starve our dogs. So when distractions are increased, we may need to offer better treats for a while.

#4 Learn to use an event marker

An event marker is one of the most useful dog training tools you will ever possess.

This is because it is so easy to reward the dog at the wrong time and reinforce the wrong behavior, and an event marker avoids this problem completely.

Your event marker makes a distinctive sound that lets the dog know exactly what the reward is for. The most common event marker is a clicker, but you can also use a word.

Using an event marker is a skill.  It does not come naturally and you will need to improve your timing and co-ordination.

You can practice by watching a TV programme and ‘marking’ a specific type of behavior,  such as an arm lift or a smile.  Practice on your kids, or your cat!

Just don’t use it around your dog, until you have mastered the skill of clicking when you observe a change in behavior, with a reasonable level of competence.

It won’t take you long, and you will continue to improve after you have started training your dog.

#5 Start easy

It ought to go without saying that easy tasks need to be learned before hard ones.

The reason many people fail with this, is because they don’t realize what is easy for a dog and what is hard.

It’s common for people to think a dog is being naughty if he obeys the word sit in your back yard, but won’t obey the word sit at the dog park. The truth of course is that sit is much harder for your dog where there are distractions.

The right short term goal is one that stretches your dog just a little, but that is attainable within a training session or two.

#6 Pick the right goals for your dog

Modern dog training methods focus on training good behaviors IN rather than training bad behaviors OUT.

Thus we train dogs to SIT to be petted rather than trying to STOP them jumping up.

This makes sense because there are often many different ways for a dog to be bad, and usually just one way for him to be good.

Whatever you are trying to teach make it easy for yourself and figure out what that ONE way is.

Decide what you want the dog TO DO, not which of the many alternatives you don’t want him to do.

#7 Sandwich the hard stuff!

Sandwiches are very important in dog training, though maybe not the sort of sandwiches you had in mind.

Memory is a funny thing.  We tend to remember things best if they happened at the beginning or the end of a particular event or time period.

Sandwiches can help you to keep your Labrador’s confidence high, whilst ‘stretching’ him just a little bit more each time you train.   And no,  we are not talking about edible sandwiches here!

This is about sandwiching the hard tasks between two easy ones.

Each time you challenge your dog,  it is a really good idea to ‘sandwich’  the most challenging or stretching thing you ask him to do,  in between two simpler versions of the same task.

Yesterday your dog sat perfectly still for 10 seconds,  ten yards away from you. Today you want him to sit for 15 seconds at the same distance.  Here is what I would do.
• Sit 1: 6 seconds
• Sit 2: 15 seconds
• Sit 3: 3 seconds

The sandwich ensures that the dog begins and ends with success. It gives him confidence and helps him to remain stoic about the extra time you have added on in the middle.

I use sandwiches a lot in dog training. They are a great way to ‘set the dog up to win’.

#8 Avoid punishing your dog

Several studies have shown that punishment, even mild punishment, interferes with learning.

It causes some dogs to shut down so they cannot learn and appear increasingly stupid.

And it causes some dogs to become ‘hard’ so that increasingly harsh punishments are required to get the same results.

Using punishment also impedes your ability to become more skilled in positive reinforcement training – and thus increases the likelihood that you will resort to punishment in the future.

Most worryingly, punishments of any kind have been shown to increase the risk of a dog becoming aggressive.

A punishment is anything that diminishes behavior – you don’t need to frighten or hurt your dog to be punishing him. It really is an outdated dog training tool and best avoided.

#9 Teach your dog to work for food

There are lots of ways to reward a dog without food, from affection to games and access to activities that are intrinsically attractive to most dogs such as hunting scent.

Food however, is supremely useful, especially in early training.

If you dismiss the use of food you are doing the equivalent of trying to train a dog with one hand tied behind your back.

Some dogs that have not been used to food rewards, ignore them to begin with.

But you can teach any dog the useful skill of working for edible rewards. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity with your dog.

#10 Manage your dog outdoors

Some dogs can become a problem outdoors if they are not properly supervised.

There are dogs that can just be allowed to trot along on a walk, without any intervention from their owner, and that never become a problem.

dog-training-tips-outdoorsBut for many young dogs, a certain amount of management on a walk, can make the difference between a dog that is a pleasure, and a dog that is a nightmare on walks.

Running off, pestering other people and chasing wildlife are common activities in young labradors that are not well supervised outside.

Managing your dog means engaging him in games, and activities at intervals during the walk to keep him focused on you and responsive to you.

#11 Do the recall challenge test!

Recall is so important and recall outdoors can be very challenging.

One thing that can really help you, is teaching your dog how to recall away from really tasty or attractive things, at home where you can control the outcome.

Try this recall challenge test

Place some tasty treats in a bowl.  Little lumps of meat or cheese is fine,  or you can use pieces of your dog’s kibble.

Let the dog see what is in the bowl, but don’t give it to him.

Now place the bowl on a raised work surface where the dog can see but not reach it.

Whilst the bowl has his full attention,  walk to the other side of the room and give a single recall command.

What does your dog do?

Does he rush to you and then back to the bowl again? If so, perfect.

Go with him to the bowl, give his a piece of the food from the bowl and congratulate yourself.

Your dog has already learned to look to you for the good things in life.  This is a great basis for training and teamwork.


Time to teach?

Many dogs however, will simply be unable to tear themselves away from the bowl, and will gaze lovingly at it whilst trying to ‘wish’ the contents into their tummies.

Some will bounce up and down in the hopes of defeating gravity.

These dogs have not yet grasped the idea that they can get you to help them.

It’s time to teach your dog that you are the provider of all good things.
You can ‘capture’ or ‘shape’  this new skill.

Capturing

After giving your single recall command, you can wait the dog out. Stay where you are and wait for him to give up his futile quest for the food.

You can encourage him to you with squeaky noises if you wish, but don’t repeat your recall.

When he eventually comes to you, tell him ‘GOOD’ and immediately go with him to the bowl and give him a piece of the food.

Repeat the process until he is rushing to you each time you call.  Give him a piece of food each time.

Shaping

If you wish, you can ‘shape’ the recall away from the food.  Instead of waiting for the dog to come right to you, you can reward him for just glancing in your direction.

When he is repeatedly looking at you to earn his reward, you can ask him to turn towards you, then eventually to take a step towards you, and so on.

Finish up with asking for a full recall before he gets his reward.

Expanding the concept

Recalling away from a ‘nice thing’ is so important that it is worth spending some time on this useful concept.

You can teach your dog to recall away from people, and even other dogs, all in the comfort of your home.

It is a good idea to do this before taking these exercises outdoors.

You can find many examples of these, and other recall exercises in my book  Total Recall

#12 Train for distractions

Don’t assume your dog will generalize what he learns at home, to the very different situations he encounters in new locations. He won’t.

Retrain all the skills your dog has learned at home, in each new environment he encounters.

Proof his recall, his loose leash walking, and other basis skills, against the presence of other dogs and people.

The time spent on this stage of training is worth its weight in gold.

#13 Use a training lead

We couldn’t make a collection of modern dog training tips without including the all important training lead or line.

When you first train your dog in the presence of distractions you need to prevent him helping himself to rewards – such as playing with other dogs – if he doesn’t obey you.

The training lead is your friend, because it helps you prevent the dog grabbing these ‘rewards’ after being naughty. It puts you where you should be, in charge of all rewards.

The best way to do this, is to have your dog drag a training line until you are confident he has understood your commands apply when there are ‘other dogs around’ or when he is ‘on the beach’ or ‘at the dog park’.

The new biothane training lines are light, tangle resistant, and easy to clean.

Always attach your dogs training lead to a well made harness.

#14 Fake it till you make it

How do you teach your dog not to jump at old ladies, steal ice creams from children, or not to run off every time he sees another dog in the distance?

It is not as if these things happen every single day. So how to you train for them?

The answer is you need to fake it!

Setting up fake training scenarios at home and in public places is a vital part of successful dog training. And it requires two things:

  • A friend
  • A training lead

You will need a friend, or friends to help you set up your fake scenarios. You cannot do this on your own.

If your dog behaves badly when other people are around, you can use a friend to set up the kinds of situations where he goes wrong, in easy stages, so that he can learn how to cope. I will give you an example in a moment.

If your dog behaves badly around other dogs, you will need a friend with a dog, so that you can practice how to behave near other dogs.

Using a training lead is a great way to prevent your dog helping himself to rewards after he has been ‘bad’.

The kinds of rewards that dogs commonly take for themselves are ‘games with other dogs’, ‘running up’ to strangers and ‘jumping’ on them, joining in children’s games uninvited, chasing leaves, and so on.

Anything that your dog enjoys doing can be used by him, as a reward.

An example of a fake it till you make it!

Here is an example of a fake scenario to help a dog that will not walk nicely on a lead past other dogs.

You cannot attempt this until your dog will walk nicely on the lead at home and where there are no other dogs around.

You will need a friend with a dog that will sit and stay calm whilst on a lead.

If your friend is training her dog too, you can take turns to be ‘the distraction dog’.

If you have a large garden you can do this at home, otherwise you will need to go to an open space early in the morning or when the weather is bad, in order to avoid other people distracting your dog.

Seated distraction dog

Ask your friend to sit her dog next to her, and 20 to 30 feet away from you. This is the seated distraction dog.

Now you need to behave as though the other dog is not there. And to practice lead walking up and down, well away from your friend and her dog. Do not approach them. If you are training with treats use some very tasty and special ones here.

Walk in a neat circle or square, walk up and down an imaginary line, stop and start, ask your dog to sit every now and then. Keep him focused and concentrating on you.

When he is successful and only then, you can move 10 feet nearer to your friend and repeat. Gradually work your way nearer until your dog can heel in a square around and close to your friend.

Now move right back to thirty feet away.

Moving distraction dog

This time, have your friend walk her own dog around in a small area 30 feet away, whilst you do the same with your dog. Each dog must focus on his own handler, and not on the other dog.

Gradually, as the dogs succeed, bring them closer together until eventually you can have one dog making a small circle inside the circle made by the larger dog. Have the two dogs moving in opposite directions so they have to walk past facing each other.

Vary the drills and keep practicing. Try walking up and down an imaginary line with you and your dog on one side, and your friend and her dog on the other.

Reduce the space between the dogs until they almost brush past one another without breaking focus on their handlers.

Taking your time

Getting to this point takes time. Depending on the dogs it will take several sessions.

These kinds of exercises can also be practiced in a good training class. Check out the APDT website for training sessions in your area.

Diluting distractions

You can see that the principle here is to ‘dilute’ the power of the distraction to begin with. Often diluting a distraction means moving it further away, or moving your dog further away from it.

Remember, no dog is going to cope with huge distractions without this kind of preparation. You have to fake it, to make it!

#15 Film yourself

It is often impossible to spot flaws in your own performance or to figure out what you are doing wrong, without some kind of feedback or perspective.

The advent of smartphone have transformed this aspect of dog training, because a great way to get this feedback and perspective is to film yourself.

You can easily do this with a smart phone and a gadget for steadying it. I use a GorillaPod, which can act as a miniature tripod or be wrapped around a branch or rail.

#16 Plan for problems

This is about anticipating trouble. Because trouble WILL happen.

Don’t assume you have a field or the beach to yourself just because it is early in the morning.

Do assume another dog will come bowling up at any minute to interrupt you and PLAN what you are going to do when he does.

Don’t go out without your ‘training lead’ or any of the rewards you need to have ready when your dog is successful.

Be prepared for every eventuality!

#17 Drop your standards

“What’s that?” you say. “DROP your standards!” “Have you gone mad?”.

Nope, I haven’t gone mad. Dropping standards, or lowering the demands you make on the dog during training is very important at certain times.

You do it whenever you add or increase a second factor of difficulty. Here’s an example:

You want your dog to sit and stay when you walk ten yards away from him.

Assuming you have already taught your dog to sit and stay AT YOUR SIDE for two minutes (some people unwittingly skip this bit) the next task is adding distance.

Moving away from your dog makes the sit stay harder for him.

So you need to make the duration of the task much easier to begin with – forget two minutes – make it ten seconds. Or less.

Build up duration back up at ten yards. When you increase distance again, drop the duration again.

If you add a third factor of difficulty – other dogs for example – drop the duration AND the distance.

#18 Find a positive trainer

It is entirely possible to train a dog yourself without ever visiting a professional dog trainer or attending a puppy class.

find-the-right-trainerIn fact, if you can’t find the right class or the right trainer you are probably better off figuring things out for yourself. Or taking one of our online training courses.

An old fashioned, punitive trainer can do untold harm to a puppy.

Having said that, help from a good positive reinforcement trainer is invaluable and will make training your dog much easier.

#19 Find the right information

This tip is not quite so important, because you are here, after all! There is a mountain of information on this website to help you.

Of course, we are not the only source of great dog training tips and information around. So it can be useful to know when the information you have found is going to help you and your dog.

There are a few clues that you have landed on the wrong kind of page.

If you are reading about the need to ‘dominate’ your dog or be the ‘pack leader’ you have probably landed on a website with outdated dog training information on it.

‘Correcting’ a dog is simply a euphemism for mild punishment, and ‘respect’ is often a euphemism for fear. Anyone states that you need to show your dog who is the boss, is probably not very knowledgeable, or has not kept up with their professional development as a dog trainer.

This kind of information is becoming less common, but you are bound to come across it from time to time.

#20 Join a support network

There are some excellent support networks online.

The Labrador Site has a forum where many Labrador owners give up their time to help others with dog training and behavior issues.

The Dogsnet Training Center also has a private forum for training course students where you can get help from me and my team.

A listening ear and advice from others who have been where you are now can go a long way.

#21 Practice, practice, and don’t give up

Dogs only learn through the consequences of their actions and typically need to repeat those actions and experience those consequences several (sometimes many) times in order to learn from them.

Sometimes we forget that we need to practice to get good at something.

If you want your dog to be good at recalling from other dogs, he needs to practice recalling away from other dogs.

There’s no way around this.

obedience-among-other-dogsPracticing desirable behaviors using fake set-ups like the one described above, is an essential part of any dog training program.

Fake training scenarios help you to practice recall,  heel and other basic commands in at home and in public, in a way that you can control.

This enables you to ‘proof’ your dog’s commands against the distractions which will inevitably arise in the real world.

Don’t give up because it is sometimes difficult to find people to help you do this. Be persistent. This is what separates well-behaved dogs from naughty ones.

Find ways to practice and pester people to help you.

It’s important. Especially when it comes to recall. Your dog’s life could depend on it.

#22 Enjoy your dog training

My final tip is to take deliberate steps to ensure you are having fun.

If you are not enjoying training your dog you MUST take action!

This is because your dog will know and because you simply won’t stick at it if it isn’t fun.

If you are not enjoying it, try something different

  • Check you are using the right methods
  • Try a different skill
  • Teach a silly trick
  • Watch a youtube training video
  • Just take your dog for a walk and start training again tomorrow
  • Make your lessons easier for the dog
  • Train at a different time of day
  • Join an online course
  • Read a good training book
  • Start over with puppy stuff
  • Join a forum or find a trainer

Just don’t try to battle on alone.

This also applies to classes – don’t keep going if it isn’t fun. Modern dog training is a pleasurable experience. There will be ups and downs, but generally speaking you and your dog should be enjoying yourselves.

If you are not, then get some help – joining the forum would be a good first step.

How about you?

Do you have any dog training tips to share with other readers? Drop your comments into the box below.

About Pippa

Dog Training Tips was brought to you by Pippa Mattinson.


Pippa is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and creator of the Dogsnet Online Training Program.

You can get regular training tips from Pippa by email, using the box below

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Puppy Training Schedule: What to Teach Puppies, and When

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Breed Selection Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

We always anticipate the joys of all that’s good about owning a puppy.

But often it doesn’t work out as well as we’d hoped. Puppies are delightful bundles of energy and curiosity…. but they can also be exasperating and frustrating.

If you respond properly to the challenges of bringing a new puppy into your home, the adjustment period will be shorter and less stressful for both of you.

If you do not respond properly….. well, unfortunately that’s why so many teenage dogs are turned over to rescue groups and animal shelters.

Starting at 7 weeks old….

Training a puppy by teaching feeding routines

Routines are reassuring to puppies. For example, his food and water bowls should stay in one place.

Teach your puppy the daily routines that will govern his life.

  • Where his food and water dishes are located.
  • What times of day he will eat.
  • Where his bed is.
  • What time he goes to bed.
  • What time he will be taken out in the morning.
  • Where he should go to the bathroom.
  • Where his grooming spot is (for brushing, trimming, nail clipping, teeth cleaning).

Be consistent, consistent, consistent.

Dogs thrive on sameness, routines that are familiar, predictable, repeated. As much as possible, do the same things with your puppy every day – the same things in the same order, using the same words.

For example… here’s a good mealtime routine:

  1. Cue your pup when you’re ready to prepare his meal. “Are you hungry? Want your food?” Exaggerate the key words.
  2. Have him come with you to the kitchen. Get his bowl from the same cupboard and set it on the same counter every time. He should be right there watching you. You want him to see that YOU are the source of his food.
  3. If he’s acting excitable, don’t put his food down, else he’ll learn that excitable behavior makes the food appear! If he’s racing around, barking, or jumping, he should be on leash so you can stop those behaviors. Puppy sitting before meal“Sit” before meals encourages calmness and patience – two valuable traits that will make other training much easier.
  4. When he is calm, the bowl is ready to go down. If he already knows how to sit, have him sit first – it’s a subtle and gentle leadership thing. Then say “Okay!” and place the bowl on the floor, in the same spot every time. “Here’s your food.”
  5. If you have multiple dogs, each should have his own eating spot away from the others. Place the bowls down in the same order each time, saying the dog’s name as his bowl goes down. “Buffy… here’s your food. Kelly… food.”
  6. During mealtime, don’t let kids or other pets approach any dog who is eating. If one of your dogs is not well-behaved enough to obey this rule, he should be dragging his leash so you can get hold of him. If necessary, feed the dogs in separate crates or separate rooms. Bullying or stealing food is completely unacceptable in a multi-dog household.
  7. If a pup walks away from his bowl, pick it up. If there is still food left, make a mental or written note, as it could suggest illness.
  8. After 10 minutes, all the bowls should be picked up to avoid picky eating habits or food guarding habits to develop.
  9. The final part of the routine is a potty break immediately after every meal. If you’re still housebreaking, take the pup out on leash. If he’s already 100% housebroken and eliminates reliably when you send him out himself, that’s fine. In either case, announce the potty break: “Do you need to go OUT? Time to go OUT.”

As you can see, you’re not only showing your puppy what YOU will do as part of the routine, you’re also showing him what you expect HIM to do as his part of the routine.

Once your pup learns the routine for, say, meal time, if you do your part every time, he will do his part every time. Automatically. Day in and day out.

The trick is to make sure the routines your puppy is learning are good  ones that lead to good  behavior.

Because if he learns bad  routines, he will repeat them just as readily.

Most behavior problems in dogs are caused by the owner (inadvertently) teaching the pup bad routines.

Good routines should cover as many of the 24 hours in your pup’s day as possible. You want a good routine for meal time, potty breaks, grooming, play time, bed time, getting up in the morning, and so on. I recommend the best routines in my Respect Training For Puppies.

The easiest way to raise and train your puppy is to establish choreographed routines – same things, same order, same words – with yourself as the director, the one in charge. Create good routines, stick to them, and your pup’s behavior will be predictable and good.

More  to teach your puppy starting at 7 weeks old

Along with establishing good routines….

Training a puppy by teaching household rules

Teach Puppy which behaviors are allowed in your house and which behaviors aren’t. This particular behavior would be a “No.”

  • Teach your puppy that “No” or “AH-AH” means “Stop doing that behavior.”
  • Teach your puppy that “Yes” or “Good” means “I like that behavior.”
  • Begin a proven housebreaking program where your puppy can only go to the bathroom in the right place.At 2-3 months old, puppies are infants and won’t have reliable control of their bladder for several months. (Tiny breeds are notoriously difficult to housebreak and take even longer.)

    Still, housebreaking begins the day you bring your puppy home.

    Establish the right pattern from the very beginning and Puppy will be housebroken as soon as his internal organs can cooperate.

    But if you do it wrong, housebreaking will become a nightmare. And sadly, many owners don’t realize they’re doing something wrong until Puppy’s “accidents” have become a bad habit…. and bad habits are hard to undo. So you want to establish the right pattern from the very beginning.

    There are several methods of housebreaking, including using a crate, an exercise pen (“ex-pen”), a doggy door leading into a small potty yard, or a litter box (for tiny breeds).

    You’ll find detailed housebreaking directions in my puppy training book (see bottom of page) – and yes, I cover each one of those housebreaking methods so you can choose which one works best for your pup and your lifestyle.

  • Teach your puppy to go into his crate or pen and to stay quietly when the door is closed. Crate training a puppyA crate protects your puppy from household dangers and is an invaluable aid in housebreaking.

    Your puppy’s crate is his safe and secure den.

    Some people mistakenly refer to a crate as “doggie jail” but that is not the way Puppy will view his crate.

    Oh, at first he might be unhappy to have his movements curtailed, but it won’t be long at all before he goes into the crate on his own, to take a nap or just to get away from household activity.

    For a new puppy, a crate helps with housebreaking and provides a safe den for sleeping.

    When your puppy is used to his crate, it will be easy to take him visiting, or for trips in the car, or to the vet.

    When we watch TV, we sit in our favorite chairs and our dogs typically choose to lie down in their crates (doors open), watching the same shows we watch (sort of).

    Pups who are not yet housebroken should NOT be loose in your house. Unless you are interacting closely with him, your pup should be in a crate or pen, or connected to you via a leash.

    The #1 mistake owners make with a puppy is giving him too much freedom in the house, too soon. Loose pups either get hurt or develop bad habits. For their own safety and to prevent future behavior problems, your puppy should not be loose in your house.

Starting at 8 weeks old….

Teach everything above (routines, housebreaking, crate training, Good, No), plus…

  • Teach your puppy to be calm indoors. Pups who are allowed to be excitable indoors are far more likely to have behavior problems. Don’t allow running around the house, rushing the doorbell, attacking the vacuum cleaner, or lots of rough play, barking, or jumping.
  • Teach your puppy to take food and toys gently from your hand. Don’t let him have anything if he grabs at it.
  • Teach your puppy NOT to mouth or nip at anyone’s hands or feet. Training a puppy by teaching him gentlenessTeach your puppy to be gentle when interacting with people. He must not nip or chew on people’s hands.

    Puppy’s mother (and siblings) began teaching gentleness by firmly correcting Puppy when he played too roughly.

    Your job is to take over from where they left off and teach Puppy how to restrain himself when he plays with humans.

    Remember, you must be the one who sets the limits of ALL good and bad behavior.

  • Teach your puppy NOT to jump on anyone, including yourself.
  • Teach your puppy to give or drop whatever is in his mouth when told.
  • Teach your puppy to stay still (more or less!) and not fuss when you’re brushing him, bathing him, clipping his nails, or brushing his teeth. Teach him to accept handling of any part of his body. Training a puppy by teaching him to accept handlingStart handling your puppy immediately so he learns to accept anything you need to do with him.

    Your puppy must accept YOU as the leader in your family. Being the leader simply means you are the one who decides what is okay for Puppy to do and what isn’t okay.

    For example…. brushing, bathing, clipping nails, cleaning teeth, giving a pill, putting on a collar or harness.

    These are all times when YOU – not Puppy – have to be the one to decide what is necessary. Puppy should stand quietly for anything you need to do with him.

  • Teach your puppy to respect the other pets in your family. He may not take anything away from another pet. He should “take turns” for treats and attention. No bickering, pestering, pushiness, or jealousy.

Starting at 10 weeks old….

Teach everything from the previous sections, plus…

Training an older puppy

Older puppies are ready to start learning more advanced words after they are obeying basics such as “No.” Don’t jump ahead!

  • Teach your puppy to walk on the leash without pulling. If your pup is currently pulling on the leash, don’t take him for any more walks until you’ve first taught him to stop pulling inside your own home and yard.
  • Teach your puppy to wait at open doors and gates until you give permission to go through.
  • Teach your puppy to come every time you call. For now, that might mean keeping him on a leash in the house and a long cord in the yard, so you can make sure he comes.
  • Teach your puppy to be quiet. Lots of barking makes dogs more excitable. Don’t allow barking at harmless things such as your neighbor or your neighbor’s dog. Certainly your pup can bark to alert you to something, but he should stop barking when told. He should be quiet when left home alone.

Starting at 12 weeks old….

Teach everything from the previous sections, plus…

  • Teach your puppy to Sit and then to stay sitting until you cue him to get up.
  • Teach your puppy to go to his dog bed when told, and to stay there until given permission to get up. This valuable exercise teaches calmness, impulse control, and physical and mental relaxation. Every pup should be able to do it.

Starting at 16 weeks old….

Teach everything from the previous sections, plus…

  • Teach your puppy to go for a structured walk where he stays close beside you and pays close attention to you, instead of being distracted by everything else.
  • Teach your puppy to greet people and other animals politely, or else ignore them. Don’t allow him to act excitably, aggressively, or fearfully toward people or other dogs.

Respectful dogs understand and do what you say

Before they’re 6 months old, my pups know how to do everything in the lists above. They pay close attention to me and do whatever I ask of them.

If you’re unsure about how to teach everything on my lists, it’s all covered in my puppy training book, Respect Training For Puppies (30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy).

Is your pup a little older?

You might be thinking, “But my pup’s already 6 months old… what do I do now?”

Simple. Start at the very beginning, as though your 6 month old pup was only 7 weeks old. Start by establishing the routines that will govern everything in your pup’s life. Start with housebreaking. Start with crate training. Start with “Good” and “No”.

And if your pup is 12 months old? 18 months old? Or even older than that?

Older puppy

When I foster an older puppy, I train him exactly as I would a younger pup – I start at the very beginning, with the basics.

You might think a training schedule would be different for a much older puppy…. but it isn’t.

Whether your puppy is 3 months old, 6 months old, or 18 months old, the order of training should start with the same words and respect training I’ve been talking about.

Namely…. daily routines, praise and correction words, crate training, housebreaking, acceptance of being handled, gentleness, and household rules.

So if your older puppy (or adult dog) is still mouthing on your hands, or barking back at you when you tell him to do something, or if he doesn’t stop whatever he’s doing when you say, “No”, you need to double down on those basics.

Then you can move on to more advanced stuff.

“But how?”  you want to know. “How  do I train my puppy?”

Shiba Inu pup learning to be calm and patient

It’s best to get this right the first time around, because Puppy won’t ever be the same age again.

You get only one chance to teach all the right habits to a “clean slate” puppy. If you try to train your puppy without help, you will probably have to re-do the lessons, only this time with an older puppy with bad habits.

But what kind of help?

You don’t need to sign up for an obedience class or “puppy socialization” class to get help training and socializing your puppy. Those classes can be overwhelming for a puppy. Gentle pups can get over-run by bullies, which can completely ruin your pup’s temperament. And excitable puppies just get more excitable in those classes.

I don’t recommend taking a puppy to any group class. I don’t even take my own pups to such classes. The risk is too great.

Instead, teach your puppy at home. I’ll help you. My puppy training book is called Respect Training for Puppies: 30 Seconds to a Calm, Polite, Well-Behaved Puppy.

I’ll show you my proven step-by-step training method for teaching your puppy all the words he needs to know, plus consistent household rules and routines, housebreaking, crate training, acceptance of being handled, calmness, gentleness, and general obedience training.

My training method is:

  1. BASED ON LEADERSHIP AND RESPECT, which means you and your family are the leaders in your household and your pup is the follower. Dogs LOVE to be followers when you show them that you’re a confident, consistent leader who makes all the decisions.
  2. BALANCED, which means positive reinforcement (praise and rewards) for good behaviors, and corrections for bad behaviors.I don’t teach or recommend so-called “purely positive” methods that allow misbehaving pups to continue misbehaving, instead of teaching them which behaviors are and are not allowed. “Purely positive” is fine for teaching tricks and high-level competition exercises, but NOT for teaching the solid good behaviors that all family dogs need to know, and NOT for stopping behavior problems such as barking, jumping, chewing, nipping, chasing, etc.

puppy training bookIf you want your puppy to be a good family dog, teach him with a balanced training method based on respect and leadership. It’s the perfect match for how your pup thinks and learns. Check out Respect Training For Puppies.

Source

Wisdom Panel DNA Test

What Breeds Were Your Dog’s Parents? DNA Test for Dogs!

The ‘Deets’
  • With a simple cheek swab you can do at home, this test searches over 350 breeds!
  • There are only three steps to complete!

How it works: THE DOG DNA TEST

All you have to do is collect your dog’s DNA with a cheek swab. Then, activate your kit online and send your kit to the lab!

P.S.- The shipping is prepaid so there aren’t any additional expenses!

how long to get results?

You’ll receive our genetic analysis of your dog’s ancestry & breed identification in as little as 2 weeks.

the benefits of dna testing for dogs

  1. Genetic testing can help you identify breeds therefore identifying specific health issues common to those breeds.
  2. Based on the results, you can work with your veterinarian to develop training and nutrition plans.
  3. AND, of course, you will now know exactly what breeds your dog consists of!

wisdom panel: most comprehensive dna for dogs company

Wisdom Panel is leading the way in genetic testing for dogs. They have tested over 1.5 million dogs and developed the most comprehensive breed database in the world!

understand your dog better

You will better understand your dog by discovering:

::::::Appearance

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click the link below to learn more about the wisdom panel test!

Five Ways You Can Make Moving to a New Home Smoother for Your Dog

Our dogs are part of the family and, as such, need special consideration when we plan for a move. Just as we anticipate the number of bedrooms for each family member, we must think of our dog’s needs, too. Here are some ways you can make moving to a new home a breeze for everyone.

Read the Fine Print

When moving somewhere new with a dog, you have extra considerations. For example, there could be laws against certain breeds or strict city restrictions on the number of pets you can have. So, before you pack your bags, do a little digging to determine whether the city you’re considering is a good fit. Once you have this decided, you can start researching neighborhoods

HOAs may also have regulations, so talk to your real estate agent about the best locations, and scope out the neighborhood yourself. Are other people walking dogs? Are there dog parks? Do they have waste bags and plenty of trash cans? These are indications you’re in a pet-friendly space, making it easier for you and your pup to assimilate. 

Lastly, when looking for the right place, it may be difficult to tick off all the boxes on your checklist, and you may need to compromise to find the perfect home for your budget

Knowing the average cost of a home in the area where you’re looking can guide your financial choices. 

Local Moving Tips

Even if you’re just moving across town, your dog may have a hard time. In particular, their home will be all packed up, movers will have invaded their space, and they won’t know what’s going on. The best you can do is to make the car ride as pleasant as possible. To start, get them used to driving around with you by turning it into a routine rather than something to be scared of. For their safety and comfort, buy them a good harness (which you can find on Walmart starting at $9.99). Lastly, give them anything that you know can keep them calm. That might mean their favorite toy, a T-shirt with your smell, or some medicinal or herbal help in the form of pheromones and mild sedatives.

Long-Distance Moving Tips

A longer car ride means preparing for all of the above and more. Pack water and snacks for your pup to ensure they stay comfortable on the trip. Best of all, healthy foods like blueberries, kale, beef, turkey, and fish can all have a comforting effect, so consider having those items on hand. Additionally, by planning out your rest stops, you’ll be able to gauge where the best places for breaks are. Some are friendlier to dogs than others, so researching ahead of time is essential.

Be Ready for Moving Day

If you’re concerned about your dog escaping out the open front door, it’s likely you’ll spend more time worried about your pup than the actual move. It’s quite possible your pup may have a traumatic time on moving day if kept at home. After all, strangers will be coming and going and all the noise and movement will be unsettling. Ideally, it’s best if a friend can watch them, or you can try boarding your pet for the day. 

Help Your Dog Adjust

A new environment will be hard for your dog, so do everything you can to keep their routine on track. In fact, going on regular walks will help them become familiar with the neighborhood and reduce their anxiety. Try to also stick to regular feeding times and play times, just so your pup can count on continuity. 

It may not be easy, but the right preparation can make the moving experience smoother. Know what your dog needs, plan well for the packing and moving, and help your dog adjust to their new surroundings. Remember, while you may be excited, they’ll likely feel uncomfortable with these changes, so take extra care with their anxiety levels.

Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Top 3 Calming Exercises for Anxious Dogs

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Many dogs are sent to shelter home due to their anxiety problems that develop due to hyperactivity. On the other hand, dogs that are brought home from animal shelters have behavior issues like barking, digging, destructive chewing, etc. The problem, in both cases, is not with dogs but with the owners who fail to provide enough opportunities to their Fido to invest their pent-up energies positively.

Did you ever think of trying out some calming exercises for your pooch? Here are three ways to tone down the excessive energy of dogs:

  1. Doga:

Doga has calming effects on both the dog owner and the pooch. Although dogs are not able to imitate the stretches and poses of their yogi owners, still they feel calm at the end of a yoga session. The bonding between the owner and the dog gets stronger. The owners are able to better understand their Fido’s body language. They will be able to train the pooch in a more calm and controlled manner.

Doga helps dogs invest their energies in calming exercises. Your pooch will feel relaxed after doga class. Try it out for your anxious and hyperactive dog.

  1. Routine and Familiarity:

Unfamiliar situations and environments, as well as haphazard routines, are known to create confusions in the pooch’s mind. It may create anxiety that will lead to destructive chewing and excessive barking, etc.

Dogs enjoy following routines. They feel uncomfortable when their set schedule is not followed. Routines help a dog wait for the play, walk or exercise time patiently. Consistency in daily routine activities will keep the pooch relaxed. Are you following the routine of your dog?

Sometimes dog owners do not maintain routine of giving food to the pooch. Whether you serve raw dog food or dry kibble, maintain a fixed time. One day giving food via treat dispensing toys and the other day in food bowls can also upset the little pooch. Dogs need surety about everything. Or else, they stay anxious whether they will have it or not!

If you are an adventure lover, your dog can feel anxious in unfamiliar places. To maintain the familiarity, take the Fido’s favorite chewing cloth that has your scent and of home. Give him a chew toy, familiar bowl, familiar bed, and blanket to stay calm and comfortable at unknown places or new home.

  1. Music or Smart Toys:

Some dogs are not hyperactive but are rather intelligent dog breeds. They need something for their mental stimulation. Find out some puzzles, buster cubes, interactive toys, Kongs to keep the pooch busy during your absence. Stuff them with their favorite treat so they may stay motivated to solve the puzzle.

Whether it’s a thunderstorm or fireworks that makes your pooch anxious and restless, it will not worry your Fido anymore. Simply, turn on some soft music in the room. A study conducted by Physiology and Behavior says that dogs feel relaxed and calm when the sound of soft rock or reggae fills the room. During unfamiliar situations or stressful ones, playing the soothing soft rock music will definitely improve your dog’s behavior.

Before you decide to leave your cute cuddle ball in an animal shelter, consider trying these tricks to calm his nerves. Sometimes, medications work for toning down dog’s anxiety.

Would you like being left alone for your bad behaviors that developed due to certain circumstances other had created for you?

Do Dogs Cry Like Us?

When dogs get upset, do they cry real tears like we do? Do they even have tear ducts? Our dog’s language is extremely intriguing. And, although they don’t talk the same language as us, they still have ways to communicate their feelings.

We all know when our dog is happy… but do they cry when they’re upset? Do their feelings get hurt?

A Dog’s Tear Ducts

Yes, dogs do have tear ducts like us. And, anyone who has a Maltese, or a Poodle, can attest to that. They are particularly apparent if your dog is pure white. Dog lovers who have a Maltese or Poodle are continuously wiping off the corner of their dog’s eyes due to their tear staining.

maltesedogbehaviorblog

Other breeds may also have excessive drainage from their eyes. In technical terms, this phenomenon is known as epiphora.

Tear Types and the Emotions

There are two types of tears humans and dogs share. These tears are known as basal tears and reflexive tears. Basal tears are continuously produced to keep the eye moist. Reflexive tears protect the eyes from allergens or any type of irritant.

Then, there are emotional tears. Dogs don’t share these with us. Emotional tears begin when we (humans) are overwhelmed, frustrated, or generally emotional. A dog’s tear ducts do not allow them to produce emotional tears. But, even though dogs don’t cry ‘tears’ when they’re upset, they still have their own way of letting us know.

Why Does My Dog Look Like She’s Crying?

If your dog looks as if she is crying, this could be due to a medical condition. The causes of ‘dog tears’ include the following:

  • Allergies: Allergies can cause a dog’s eye(s) to water… just like us. If your dog has allergies, your veterinarian should be contacted so you’re able to determine what she or he is allergic to.
  • Blocked Tear Ducts: If your dog’s tear ducts are blocked, you may notice what appears to be tears leaving his eyes.
  • Scratched Cornea: If your dog is active, there’s a possibility she may be ‘crying’ due to a scratched cornea. If your dog has a scratched cornea, she might also be blinking excessively.
  • Irritants: There could be a speck of dirt in your dog’s eye, or some other type of irritant, causing tears.

Do Dogs Understand When We Cry?

Yes, research has found dogs respond to our tears. They know when we’re upset based on our facial expressions and the tone of our voice. Research has gone so far to say many dogs can understand how we’re feeling without even seeing us in person. They’re able to tell by a picture.

The Bottom Line

Even though it might look as if your dog is sad, and crying emotional tears, your dog isn’t truly ‘crying’ the way do. If you notice tears coming from your dog’s eyes, make an appointment with your veterinarian to find out the cause.

6 Steps to Potty Training Your Puppy

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Young puppies have an extremely hard time holding their bladder and will need to relieve themselves frequently. Potty training isn’t an easy process, but with time and dedication, you’ll have a much easier time as your pup gets older.

Potty training should begin the moment you pick up your puppy. This will help her get on the right track, sooner. Although she may have accidents, she will begin to understand what is expected of her. And, this will mean less clean-up for you. In this article, we’ll go through the steps of potty training… the ‘do’s,’ and the ‘do not’s.’

Step 1: Praise Your Puppy Excessively

Being required to go potty in a designated area is new to any dog. A dog’s instincts don’t tell them they’re not permitted to use the bathroom inside the house. Their instincts tell them to find an area where they don’t sleep or eat, and use the bathroom there, whether inside or outside.

That’s why it’s so important to praise your dog excessively when he uses the potty outside. Your dog needs your feedback to be successful in potty training (and all other types of training). Be sure to praise your puppy immediately after they potty outside… or else they won’t know what you’re praising them for.

The praise can be in the form of an excited “yay, good job,” a yummy low-calorie treat or kibble, or both. Many dog lovers carry around a handful of kibble in their pockets out of their puppy’s daily portions.

Step 2: Utilize a Crate

There’s controversy in the dog world about using crates… some dog lovers want a crate and others feel it’s not necessary. But, the crate essentially becomes your dog’s ‘den’ or ‘safe space.’ The crate is also helpful because puppies don’t like to use the bathroom where they sleep.

The crate should have a soft layer of padding to it. A dog bed generally works just fine. The crate should be large enough for your puppy to stand up and move around, but not large enough for your pup to relieve himself and move to another spot to sleep.

You can also place toys in the crate with your puppy so they’re able to play if they get bored. Mental puzzle toys, and some type of chew toy, are usually best. The Kong toys work extremely well, they’re mentally stimulating, and puppies generally can’t rip them to shreds. One of the biggest mistakes puppy parents make is grabbing a toy that looks neat, but their puppy shreds the toy into small pieces and end up swallowing parts of the toy. This could lead to a blockage… and we don’t want that to happen.

For this step, it’s critical to note that puppies should not stay in their crates for long periods of time. The crate should only be utilized when you’re not able to pay attention to your puppy. Then, once their potty trained, you can leave the door to their crate open so they’re able to freely enter and exit.

Step 3: No Punishments

Punishing your puppy for urinating or defecating on the floor can do more harm than good. By the time you find out your puppy has had an accident, your pup likely doesn’t remember what they did. And, even if you catch them in the act, punishing your puppy could permanently damage the bond and trust they have with you.

Staying calm when they have an accident is essential. You shouldn’t yell, chase, or smack your puppy. You also shouldn’t ‘rub his nose in it.’ Not only will you lose their trust, but they will associate going potty with punishment and may resort to using the bathroom in areas you won’t find.

Some dog lovers will argue, ‘but rubbing her nose in it works.’ And, yes… sometimes it does. But, you risk the bond you will have with her for the rest of her life by using punishment as a learning method.

Step 4: Show Her Where to Go

If you catch your puppy in the act, instead of punishing, try to re-direct her attention. You can re-direct her attention by saying “let’s go potty outside” or something similar. Then, immediately bring her outside to show her where it’s okay to use the bathroom. Then, once she uses the bathroom in your designed area, that’s when you can excessively praise her. She will connect the dots, and learn you are happy when she uses the bathroom in that particular area.

Step 5: Don’t Overuse Puppy Pads

You can, and should, have puppy pads in the house while you’re training your pup. But, you shouldn’t set them up in multiple areas around the house. This is confusing to a puppy, and they won’t understand why it’s not okay to use the bathroom in the house. They also may not be able to distinguish between a puppy pad and an area rug, or why she’s allowed to use the bathroom in some areas of the home but not others.

Step 6: Establish a Routine

Establishing a routine with any puppy or adult dog is critical. Dogs have a great sense of time, and if you have a set routine it will make potty training much easier. For example, if you always take her potty after she eats, she will understand after she eats she goes potty outside. This may take time- so don’t get upset if she doesn’t immediately understand the routine. Don’t worry- she will.

The Bottom Line on Potty Training

The most important step you should be aware of in this process is to always be positive with your puppy. Dogs and puppies are eager to please you. They want to make you happy as often as possible. Also, understand every dog is different, and some puppies may take longer than others to learn what’s expected of them.

7 Tips for Choosing the Best Dog Toys

Would you buy your 6 month old baby a nerf gun or an easy bake oven; of course not.

How do you decide what kind of toys to buy for your fur baby? Is it better to buy a bunch of cheaper toys so they will have more to choose from or a few that will last (hopefully) and be safe for them?

dogtoys

Tip #1: The Size of the Dog

More than the age of your dog, their size should be taken into consideration.  If you buy a toy for a small dog that fits their mouth, that same toy could get hung in a larger dog’s throat and choke them – to death.

Tip #2: Dog-Proofing the Home

Another thing to help keep your fur baby safe is the same as having a toddler in your home. You should make sure not to have strings, ribbons, pantyhose, or rubber bands within reach. These items WILL be eaten and they are not digestible. I am learning this even when buying the toys made of string which MY dog has ingested. She sometimes has to have help getting the strings to come out (not a pretty picture). Point in fact, don’t buy string balls, toys that have the string inside of them to make them stronger, etc.

Tip #3: Don’t Buy Rawhide for Your Dog

Some people believe that all the rawhide chewing toys are a good thing for any dog but there are things to watch for on this also. Asking your veterinarian would be a good idea to make sure which ones would be safe since some could come apart and cause your dog to choke. On top of that some rawhides have unsafe byproducts that come from the cruel international fur trade. It is better to be safe and a humane alternative to buy the hard rubber toys. These last longer and are safer. For my pittie, I buy Kong and they definitely last longer than normal toys. She also has a Nylabone that has lasted now for about six months (peanut flavor). There are different sizes in these also for different size dogs. For any toy that you buy be careful of when they are beginning to come apart so your dog doesn’t try to eat it and get choked.

Tip #4: Encourage Mental Stimulation

If you want to keep your puppy/grown dog busy for a while and distracted there are also distraction toys. These are toys that you can put treats in the middle of and they play to get these treats by moving the toy around.

Tip # 5: Comfort Toys

Soft stuffed toys are good for several purposes, but they aren’t appropriate for all dogs. Here are a few tips for choosing the right stuffed toy:

  • Some dogs like to carry around soft toys. If your dog sees their toy as a companion, pick one that’s small enough to carry.
  • Some dogs want to shake or “kill” their toys, so choose one that’s large enough to prevent accidental swallowing and sturdy enough to withstand the dog’s attacks.

Dirty laundry, such as an old t-shirt, pillowcase, towel or blanket, can be very comforting to a dog, especially if the item smells like you! Be forewarned that the item could be destroyed by industrious fluffing, carrying and nosing.

Tip #6: Making Toys Last

Rotate your dog’s toys weekly by making only a few toys available at a time. Keep a variety of types easily accessible. If your dog has a favorite, like a soft comfort toy,  you may want to leave it out all the time.

Provide toys that serve a variety of purposes — give your dog at least one toy to carry, one to shake, one to roll and one for comfort.

Tip #7: Let Your Pup Find It

“Found” toys are often much more attractive than toys that are obviously introduced. A game of finding toys or treats is a good rainy-day activity for your dog, using up energy without the need for a lot of space.

The Bottom Line on Toys

Many of your dog’s toys should be interactive. Interactive play is very important for your dog because they need active “people time,” which enhances the bond between you and your pet. Try balls, flying disks and other toys that help foster the bond between person and pet.

By focusing on a specific task —such as repeatedly returning a ball, Kong, or Frisbee® or playing “hide-and-seek” with treats or toys — your dog can expend pent-up mental and physical energy from boredom in a limited amount of time and space. For young, high-energy and untrained dogs, interactive play also offers an opportunity for socialization and helps them learn about appropriate and inappropriate behavior, such as jumping up or being mouthy.

 

 

Let’s Hear From You: What Do You Need?

Hello, everyone! I’m so happy you’re here. As you can see, the Dog Behavior Blog has been completely revamped. As I was sitting down to write an article for you, there are so many ideas popping through my head. But, before I write another article, I want to hear from you.

What do you need help with? What questions do you have? This is your opportunity to ask your questions, and allow me to address them in an article, or perhaps a series of articles, so you (and your fellow dog lovers) can learn more about their dogs.

As a professional in the industry, you sometimes skip over the most common questions. What’s familiar to you may not be familiar to someone ‘outside the box….’ if you know what I mean.

And, on top of your questions, is there anything you hope Canine Companions will offer in the future? Are you looking for a specific e-course, e-book, instruction sheet, recipes, etc?

Please feel free to submit a comment, or use the Contact Us page, to submit your questions, comments, and/or concerns.

I can’t wait to hear from you.

Amber L Drake