Tips for Training Your Dog
As soon as you get a new dog, it’s critical that you start training them in essential skills like walking on a leash, using the yard (or another area that you have set up) to poop and urinate, and treating people with respect.
However, while crucial, training a dog is a challenging task. It requires a lot of effort to make sure that they understand and obey your commands. Here are a few tips to make the process of training your dog just a little bit easier.
Use Positive Reinforcement
As you probably could have guessed, providing some sort of positive reinforcement is one of the best and most successful ways to train a dog. Offer a treat, whether it be a specialty dog treat or simply a piece of meat, whenever your dog does well.
Make sure that you use positive reinforcement in conjunction with commands. It’s of no use to give your dog a treat for simply being “good” (i.e. not doing anything wrong). You need to give them a command such as “Come” or “Stay” or “Sit” and then offer the treat. This will show them that these are the actions you want from them and that you will be pleased with them when they obey.
Abstain from Punishment
Dogs are not people, which means they don’t understand everything that humans will understand. It’s likely that punishment will only end up confusing them and making them afraid when they don’t need to be.
Instead of punishing your dog when they do something wrong, sharply redirect them. If they begin to poop in the house, loudly stop them and take them outside or to whatever area they’re supposed to poop in. If they go for another dog at the park, sharply pull back on the leash and tell them to stop. You can provide treats when they begin performing these activities on their own.
Avoid Dog Training Mistakes
There are many mistakes that dog owners make when they’re new to training their dog. Here are a few mistakes that you should do your best to avoid as you begin the training process:
- Poisoning a cue. Poisoning a cue is when you use it to introduce something they don’t like. For example, if you tell them to sit every time you want to brush their coat, but they hate getting a brushing, they may be reluctant to obey a command to sit. This “poisoning” is something that should be avoided at all costs during the training process, though once your dog has mastered a command, you may be able to get away with it.
- Nagging. If your dog doesn’t respond to a command or cue the first time, don’t continuously repeat it until they do. This nagging will end up teaching them to ignore you most of the time. Focus on getting their attention before you give a command so that they learn how to obey the first time.
- Neglecting practice. If your dog doesn’t practice often, he won’t remember most of his training. You need to spend at least 5 to 10 minutes a day practicing the cues that he’s been learning to reinforce how important they are.
The most important thing to remember is that your dog trusts you and loves you. Your main job is to help your pet learn how to behave well so that you can spend a long and happy life together. Give your dog a lot of grace and help learning and the process will be so much happier and easier for you both.
How to Housetrain a Dog
One of the most challenging parts of training your dog is teaching them where to eliminate waste. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some tips for teaching your pup how to eliminate properly:
- Create a schedule. Most dogs will need to pee or poop shortly after eating, after napping, and after playing. Small puppies with smaller bladders may need to go every couple of hours, while larger dogs may be able to wait four hours or more. Make sure you create a schedule around when your dog needs to go and take them to the designated area until they complete the deed.
- Focus on the deed. Don’t let your dog run around and play when it’s time for him to eliminate. Keep them on a leash and walk them around the designated poop area until they go. Always take your dog to the same place so that they know where they’re supposed to go.
- Create a cue. When your dog poops or pees, use a cue word to congratulate them. Get everyone in the family to use the same word so that when you use that word they know that that’s the deed they’re supposed to accomplish.
- Watch your dog. Dogs always circle and squat before a poop. If you notice them doing this, grab them immediately and take them to their designated area. Just don’t punish them—if you do, they’re likely to think they’re getting in trouble for eliminating and start trying to hide it from you when they need to go.
- Confine and clean. Dogs don’t love being around their own mess in a confined space. If they don’t go within about 15 minutes, take them to a small, confined space and lock them in. If they go while there, they will have to sit with their mess and will quickly learn that that’s not where and when they want to go. This will teach them to be productive in the appropriate space. If they go in the wrong place, be sure that you clean with a cleaner that has a neutralizing scent. Otherwise, they may come back to the spot when they need to go again because it “smells right.”
Housetraining a puppy can be difficult, but it’s important to do. Not only will it help you keep your home clean, but it can also keep your yard looking neater. Having a single spot for your dog to use can ensure that the rest of your landscaping looks fantastic so that no one even notices you have a dog living there!
Following these few steps will help you train your dog quickly so that they don’t poop and pee around your house or ruin your great yard.
If you’ve been working on training your dog and find your yard is full of nasty poop that you don’t have time to clean up, our team at Idaho Poop Scoop can help. Reach out to us and we can come to tidy up your yard as often as you’d like.