It’s been said, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but dog lovers know that’s not true. Our pups love to keep learning and they love to keep doing things to please us. Dogs are curious and if a treat and positive praise is included, they will eagerly learn new tricks.
Whether you’re training a new puppy a basic command, or an older dog a new trick, offering a small healthy treat mixed with lots of praise keeps them engaged and focused. Training times should be scheduled between or before a meal, when your dog is hungry and ready to partake.
A well-trained dog is a joy for you and for those who come to your home, those you encounter on your walks or if you’re taking your pup on vacation. Another benefit is that when you train your dog you are strengthening your bond and are spending quality time together.
Tips for training your dog
- Be consistent. If you use the word, “sit” when you want your dog to sit, you don’t want to change the word the next time you work with him. If your dog has his “full name” like “Arthur” for example, decide whether you will use that name when you train him or if you will use the nickname you gave him. “Sit, Arthur” may not seem much different (to you) than, “Sit, Arty,” but to your dog it is. Consistency is KEY!
- Don’t over-train. Dogs and puppies have short attention spans. You should plan for short training sessions – fifteen minutes is better than two hours. Stop before your dog gets bored and before you feel frustrated that you have said, “sit” a dozen times. Short, frequent training sessions are better than long sessions.
- Train without distractions. It’s better to train your dog at home in a quiet space before you introduce him to the outdoors or a crowded space in your home. Once your dog has mastered the skill, then introduce distractions because you will want to be certain your dog will listen to you even if it’s not a quiet space.
- End all training sessions on a positive note and with a play session. Know what activity your dog loves and do that when you’re done training. That will help her associate training with fun.
- Positive reinforcement training is best. It’s better to reward good behavior than to punish bad. Our dogs want to please us and when we praise them and offer a high value treat when she does something you’re training her to do she will respond and learn more quickly. When we say a “high value” treat we mean something your dog doesn’t normally get for a treat. This is another way to let your dog know that this is a special time and because of that she gets a special treat. Don’t feed so many treats that your pup develops a weight problem! Offer high quality, all natural treats like our Carnivore cookies.
Keep your dog’s temperament and age in mind when you train them. Don’t expect perfection every time but know that your dog is eager to learn and to please!