Getting a new dog can be a challenge, but if you are willing to invest time and energy into training your dog, then you will quickly live a stress-free life and be able to enjoy their company. It is a good idea to train your dog immediately, so the preparation will need to start before you welcome your new dog home.
To help you get started, here are some top tips for training your new dog.
#1 Choose a good name
The name of your dog is going to play a role in the training. You should consider something that can be easily heard and distinguished. Use their name consistently, and they will quickly learn to respond to it. Make sure you name them something fun or positive.
#2 Research your dog
Every dog is different, which means the training they require will vary. Do some research on the breed of your new dog, so you can invest in the right training techniques. It will also help you purchase the right equipment and food for your dog, as that will play a role in their happiness, well-being and ability to perform in training.
#3 Set house rules
You must be clear on what your house rules are. What are they allowed to do, and what are they not allowed to do? Determine this before your dog comes home, so you can implement the rules from the first time they come into your home. This will ensure there are no bad habits created, which can be much harder to reverse than teaching new ones. This could be keeping part of the house off-limits, having their own chair in the front room, or using hidden dog fences to mark off parts of the garden you don’t want them to have access to.
#4 Relax your dog
When your dog gets home, you must spend time with them to ensure they settle down okay. Remember, this is a brand new environment, with new people and new smells, so it may be overwhelming. Give them food and water, a bed, blankets, a hot water bottle and cuddles. You may even wish to set them up with their own cage, or den. This can provide them with a safe space they will learn is their own and can retreat to when they want to relax. Training your dog will be much easier if they are happy and relaxed.
#5 Reinforce good behaviour
Positive reinforcement is an effective way to train your dog, as you can do it at any time. Make sure you reward your new dog whenever they behave positively, with toys, treats, love, and praise. This tells them that they have done something right, and they are more likely to repeat the behaviour. Be careful not to reward bad behaviour. This can be confusing.
#6 Start with small commands
If you try to teach your dog too much in a short space of time, they are going to be confused and unlikely to remember what they should and should not be doing. It is a great idea to start with small commands and stick with a command until they can do it easily. For example, you can start by teaching your dog to come to you when they are called. Use their name and positive reinforcement. Start with them close by, then practice when they are at a distance and distracted with toys.
#7 Consider the time perspective of your dog
Dogs don’t conceptualise time as humans do. This means that when you teach them something, they don’t go away and rehearse it, as humans do. It is likely that two seconds later, they have forgotten about it. This is why considering their perception is important, so you can stay consistent, and use training techniques often, and repetitively. You should also ensure that you reward the behaviour straight away, so they start to make the connection.
#8 Always end training sessions on a good note
When you start longer training sessions with your new dog, you must reward them at the end of each session. Remember that your dog would have been working hard while training, to learn new behaviour while constantly moving, working and stimulated. They are loving animals and are eager to please humans. Make sure you show some appreciation at the end of each session. This should also encourage enthusiasm for the next session.
Training your new dog can be challenging, but it is worthwhile. This will ensure you have a pleasant experience with your dog and can live happily together.