It's Never Too Late to Train Our Dogs!
A well-trained dog is a very happy and well-behaved dog! As much as we try to ignore it or put it off, training is an essential part of dog ownership. I know that I need to work on my dedication to training as most of us probably do. I like to start off strong training my new puppies to pee outside, sit and shake. Then I end up getting distracted by life and training falls off of my radar like it does with almost everyone else. We only partially train our dogs to stay or lie down, and we don’t reinforce the behaviors. We forget to train our dogs not to bark at everything and not to jump on us or other people. And then we complain about how our dogs always jump up on us!
January is Train Your Dog Month, so I thought that now would be a good time to remind everyone that old dogs CAN learn new tricks, and it’s never too late to train our dogs out of a behavior we can’t stand, or into a behavior that we really desire. It can be done, and I’ve compiled a list of our best training blogs here at Hollywood Feed to help us on this journey. Read on and let’s get to training our dogs!
There are some training basics we should all become familiar with before we start trying to teach our dogs any commands. Consistency, timing and relationship building are a few essential training skills. Find out what the rest are and how to work on your skills by reading 10 Training Secrets Every Pet Parent Should Know.
Clicker training is a great way to start teaching our dogs. Learn about clicker training by reading So, What is a Clicker and Why Do I Need One? Clicker training is very effective for almost every dog, and your dog will learn to enjoy training sessions! Read more at 7 Reasons Why the Clicker Works Every Time and How.
If you’ve got a new puppy, the first thing you will want to do is to housebreak him! Sometimes older dogs we adopt from the shelter or off the street will also need to be housebroken. This is very important, as most of us prefer that no animals pee or poop in our homes. We can ALL successfully housebreak our pets, the main thing it requires is consistency on our part for two or three weeks, which can be hard. Read my Foolproof Guide to Housebreaking New Puppies and Oopsy! There’s a Poopsy! – What To Do if Your Pup has an Accident in the Crate or House to learn how easy housebreaking really is!
Another very important part of training our dogs is to teach them how to stay home alone without destroying things or to calm down and be quiet when playtime is over. Crate training and place training can be an important part of this. Imagine how good it would feel if after your dog has been running around for a while you could say, “go to your place” and have your dog lie down and be quiet! It’s not as hard as you think. Read a Crate Training Guide-A Guide to Getting Your Dog Acquainted to a New Crate, Teach Your Dog to Wait Before Exiting the Crate in 5 Minutes and A Place for Everyone – Place Training Your Dog.
Our dogs should also understand when they need to leave something alone, such as my dinner plate, a trash can, or a cat. This can also be a life-saving command if our dogs “leave it” instead of chasing it into the street. Learn how to train your dog to “leave it” here at 4 Simple Steps to the Perfect “Leave It”.
Getting Out of the House
If we ever want to go on a walk with our dog or take him to a dog park or to our mom’s house, then we need to start working on socialization training right away. We need to teach our dogs how to behave in public. It is actually very easy with puppies, and can become more difficult (though possible) once bad behaviors are learned and reinforced with time. It really comes down to the amount of exposure to new things our dogs get, with a positive or neutral consequence. Things like new smells, new people, other dogs, cats, noises, pretty much anything new our dogs experience helps their socialization. You can read Eliminate Your Dog’s Anti-Social Behavior with This Guide to Socialization and Tips for a Fun-Filled Trip to the Dog Park to learn more.
We must always be on the lookout for our dogs’ body language because that is one of the ways they communicate with us. Spending time training your dog will also help you to learn his body language very well. Part of training is starting a relationship with our dogs where we teach them that behaviors have consequences and that they must follow our lead and do what we say. They will learn to trust us, and we can learn to trust them because we can read them so well by knowing their body language. Learn about common canine body language by reading 10 Ways Your Dog is Telling You He’s Stressed.
Training isn’t such a hard thing to do. It takes our time, consistency and commitment (and a few treats). It helps us bond with our dogs more closely, and it makes our dogs more polite and easy to bring with us anywhere! Take the time this week to train your dog on the behavior you’ve been wanting to work on!
- Jessie Isbell