Training Tips for First-Time Dog Owners

Bringing a new dog into your life is an exciting time. Not only will you have someone to share every day with, but he or she will return your affections with unconditional love and loyalty. Even if you’ve never owned a dog before, training your new pup basic obedience and routines should be easy and fun for both of you. Always use positive reinforcement and praise to encourage good behaviors. Here are three tips to keep in mind when training your dog.

 

Be Consistent

Consistency in the signals and verbal commands you use is an important factor in training your dog successfully. If there are multiple people in your household who will regularly interact with your pup, you’ll want to make sure that you all are on the same pages with the verbal and visual commands that you will use. You’ll also want to ensure you’re consistent with the cue you use to praise or to reward your dog for performing targeted behaviors.

 

Use Rewards Correctly

During training, you’ll want to reward and praise your dog for performing desired behaviors with high-quality treats that he or she would not normally receive. Real meat, cheese, or another high-value food item can be used. Give the verbal command and hand signal, and once your dog completes the task, make sure to shower him or her with ample praise before giving a treat. According to VitaLife, treats that can be torn into smaller pieces or consist of small morsels, to begin with, are ideal for training purposes.

 

Consider Using a Clicker

Clicker training your dog has many benefits. It gives your dog a sound to associate all of his or her positive behaviors with. Clickers are small and inexpensive and can be attached to your keys or leash, or you can stage multiple clickers around your home. Just make sure that they’re all consistent in the type of click they make. Similar to using treats, once your dog performs the indicated command, you let him or her know that he or she successfully completed the task by clicking and reinforcing the behavior with positive voice and treats.

 

Dogs are great companions for anyone to have in their lives. Frequent and consistent training will be key in helping you both build a bond and deepen your relationship together. Ensure that you are consistent in your verbal commands, hand signals, and positive reinforcement of behaviors to help training lessons stick for the long term.

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