Everyone dreams of owning a dog that doesn’t pull on walks, returns on command, knows how to ignore squirrels and rabbits, and quietly passes every pedestrian that walks by you. However, we all know that this is not their natural instinct. Dogs want to chase, be curious, and explore every taste and smell they sense.
Training a dog should begin before you even purchase a dog. Deciding on house rules before you buy a puppy is important. You and your family have to all agree on the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” of in-house rules. This is very important because the key to a smart, respectful and loyal dog is consistency.
It is also very important to set up a private sleeping place for your new puppy. She needs “a private room” i.e., their crate. Dogs benefit from short periods of being left alone in the comfort and safety of their “private room.” The crate is an excellent tool for housetraining, so reward your dogs if they remain relaxed and quiet inside.
Be wise and respectful in the use of your dog’s name and always refer to them by their name. Just like young humans, young puppy's have short attention spans, however, you can expect them to begin learning simple obedience commands such as “sit”, “down” and “stay” at 7-8 weeks of age.
Don’t always wait for your dog to respond to a command or do something good to say “Good Boy/Girl.” They should be praised for not doing anything bad, so if they are sitting calmly while you watch tv, let them know this is good behaviour and reinforce it.
Often, people ask me: “How long should I train my puppy each day?” While there is no definitive answer, you should keep training sessions for puppies between 5-15 minutes depending on the dog. Exercise your puppy's brain a couple times a day, with breaks full of distraction.
As an owner, and alpha pack member, you should always be in control of the situation.The best example is when you come home after a long day at work and submit to giving your demanding dog your complete and excited attention. Try ignoring your dog when you come in the door and greet her on your terms. This will help your dog build a sense of trust, confidence, independence, and courage -- all qualities we want to see in our dogs.
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Nicholas Mozas is Founder and CEO of DOGORA. He is a graduate of the University of Guelph in Biological Science and holds an M.Sc. in Neutragenomics. Nicholas managed an Animal Hospital after graduation, gaining a better understanding of pets’ and owners’ needs. Find out more at www.dogora.ca