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If you are lucky enough to have a dog or puppy in your household, you quickly realize. It’s essential to start your puppy or dog training as soon as possible.
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House Training and Crate Training
Though they’re two separate concepts, these training Must-Haves go hand-in-hand. Your number one step for keeping a dog indoors is to establish a potty and sleep routine. Even if the dog is already house trained, you should focus your efforts on bathroom times; This will come in handy for those times when you can’t take Fido with you.
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For a new pup, a crate can become a helpful tool in house training for many reasons:
1- Safe Place
The crate is the best option for housing your pet safe when you’re unable to watch it. It’s ill-advised to leave a dog outside unattended for many reasons. Untrained pets that still need supervision cannot be left to their own devices in a house full of fun stuff to get into.
Furthermore, a crate instills to your pet that you’re looking out for it and want it to have a place it can go to be alone when it’s scared, overwhelmed, or tired.
2- Bed Time
When you’re asleep, you can’t keep an eye on your dog to make sure it follows the rules. Leaving it to wonder about the house can lead to some disappointing and avoidable surprises when you wake up. Having a crate for your dog to sleep in keeps it contained in the nights when it’s likely to wake up ready to explore.
The idea of a crate may defeat your hopes of cuddling with your pal at night, but so would accidents in the bed or stepping in puddles. This isn’t to say you can’t snuggle later on! If you have a puppy that needs house training, a crate is essential for the first milestone.
Now, let’s say you’re concerned about the loneliness your dog feels at night. Perhaps it howls for attention until sun-up. Don’t give in; bring the crate to the bedroom. Remove any covers so the dog may see you until the very moment you lay down.
Training your dog to go into its kennel at bedtime can be a simple task if you use positive reinforcement and patience. A comfy mat inside helps as well.
3- Time Out
Dog ownership is a bit like parenting. For challenging times when your fur-baby isn’t agreeing with your rules or respecting your boundaries, a crate can be your best mediator.
Having a time out is as good for dogs as it is for people – especially during training. If you feel that your puppy or dog isn’t focused on training and doesn’t want to listen, giving it some alone time is much more constructive than losing your cool.
Consider a dog who doesn’t do well with others. Maybe it’s food aggressive or doesn’t tolerate playful youngsters well. The attitude can be fixed in time, but while in the process, you’ll need somewhere to place the dog when it misbehaves.
Crate training is not only an excellent tool for behavior modification. It’s also fantastic for teaching self-sufficient behaviors. Even if your crate is located in a high-traffic area, the limited access allows for health distance.
Pair that limitation with a cover to minimize visibility, and you’ve given your dog not a cage but a bedroom! A place it can learn to occupy itself, snooze, groom, and enjoy its time in solitude.
Most pets don’t take kindly to being alone in a crate for too long. That’s why you must take baby steps in everything you do. A few minutes of introductory association goes a long way.
Once your dog is used to being in the crate and having its “me time,” it’ll come to appreciate the crate as its own little space. This, in turn, begins the concept of being independent when the owner is not around to give guidance.
You won’t be able to monitor your dog every moment of every day. You can, however, teach it to think for itself so you won’t have to!
Teaching a dog to go inside of its kennel or crate on command, and to wait for permission before leaving it, will help to instill impulse control. You might teach your pup to go inside when: the sun goes down, you grab your keys to leave, someone knocks on the door, or the bowl is filled with food. Repetition becomes a habit, and the dog will begin to go inside the crate automatically.
When done right, the crate is a fail-safe. No running through opened doors, jumping on entering guests, tearing up furniture or belongings when alone, or other harmful behaviors.
6- House Training
Crate training goes well with house training because of the many perks it gives. Those listed above all come together nicely to help you teach your pup that the crate is where it lies.
In the puppy and senior dog phases, you might find that keeping the crate closer to an exit is easiest for yard access. Small and incontinent bladders cannot hold it in for long, so a potty routine serves well as a means to ensure the dog is getting out often.
Letting your dog rest and play in the crate is one thing. Allowing accidents is another. That’s why the size of the crate is heavily important. Too large and a pup can eliminate as it pleases because it has the space to sleep elsewhere.
If you don’t like the idea of buying a small crate with the knowledge that your dog will grow out of it, there are crates with partitions available to section off what you don’t need yet. Try to make it roomy but not spacious to avoid accidents.
Obedience Training For Dogs And Puppies
Basic obedience is an absolute must for a domestic dog. Not only does a well-behaved dog make you look like you have a handle on something in your life, but it also shows a happy and balanced fur baby. Knowing the basic commands is your obedience starting point.
The basics for every dog – even shelter dogs – are:
- Name Recognition
- Leave It
Beginning at home and inside is a great place to start!
After the quiet inside is successful, you can graduate to your yard or outdoor area. Just outside your front door, so the familiar and safe home plate is within reach.
Practice, practice, practice until everything you’ve learned inside becomes second nature outside! Then, you can move on to places further from home.
Even if your dog isn’t thoroughly trained to be out in public, taking it out for rides, walks, errands and playdates is essential to your success. The new environments allow you and your doggie to practice those commands in unfamiliar places.
How To Socialize Dogs and Puppies
While socialization isn’t a command you teach, it still falls within the obedience spectrum. The number one goal of every dog owner needs to be socialization. This is the simplest and most crucial part of dog training that must be put into practice all day, every day, for the first chunk of your dog’s life.
Unsure of how long to keep this up? Think about it this way. A dog isn’t considered an adult until it’s 1 to 2 years old. During this time, it needs to experience any and everything possible to ensure a healthy social life.
Second to socialization is basic obedience commands. Thankfully, things like leash etiquette and sit/stay/come are often paired with socialization as they can all be (and are often most effective when) done in various areas.
Leash Training Dogs and puppies
Another non-command obedience staple is teaching your dog how to walk on a leash properly. Sure, you can go leashless in trusted areas, but why risk it? Your pet is safest when by your side, which is where it needs to walk.
Don’t allow your pup to lead you! That’s how the pulling mentality begins. I’ve said it once, and I’ll repeat it: There is more than one way to train a dog. Your dog may need specific tools to learn leash etiquette.
The vast amount of pet specialty stores offers an extensive selection of items that can help you and your pet become masters at leash walks. Don’t be afraid to try even the less appealing options. Your pet may prefer them also if you don’t, or vice versa.
Clicker training is a method of training that teaches your dog obedience through immediate rewards after the sound of a clicking tool. For example, you command or gesture for a sit, your dog sits, you click and treat simultaneously.
The point of treating and clicking helps your dog to associate the sound with positive reassurance that what it just did at that very moment was awesome! Even if no treat is involved, the sound of a click during a training session will let your pup know that it’s doing something right.
Agility Training For Dogs and puppies
Agility isn’t for every dog. Some breeds are not made to be highly active, while others require it for a healthy attitude and body. Before signing up for agility courses, do some research about your dog to find out what types of exercise it needs.
If you’ve discovered that agility would do wonders for your dog, starting as young as possible will help it to learn the focus and discipline much quicker. That’s not to say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, though.
Side note: if you have an older dog or one that struggles to get around the obstacles right away, take it slowly. You might be tempted to become impatient or bored with the process, but if your dog enjoys even a little romp on the agility course, it must be worth it!
Dog Protection Training
This type of training is similar to agility in that it’s not for all dogs. We meek humans would like to think that our pets can protect us if needed. The sad reality is that it takes some serious training for a dog to know how and when to react.
Some dogs have an instinct to protect their pack (i.e., you). However, only letting your dog bark and lunge at your creepy neighbor is not enough and certainly doesn’t warrant praise.
A real protection dog is trained from a very young age to play bodyguard, and almost nothing else lest it becomes distracted at the wrong moment. For this reason, many protection dogs are trained specially for law enforcement or other more hardcore areas.
This doesn’t mean that an Average Joe can’t own a protection dog. There are undoubtedly several scenarios in which a bodyguard with sharp canines would be helpful. The thing to remember here is that your dog will always watch your body language, listen to your voice and words (so choose wisely), and monitor everyone you meet.
For a protection dog to know how to behave, it must go through the basics like every other dog and then some! That’s not all. You’ll also need extra training to know how to react and when to command. This role is a job, so it must be taken seriously.
Aggressive Dog Training
Sometimes the dog you adopt or inherit carries a bit of baggage. The critical thing to remember when dealing with a dog that doesn’t take too well with others is patience.
Your first task is to learn the dog’s triggers – things that set it off to react negatively toward a stimulus. For some, there are few, for others, there are numerous triggers. Each one has different levels of tolerance that must be found.
Working in baby steps is still going to be a common practice in this genre of dog training. Your dog looks to you for guidance and protection, so how you react to things will transfer to your pet.
To avoid needing this training altogether, puppies should begin socializing and becoming familiar with new experiences daily. Dogs that seem so reactive or aggressive that they can barely go five minutes without freaking out need time.
As with every part of the training, no two dogs are precisely the same. There are loads of methods out there to learn from, so don’t be disheartened if your pet doesn’t take it to the first option.
These are but a handful of the many things you’ll find on a dog owner’s To-Do list. As a pet parent, you’ve got your work cut out for you. You’ll be annoyed, tired, and frustrated. In time, you’ll also be proud, confident, trusting, and loved unconditionally.
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