Much like any new addition to the family, adopting a new puppy is a major lifestyle decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. As with any living being, there are clear responsibilities. Between providing attention, playtime, food and water, caring for any new companion is a meaningful commitment. Even financial concerns must be weighed: estimates in the UK suggest that the cost of dog ownership averages around £1770 a year.
While logistical and financial concerns are important, so are behavioural concerns. Being a dog owner is only as easy as the amount of training and dedication afforded to the dog. Well-behaved dogs should be easier to look after, they may be less-inclined to bark or run around as much, and you can control them if they exhibit a behaviour that you do not like.
Considering how to properly train your new dog as a worthwhile endeavour. To assist in the process, let’s examine six practical tips that may help training your dog without professional guidance easier.
Always Use Clear Commands
Let’s be honest: communication between humans and canines isn’t as easy as communicating person-to-person. Dogs are not born understanding the English language; they need clear and concise instructions from owners to know what is and what is not acceptable.
From an early age, it is recommended that you use specific phrases and tones when instructing your puppy. Commands such as sitting, laying down, coming and staying, and negative insistence (“no”) are generally useful and common instructions that dog owners value. By adopting a clear set of words and phrases for each command early in a dog’s life, the chances of them obeying and understanding these commands are substantially higher.
Just like with humans, a consistent approach in training is vital if you want the recipient of training to absorb the lesson. Arguably the biggest mistake many dog owners make when attempting to train their puppies is a lack of consistency: by sending mixed signals on a given behaviour, your dog won’t know what to expect.
Dog owners can avoid doing this by avoiding the temptation of “giving up” when a dog commits an act of bad behaviour, and by avoiding the association of positive and negative attention in a short period of time. By sending clear signals to your dog and sticking with the training plan, your dog won’t be as likely to misunderstand your intentions.
Take Your Dog to New Places
A change of scenery is good for your dog and can help when training them to stay calm in new environments. Dog insurance as a way to potentially shield themselves from costs associated with accidents when you take your dog out and about. You can compare dog insurance coverage options from a provider such as Everypaw, which facilitates a range of options based on lifetime pet cover and maximum benefit pet insurance. Pet insurance can give you peace of mind when you are out in a public place as accidents can happen any time.
Reward Good Behaviour
Dogs generally learn through positive and negative reinforcement. Without an understanding of how you feel in a given situation, a dog may choose to act however he or she feels in the moment. This is why rewarding good behaviour is a key component of any comprehensive dog training regimen.
You may consider rewarding your puppy every time he or she does something desirable by providing them with a treat, a pat on the head, a rub on the belly or a pleasant tone of reaffirmation. Dogs want positive attention from their owners, so rewarding such behaviour may incentivise and reinforce any training.
Give Your Dog a Safe Space
Dogs have a natural sense of territorial behaviour. Many owners wish to curb the worst aspects of this behaviour, whether it be constant barking, urination or aggression. Dogs that spend their non-exercise time exclusively indoors may benefit from having their own safe spaces.
Once a puppy is potty-trained, a cosy corner or open crate can be a welcoming sight for most dogs. By providing places for dogs to feel safe and sleep, they may be less likely to bark, roam or otherwise try to crawl into bed with their owners at night.
Socialise Your Dog
Dogs are naturally social animals; when trained correctly, they will naturally see other people and even dogs as friends. From an early age, socialising your dog properly can help minimise bad behaviour around other pets and humans alike.
Most trainers recommend finding settings where your dog can be safely integrated with other dogs and people. Large parks are generally the most logical choice, but even doggy day-care facilities can be found in most cities.
Many people lack the financial resources to afford expert dog training. However, it is possible to generate results by following a few key points of advice. These six practical tips can help provide guidance to your dog and potentially make life easier for both you and your four-legged friend.