If you’ve adopted your first dog you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed with all they still have yet to learn. But don’t worry, every dog starts somewhere. For a pet parent it is important to stay consistent and set up a daily pet routine that includes training. Let’s go over some of the most important commands our dogs should learn and how we can begin training them at home.
Tip 1: Choose Your Dog's Name Wisely.
Did you know that some dog names are better for training than others? If you're getting a new puppy or rescue dog and are thinking about names, consider a shorter name that is strong and consistent. It is important that the dog can clearly understand it.
Names with strong endings are also great so they know for sure you said their name. Some great name examples to work off of include, Jack, Ranger, Scooter, Lucy, or Jasper.
Try to name each pet something with different sounds so they know when you are speaking to them. For example, Darcy and Lucy might make it harder to train as the dogs might not catch on to their individual names as fast. Lucy and Mona, for example, would be better as they make sounds unique to each name.
No matter the name, only use it in a positive way. Your dogs should always be excited when you say their names and it should be associated with great memories. Make sure to use their names lots at walk time, mealtime, playtime, and cuddle time.
Tip 2: Decide on the House Rules.
It is important to decide with your family members before the dog comes home what they will be allowed to do and what they won’t. This helps to keep everything consistent with clear communication.
For example, you need to make decisions about the following:
- Sleeping: Crate? Dog bed? Your bed? Separate room?
- Is there any room off-limits?
- Are they allowed on the furniture?
- Do they have their own chair at the dining table?
- Are they only allowed in the backyard or side yard?
While these decisions might not sound important when it comes to training they are. Consistency is key with dogs. Dogs cannot tell the difference between a nice sofa and the ‘dog sofa’, especially not at first. Keeping things simple and consistent will help you and your dog tremendously with training.
Tip 3: Set Up a Private Dog Space.
This isn’t something many new dog owners consider at first, but it can actually be quite beneficial for training. Because like humans, dogs enjoy having their own space and alone time. Whether you choose the den or their crate in a quiet room, your dog can benefit from short periods alone.
This gets them used to short periods of quietness and being alone. This is great so you don’t need to stress when you leave the house. Just pop the dog in their safe space and they learn it’s time to relax and sleep.
Tip 4: Help Them Relax.
While you might have set your dog up with a safe space like the den, getting them to actually relax is easier said than done. A couple of tips to help them ease stress is to offer them a hot water bottle in their bed with them and put a ticking clock nearby.
The hot water bottle helps puppy’s think that they are sleeping with their litter, which can help them sleep. The ticking clock can also help, especially if they are from a shelter, as they might be used to louder environments.
It might take some time to get to know your new pup and what helps them relax. Whatever you can do to help them get comfortable in their new environment and home will be best for both them and you. If you are rescuing an older dog that had a harder start to life you should consider signing up for pet insurance for dogs. This is just in case they need extra care and any medications, including anti-anxiety medication which is sometimes recommended.
Tip 5: Positive Reinforcement.
It is important to reward all of your puppy’s good behavior with positive reinforcement. In your consistent daily pet routine, whenever your dog does something that you want them to continue doing, like ring the bell to go potty, praise them, and don’t forget toys and treats!
It is also important to never reward them for bad behavior, even if it’s accidental. Dogs quickly learn what they can do to get treats, and what they shouldn’t do, or else they will be put in time out, etc.
Tip 6: Train to Come When Called.
This might be one of the most important things to teach any dog. They must know their name and know to stop whatever they are doing when you call them. This not only makes taking our dogs out in public and off-leash more enjoyable for us, but it can help them avoid potential danger. If your dog does approach the street, a wild animal, a territorial dog, or anything else, they will know to turn around and find you as soon as you call.
This is a big step and when puppies finally catch on it can feel so rewarding. However, training doesn’t happen in a day and it is important to be prepared in case a curious dog gets into a sticky situation. Dogs and cats insurances are great for peace of mind, especially in the first couple of years when your pet is still learning and exploring new things. Pet health insurance plan can cover emergency injury and illness, so you can feel confident letting your dog be a dog!
Tip 7: Don’t Rush Training.
One of our most important tips is to not get frustrated when training and to establish a consistent, daily pet routine. Dogs and especially puppies live in the moment and can really keep you on your toes. It is important to stay consistent with your messaging and to not get discouraged if they don’t catch on immediately.
Select a chosen training technique for discipline, like redirecting their attention. For example, if they are digging in the garden, start playing with them and a toy. Every time they pull on their leash stop walking and make them sit. Over time proper behavior is learned.
No matter if your dog is a puppy or older, it is never too late to begin introducing more training. However, the puppy’s first few months are very formative and they are learning at the speed of light. If you are looking into training, consider dog insurance to ensure they are covered in case they catch an illness at a puppy training class, or if they get over-excited and hurt themselves. Puppy’s get into all sorts of trouble so dog health insurance is a no-brainer!
At Wagmo we offer pet insurance plans for dogs and dog wellness plans. Dog health insurance is to cover emergencies, medications and unexpected illness. While dog wellness is made for preventative care including vaccinations, grooming, bloodwork, and more! Take our coverage quiz today and mix and match to find the best dog insurance for you.