Bringing a new pet into your home can be an exciting and rewarding experience. But as any pet parent knows, training a new pet can also be challenging. From housebreaking to basic obedience commands, there's a lot to teach your furry friend. That's why we've created this step-by-step guide to help new pet parents navigate the training process with confidence.

With our guide, pet parents can learn the basics of pet training, from setting realistic expectations to using positive reinforcement.

Step 1: Set Realistic Expectations

First and foremost, it's important to set realistic expectations when it comes to training your pet. It's unlikely that your new pup or kitten will learn all of the tricks in one day. Training takes time, patience, and consistency. But with the right tools and resources, you and your pet can succeed.

Step 2: Start with Basic Commands

One of the first things you should teach your pet is basic obedience commands like "sit," "stay," and "come." These commands will help establish a foundation for future training and make your pet easier to manage in everyday situations.

Examples of Teaching a Dog to Sit:

  • Step 1: Start by holding a treat in your hand and placing it in front of your dog's nose.
  • Step 2: Slowly move your hand upward and backward, toward the top of your dog's head. As your dog follows the treat, their head will tilt upward and their bottom will naturally lower to the ground.
  • Step 3: As soon as your dog's bottom touches the ground, say "Sit" and give them the treat. Be sure to praise and pet them as well.
  • Step 4: Repeat this process several times a day, gradually phasing out the use of the treat and relying more on the verbal command and physical gesture.
  • Step 5: Once your dog has mastered the command, you can begin to phase out the physical gesture as well. Simply say "Sit" and wait for your dog to comply before giving them a treat and praise.

Step 3: Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is the key to successful pet training. When your pet performs a desired behavior, reward them with treats, praise, and affection. This will encourage them to repeat the behavior in the future.

Step 4: Be Consistent

Consistency is crucial when it comes to pet training. Use the same commands and rewards every time you train your pet, and be consistent with your expectations. This will help your pet understand what you want from them and make the training process more effective.

As you get more advanced, there are plenty of additional skills to teach such as turning on or off a light:

  • Step 1: Teach your dog to target a specific object. You can use a clicker or a verbal cue such as "touch" to teach your dog to touch their nose to a specific object, such as a light switch.
  • Step 2: Once your dog has learned to target the object, you can begin to associate it with the action of turning on or off the light. Start by standing near the light switch with your dog and using the "touch" command to guide their nose to the switch.
  • Step 3: Next, introduce a verbal cue such as "light on" or "light off" as you guide your dog's nose to the switch. Use a clicker or verbal praise to reward your dog for touching the switch.
  • Step 4: Once your dog has learned to touch the switch on command, you can begin to fade the "touch" command and rely more on the verbal cue. Start by giving the verbal cue first, and then using the "touch" command if your dog needs help.
  • Step 5: Practice the behavior in different contexts and with different light switches to help your dog generalize the behavior. You can also add a release cue such as "all done" to signal to your dog that the training session is over.

Step 5: Get Professional Help

Finding professional pet training services can be relatively easy. A great place to start is by asking your veterinarian for a recommendation or contacting local pet stores, groomers, or dog daycare centers for referrals. You can also search online for certified dog trainers and behaviorists in your area. When selecting a trainer, make sure to check their credentials and experience, as well as their training methods to ensure they align with your goals and values. A reputable trainer will offer a personalized approach and work collaboratively with you to achieve the best results for you and your pet.

There is no shortage of ways to train a pet, and the possibilities are limited only by your imagination and your pet's abilities. Whether you're teaching your dog basic commands or advanced tricks like turning on and off lights, the key is to be patient, consistent, and positive in your training approach. Remember that every pet is unique and may respond better to certain training methods or cues, so it's important to adapt your approach to fit your pet's personality and learning style.

By setting realistic expectations, starting with basic commands, using positive reinforcement, and being consistent, you can help your pet become a well-behaved and happy member of your family.

For more information about Wagmo, visit our pet quiz to learn more about our comprehensive wellness plans and how they can benefit you and your furry friend.