Once you’ve brought your new friend home, it’s best to start training immediately. But how do you start to train a new dog? Does it make a difference if it’s an adult dog or a puppy? Here, we list out our tips for training your new furry friend.
Be Wise About Your Dog’s Name
Certain names are better for training your new dog. Shorter, snappier names with stronger consonants that your dog can catch are best. When you call out your dog’s name, try to place emphasis on the end to really catch their attention. If you’re bringing home an older dog, they’re probably used to their name. You can still change their name however, which can even be recommended if your dog has come from an abusive home previously. Use the new name consistently and positively, and your dog will start responding to it soon enough!
Set Up House Rules
Keep these rules consistent and clear. Will your dog be allowed on the furniture? In your bed? Are there certain parts of the house that they can’t wander off to? Establishing these rules early can help both you and your dog avoid confusion in the future.
A Private Den
Dogs need their own space too! You can establish a place that’s just for your dog, like a crate. Short periods where your dog is left alone in the comfort of their private den are beneficial, and can also be valuable when it comes to housetraining. If your dog remains quiet and relaxed in their den, you can reward them with a treat.
When your dog arrives, present them with a warm hot-water bottle (test out the temperature first to make sure it’s safe!) and place a gently-ticking clock near their sleeping area. This helps soothe your dog as it can imitate both the heartbeats and heat of litter mates. If your dog used to live in a hectic shelter or had a rough time earlier in its life, it’s all the more important that you set up an environment that’s relaxing for them from the start.
Rewards for Good Behavior
Positive reinforcement – in the form of praise, treats, and toys – goes a long way in training your dog. If your dog is doing good, let them know! Conversely, don’t reward them for bad behavior, even if they give you puppy eyes after tearing through the toilet paper!
Puppies, especially, love to jump while greeting, so try to wean them off this habit. If you notice your dog jumping on you or someone else, turn your back on them and ignore them until they’ve calmed down. Once they’re settled, you can give them some positive reinforcement.
End on a Positive NoteYou’ll notice that we keep bringing this up, but positive reinforcement really is key when it comes to training your dog. You want them to learn in an environment that is encouraging and safe. Treats, toys, and praise are things that dogs love, and rewarding them for good behavior encourages them to keep up their good behavior!