One of the biggest game changers in life when owning a dog: being able to go out in public with a well-behaved dog. Imagine a life of going out to the park with a dog that doesn’t pull on the leash, doesn’t bark, comes when called, and will lay down and simply relax.Good training will also make it way easier when you need somebody to board your dog, like at Delaware K9 Academy, when you head out of town for vacation or work. Training your dog to this extent will also help drastically improve the relationship you have with your pup.

Keep in mind, however, this isn’t an overnight type thing. Training your dog and mastering these skills takes a lot of practice and patience and will need constant reinforcement for your dog to truly understand what is expected of them. If you are serious about mastering some obedience skills with your dog, the below guide will certainly help give you some tips and tricks to make your life easier.

Let’s get to know your pup…

Just like when teaching your children how to behave, you need to first understand how your dog learns and what their mental capacity is.

If you are working with a young puppy, you’ll realize their capacity to take on training and their attention span is far shorter than an adult dog with much more training experience. Understanding the temperament of the dog in front of you is crucial. By tending to their specific needs, however, you’ll be able to bond quicker and more effectively. Understanding questions such which types of positive reinforcement work best for your dog and what their favorite toy is will help tremendously when training.
Another important aspect to training is having extremely clear goals. You’ll need to have a final end result to work towards, and it has to be achievable and realistic. Do you want your dog to come when called? Do you want to be able to walk off leash? Do you want your dog to stop jumping? The answers to all these questions will dictate and determine how much training you need and what type of training might be best suited for you and your pup.
Once you have a solid grasp and understanding of your dog, you can make a solid, actionable plan. Can you achieve all your goals on your own? Do you need professional help? If you’re overwhelmed, soliciting the help of an intensive training program like Boot Camp with Delaware K9 Academy may be the best option to get the results you’re looking for.

No time to waste, let’s get started!

As soon as you get your new puppy home, it’s time to get started. The best time to start training a dog is right at 8-weeks old when they first get home.

Aside from understanding all the do’s and don’ts when bonding with your pup, it’s the perfect time for you to introduce all the basics like come and sit, down, and stay. Here are some useful tips you can use when training a puppy:

  • Be nice and calm when you’re about to start training with your puppy. They will certainly pick up your energy and will focus better when you’re nice and calm with them
  • Set up a separated area where they can go and relax and not be overly distracted
  • Start hand feeding your dog’s kibble to build trust and respect
  • No exceptions – make sure to crate train!

You can definitely teach an old dog new tricks!

Everybody has heard the saying, but let me tell you – you CAN teach an old dog new tricks! Older dogs are often better exposed to the world, calmer, and better focused. Here are some tips when working with an older pup: 

  • Ensure they are healthy and ready to take on training physically. Monitor jumping and over-exercising them
  • Don’t hesitate to throw in some new tricks and commands! Older dogs are smart and are likely to pick things up quick
  • Be mindful of any behavioral issues, such as reactivity or excessive levels of fear
  • Ensure your dog has plenty of time to adjust to their new surroundings and environment. This can take some time
  • If you need professional help, don’t be afraid to ask!

Punishment and rewards – you may need to use both!

Once you have gotten to know your dog and understand what works best for them, it’s time to create a balanced routine to communicate with them when working on behaviors. There needs to be a nice balance between punishment for bad behaviors, and rewards for reinforcing the good behavior that you want to continue. Using positive reinforcement is an excellent way to mark the good behaviors that you like and want to continue to see. Here are some tips and tricks when utilizing positive reinforcement:

  • Use healthy snacks to give your pup on a consistent basis
  • Be clear and consistent when working with your dog to avoid confusion
  • Be concise with your communication to be extremely clear with what you are trying to communicate
  • Use tiered rewards, meaning higher value rewards for better behavior you want to happen more often  

Ask for help if you need it!

Training your dog may not be the easiest thing you’ve ever done, so if you’re struggling, make sure to ask for help. Professional trainers have seen many different cases, giving them the experience to give you a custom tailored experience to help you achieve your goals. They also have the experience of working with countless of breeds, so they should be able to help you regardless of breed, age, or size. No matter if you have a large fur baby like a Great Dane or a Cavalier King Charles, rest assured, Delaware K9 Academy can lend you a hand. Feel free to call the experts with any questions you may have