Everything You Need To Know About Dog Training

A trained dog is a happy dog 💕

Step one was to get a dog — now it’s time to train that new family member of yours!

Dog training is super important because not only does it give you and your pup some awesome bonding time, but it also sets the stage for a peaceful life together by creating boundaries and expectations.

A trained dog is a happy dog — and a happy dog makes for a happier you!

Dog training tips

Whether you’re house training a dog you just rescued, or you have a brand new puppy who needs to learn pretty much everything, training your dog is the best way to get her to live a happy, fulfilled life.

Here are some dog training tips to make sure you and your dog’s experience is as awesome as possible.

Use positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement is when you reward your dog for doing what’s right rather than scolding her for doing something “wrong.” This will help change your pup’s behavior over time without potentially hurting her or causing her stress (which is often the case when punishing dogs).

Set a schedule

Having your dog on a schedule is super important when it comes to having a happy environment. Creating a daily routine for your dog will lead to tons of training and behavioral benefits, including reducing anxiety in your pup.

Don’t forget to socialize your dog

Socializing your dog is an important part of dog training because it will allow her to feel confident around people, other animals, places, novel objects and environments. This can help prevent her from becoming fearful or developing phobias later on.

Start with basic dog training

Every dog should know the basic commands. Starting off by teaching your dog “sit,” “down” and “stay” will allow both of you to build that trust and confidence in each other that you’ll thrive off of once training gets more challenging.

Use dog training tools

Using various items to help train your dog will allow you to make the process more effective and enjoyable.

Many training tools are used in conjunction with the different methods of dog training.

Some of the most common dog training tools include:

A crate

Crates are used when housetraining or crate training a dog. They serve as a place for your dog to retreat to when she’s tired and a safe environment to keep your dog when you’re not home to watch her.

You can try a crate like the Revol Dog Crate from Diggs for $245

A clicker

Clicker training is a form of positive reinforcement training that uses a small plastic device (or a clicker) to make a sound when your dog does a behavior you’re asking of her. Your pup will learn that the clicking noise means she’s doing something right, which will encourage that behavior later.

You can try one like this Dog Training Clicker from Amazon for $3.99

A leash

Dogs aren’t born knowing how to politely walk on a leash. Some dogs will pull on their leashes like crazy, and some will bark at any human or animal that passes.

Learning how to leash train your dog will not only give you both tons of bonding time on your usual walks, but it’ll make your walks a lot more enjoyable in the future.

You can try this Nylon Dog Leash from Amazon for $5.99

Yummy treats

Don’t forget your pup’s favorite treats! While you can use your pup’s kibble, special treats that you use solely for training sessions can be more exciting for your pup, which will make training easier.

You can try these Freeze-Dried Training Treats from Amazon for $15.99

A treat pouch

When training your dog, it’s definitely easier if your hands are free. Pouches will let you keep treats close in case your pup suddenly does something worth rewarding.

You can try this Kurgo Dog Training Treat Pouch from Amazon for $12.95

Consider a professional dog trainer

While all this dog training will give you awesome bonding time, there are definitely some circumstances when you might want to seek out a professional.

Whether you have a particularly stubborn pup, or you just don’t have the time to spend training your dog yourself, professional dog training can work wonders for your family.

(And once your dog is as perfect as ever, don’t forget to get your dog trainer a thank you gift for all her hard work).

How to train a puppy

Training a puppy is ideal because younger pups absorb new experiences like a sponge. This'll give you more control over how you want her to respond to the world around her.

Potty training your puppy

Potty training basically means you’re teaching your puppy to use the restroom outside rather than in the middle of your living room.

Successful potty training means your dog knows how to hold her bladder while inside and when it’s appropriate to go to the bathroom when outside.

This process basically entails taking your pup out very frequently, rewarding her when she goes outside and limiting her access to certain parts of your home.

When potty training your puppy, the most important thing you’re going to need is patience, but a couple of other tools you might find useful are:

  • A crate
  • Plenty of toys and treats

Crate training your puppy

While crates are often used for potty training, there’s also so much more to crate training your puppy than just that.

Crate training is also used to ensure your puppy:

  • Has a place to retreat to whenever she needs some alone time
  • Has a place to go when you’re out of the house so that she’s safe (and away from your couches and other furniture during teething)
  • Has a comfy place to sleep

The process of crate training your puppy includes letting her explore the crate with the door open and working up to having her inside of it with the door closed.

Keep in mind when crate training your puppy that you’ll always want to make sure the crate is filled with some of her favorite things (like toys, a comfy bed and yummy treats) in order to make it a fun, happy place for her to be.

Socializing your puppy

Socializing your puppy doesn’t just mean she meets a bunch of dogs at a dog park. Proper puppy socializing means she’ll be exposed to all kinds of unfamiliar things, like new sounds, people, animals, environments and inanimate objects.

Socializing can also be used to help get your puppy accustomed to household chores, like the vacuum, by having her around while you’re vacuuming so that she never gets traumatized by those scary sounds.

When socializing your puppy, the process includes making a checklist of all the things your puppy should become familiar with — like being handled by you, meeting new people and exploring new environments — and checking them off one at a time.

Can you train an older dog?

While you’ve probably heard the old saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” that doesn’t necessarily ring true.

Any dog — from a puppy to a senior — can be trained, but training an older dog might just take a little more patience than training a puppy would.

Since older dogs are set in their ways (just like your grandparents might be!), you’ll have to focus on helping her unlearn some old habits before training your older dog. But otherwise, everything else stays pretty much the same as how you would train a younger pup.

Can you train your dog to be well mannered?

If your dog has some bad habits you want to break, dog training can help.

Some of the most common undesirable behaviors that good dogs have include:

If these habits are too hard for you to break on your own, consulting with a professional dog trainer should do the trick.

While dog training isn’t the easiest thing in the world, it comes with tons of benefits. From spending quality time with your pup to ensuring your dog has the structure to live her happiest life, a trained dog will set you and your dog up for success.

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