LBDTC: Training Tips

Whether you have a puppy or a mature dog, training your dog can be lots of fun. Make no mistake though, it can also be a challenge to your patience and time. There is no recipe or lesson plan to follow. Just as people learn is different ways and at different rates of accomplishment, so too, all pure-bred dogs and mixed breed dogs learn at various rates and levels of difficulty.

The foundation to begin training is how well socialized your dog is with other dogs and people, and how your dog’s relationship with you has developed. Training may be more challenging if one or both of these characteristics is less than satisfactory. However, positive training techniques, patience and praise will help your relationship flourish with your dog.

Training you dog should be on-going and done it small steps. Separate each skill into smaller parts to practice during training sessions. As your dog gains confidence use those accomplishments as the motivation to move on to the next level. Example: If your dog learns the “sit” command, then it is reasonable to teach the “stay” command next.

The tips located in this section are just a small sample of essential suggestions and reminders for you to integrate with your efforts as you train your dog. There are so many aspects to training your dog. All of the aspects are connected to successful training. Always remember to be calm, be positive, be patient, to praise your dog and practice using short periods of time several times each day.

General Training:

  • Training sessions should be brief: 5 – 10 minutes several times per day.
  • Practice and Praise are the best way to bond with you dog/puppy. The better you bond, the more they want to please you.
  • You must lead the pack at home by being confident, relaxed and patient.
  • You must be positive in your approach/actions. Reward with a toy or a treat for a job well done. When first learning an activity, an immediate reward tells the dog they are doing it correctly. Try not to become a “Pez” dispenser so that the dog does not mind working when there is no immediate food reward.
  • You must have the dog’s attention/focus. Work on something they enjoy doing and you enjoy doing with them.
  • If you become frustrated while training, STOP, and go back to something the dog completed successfully and then end the session.
  • Always end a training session with a success.
  • Breaks from training are good!
  • Everyone in the family involved with training your dog should use the same commands/ techniques in order to promote continuity and success.
  • Use a variety of soft treats when training with your dog.
  • Keep each treat size small.
  • Never treat a negative behavior. Only treat the behavior that is to be encouraged.
  • Only use the command “come” when you can control that action.

On Walks with Your Dog:

  • When walking you dog, if he/she begins to pull, you stop until the dog stops.
  • Walking your dog should be a combination of fun and training for the dog. They do need to explore/smell things while on a walk.
  • On hot days avoid walking your dog on hot surfaces. Walk you dog during cooler parts of the day.
  • Always clean up after your dog.

Feeding Time:

  • If you are using a crate with your dog do not feed the dog in the crate.
  • Have your dog “sit” before being fed.
  • Have your dog “wait” before feeding.
  • Never feed your dog from or at the table where you are/your family is eating.

Traveling in a Vehicle with Your Dog:

  • Always travel with you dog secured safely; in a crate, with a seat belt, or a specifically approved restraint.
  • Remove any training collars while in the vehicle.
  • In case of accidents/incidents while traveling with your dog, owners should carry copies of ownership identification and vaccine records while transporting your dog, especially when going to another state(s). In some states it is required by law.

Play-time with Your Dog:

  • Always check a toy for parts that can be torn off by your dog thereby creating a choking hazard.
  • The game or play activity has to be fun for your dog or he/she will not “buy-in”.
  • While engaged in play activities involving a toy it is helpful to use two toys so that your dog learns to “trade” one toy for another.

Tips for Training Puppies:

Refer to the general training tips above this section. Those tips apply to puppies as well.

House Training:

  • Everyone knows puppies must go out frequently to potty; When you wake up every morning, whenever they wake up from naps, immediately after eating, immediately after playing. Remember to supervise, supervise, supervise.
  • Keep them in a confined area. ALWAYS have your eyes on them when they are not crated.
  • Proper crate training supports proper house training.
  • Never use a crate as a punishment.
  • When your puppy potties outside provide a reward for those positive behavior results.
  • Some puppies tend to want to taste/eat their poop. Sprinkling MSG on their poop can discourage this. Better yet, clean up the deposit immediately in your yard.

Play Time:

  • Rather than saying “NO”, try “AH, AH” and tell him/her what you want (IE: “No bite”, or “Ah, Ah” instead).
  • Refrain from getting upset or angry while engaging in play with your puppy. They want to please you. It will take some time for them to know exactly what you want the behavior to be. Remember: You are everything to your puppy.
  • Encourage your puppy to play with a variety of toys. Of course, they will have a favorite.
  • Encourage your puppy to trade one toy for another.

Chewing Behaviors:

  • Provide a variety of options that you encourage.
  • Be sure to freeze some carrots and offer pieces of them for acceptable chewing opportunities.
  • Introduce enrichment objects: IE; Kong toys (good for acceptable chewing and enrichment).

Exploring New Objects:

  • Pair new or scary things with treats and never force your puppy to approach something. You want them to have a positive association with things they will encounter.
  • Things like the vacuum, the hair dryer, umbrellas, hats, glasses, elderly, kids, teens and adults, all sorts of other dogs and puppies.
  • Start with the vacuum off with treats sprinkled around it and let your puppy approach it on his own terms.