Whether you’ve just acquired your puppy or have taken over ownership of an older dog, you’ll want to begin training him right away. If you’ve never owned a dog before you’ll find that it can be a lot work. It can also be a source of great joy and deep friendship.
You may not know what to do to train your dog. You have the option of hiring a trainer but you may prefer to train him yourself. Here is a step-by-step guide to dog training at home.
First and foremost you want to make sure your dog understands that you are the master. This also includes other members of the family. Children especially should be respected by the dog, but children should also be taught how to treat the puppy or dog with kindness and gentle hands.
Housebreaking is next on the list. No one wants ruined carpets or a smelly home. Your dog should be shown right away where it is acceptable for him to go.
Your dog also needs to understand that he has territorial limits. Put up some markers or spray the perimeter of your yard with a very dilute mixture of water and amonia. Put a leash on him and walk him around the perimeter of your property. If he begins to cross the line you’ve marked out for him, say no in a stern voice and give him a mild jerk with the leash. Continue this until he no longer tries to venture off.
Mealtime is a great opportunity for training your dog at home. You probably won’t want him begging at the table. After the family has eaten, set his food in front of him in another room. Teach him to sit and wait for the food to be presented to him. If he comes to the table he needs to be taken back to another room to wait for his turn to eat.
Once you’ve established your authority with your dog you can begin teaching to sit, stay, fetch, and so forth. When you give a verbal command it’s also a good idea to use hand signals. A deliberate voice rather than one rising in pitch will lead to better results. Always lavish your dog with praise when he does what you command.
If you find that you’re having difficulty with training your dog at home you may want to seek the help of a professional trainer. There are also some great sources of information within dog training books and on the internet. Here are two especially good sources:
Once you’ve accomplished what you want with your dog’s basic training you can begin to have some real fun. By this time he’ll be ever so eager to please you and you can teach him some new tricks. Observe your dog’s natural quirky behaviors too. If they’re cute or funny you may want to pick up on these and come up with some very unique tricks.
Good luck and have fun with training your dog at home!