Dog Training at Home
Training your dog is one of the most fulfilling activities you can do with your fur babies. While some may think it requires expert guidance, you can definitely perform dog training at home.
Training your puppies to be obedient doesn’t only seem fun to do, but it also helps you have a better relationship with them. You establish an easy approach to communicating with your pets.
When should you start training your dog?
Ideally, the best time to start training your puppy is when it is at least eight weeks old. At this age, puppies can learn to wear collars and recognize praises. At 12 weeks, they can start learning basic commands.
However, puppies get to be rehomed between seven to nine weeks old. In that case, you can start training them as long as they are eight weeks old. Don’t wait until they are older when they have already developed a few habits that are difficult to break off.
It’s way easier to teach young pups when they are just developing certain behaviors. In contrast, older pups require you to double your effort in unlearning and introducing habits.
Benefits of dog training
Here are the reasons why you should consider dog training at home:
- Resolve behavioral concerns like aggression towards unfamiliar people.
- Stop unfriendly habits like barking, jumping on people, scratching surfaces, or damaging things.
- Influence obedience over simple learning of tricks and habits like sitting down, walking, staying down, and more.
- Set limitations over what your dogs must not do.
- Help reduce separation anxiety without needing drugs or sedatives.
How to start your dog training at home
The foundation of training your dog is having positive reinforcement. This refers to the process of giving your dog a treat or reward to encourage your desired behavior. This isn’t exactly a bribing situation, but treats represent the things your dog values which motivate them to be good. These treats can be kibble, dried meat, or their favorite toy.
Be cautious in punishing your dog by yelling at them as this behavior causes confusion over their actions. Patience is what you need as you train them. Think as if you are teaching a young child who needs more consideration. You need gentleness and patience as your pets need to take in a new knowledge.
Simple tricks to teach your dog
Here are some beginner-friendly tricks you can start with on training your dog at home.
1. How to sit
The “sit” command is one of the simplest starting points in training your dog. It primarily aims to ask your pet to sit at certain times calmly. It’s a good ol’ handy trick that serves as a fundamental command throughout the training.
There are two methods in teaching your dog to sit:
- Stand in front of your dog and hold a dog treat or food.
- Wait for your pup to say yes or sit and give him the treat.
- Step back or to your side to encourage your dog to stand, then wait for him to sit.
- When your dog sits, give him a treat.
- Repeat the training and start uttering “sit” as your dog sits.
- Get down in front of your dog and hold a treat in front of his nose.
- Slowly raise the treat above his head.
- Your dog will probably sit while lifting his head to reach the treat.
- Let your dog eat the treat when his bottom stays on the ground.
- Repeat the process with a lure, then use an empty hand to train your dog. Continue to give him a treat when he sits.
- When your dog recognizes your hand gesture, start saying “sit” as you make the hand signal.
2. How to stay
This command aims to control your dog from doing something you don’t want them to do. Before teaching this, ensure that your dog is already familiar with the “sit” command.
Here’s how you can teach your dog to stay in position:
- Ask your dog to sit.
- Show them your open palm and say, “stay.”
- Step backward.
- If your dog waits and stays in place, give him a treat.
- If your dog follows you when you step backward, say “no” and step farther away before trying again.
- Gradually build up the number of steps you take before giving a treat to your dog.
- Give your dog a treat for staying still even for a few seconds. Your dog will eventually understand that staying warrants a reward from you.
4. How to come
Asking your dog to come to you is one of the basic commands you ought to teach your dog. It doesn’t only come in handy when you want to pet your dog, but it also saves you from chasing your dog when left unleashed.
Here’s how to train your dog to come to you:
- Put a collar and leash on your dog.
- Squat down to your dog’s level and say “come” as you gently tug on the leash.
- When your dog walks towards you, give him a treat.
- When your dog finally understands the word “come,” you can remove the leash and practice without it.
4. How to stay down
This position is considered to be one of the most challenging commands since it represents submission. Dogs naturally want to be alert and protective over you, so this might be a little complicated to nail. But you need to include this in your dog training at home since it helps tame your pet at certain times.
Here’s what you need to do in teaching them to stay down:
- Hold a strong-smelling treat and close your fist.
- Hold it right in front of your dog’s nose.
- When your dog sniffs your hand, lower it to the ground to encourage his body to follow his head.
- When your dog is already in a down position, say “down.”
- Give a treat and practice until you can start removing a lure.
- If your dog refuses to stay down, say “no” and take your hand away.
- Never force your dog into a down position.
5. How to leave something
Dogs are naturally curious, making them sniff around whatever looks interesting to them. And you, as the fur parent, should be cautious in letting your dogs out in the loose digging and sniffing everything they see. That’s why you need to train them on how to ignore things.
Here’s how to train your dog to leave things out:
- Hold a treat in each hand.
- Show one enclosed fist and say, “leave it.”
- Allow your dog to sniff, paw, lick and bark on your hand as your dog tries to get the treat inside.
- When your dog stops from trying, present your other hand and give him the other treat.
- Repeat this until your dog moves away from the first fist as you say, “leave it.”
- Then, continue training your dog but only give him a treat when he moves away from the first fist and looks up to you.
- Once your dog masters this, you can use two different kinds of treats—one that’s mildly scented and a tasty-smelling one.
- Say “leave it,” put the mildly scented treat to the floor and cover it with your hand.
- Wait for your dog to ignore the treat and look up to you. Remove the treat from the floor and give him a better tasting treat.
- When your dog already has it, place the mild treat on the floor again but don’t cover it with your hands. Hold it just above the treat.
- Gradually raise your hand six inches aboveground.
- You can now train him with you standing up.
Those are just five of the most basic commands you can teach your dog in training him at home. There are so much more techniques you can train your dog into doing. And you can get them from these online courses: