You're the proud new pet parent of a beautiful young puppy or rescue dog now it's up to you to start their training! Today, our Ruckersville vets share some of the best dog training advice to help get you started. 

Dog Training Advice for Big Dogs & Small Dogs

Whether you choose to train your new puppy or rescue dog yourself, hire an instructor, or attend classes, every pup can benefit from some basic training tips.

Naturally, we see a lot of dogs at our animal hospital, and the best-trained pets recognize their owner as the alpha. These dogs have also been trained with consistency in mind, ensuring that they always know and understand what to expect.

Our veterinarians believe that a good starting point is to keep your puppy healthy, and to have them spayed or neutered when they reach the appropriate age. Having your dog fixed may help them become less aggressive towards other dogs, calmer, and possibly more open to training.

Establishing House Rules

Consistency is key when training dogs! That's why it's critical to be clear with yourself and your family about what you expect from your new puppy before bringing him/her home.

You must be clear on what your dog is and is not allowed to do. Is it acceptable to sleep on your bed? Is it okay if your dog curls up on the couch? Are there any parts of the house that are off-limits? Understanding and mapping out your expectations will help you avoid confusion and indecision once your new puppy arrives.

Teach Your Pup to Come on Command

One of the first basic commands your pet will need to learn is ‘Come!’ Always use their name when giving the command, and follow up with positive reinforcement like praise or a tasty treat.

As your pet grows and learns, try teaching them to 'come' in other situations where their attention is diverted, and get them used to responding even when something more interesting than you is capturing their attention.

Be Quick with Treats & Praise as Rewards

Always use positive reinforcement to reward your dog's good behavior during training. Your dog lives to please and enjoys being rewarded when they do something right, whether it's a pat on the head, belly rubs, a scratch in a favorite spot, a treat, or a toy.

Puppy-Proof Your Home

To keep your new dog safe (and your prized possessions safe), you must puppy-proof your home in the same way that you would child-proof your home. When your dog is not under direct supervision, give him a safe and comfortable place to stay. A dog crate or pen is an excellent place for your dog to relax and play with safe, dog-friendly toys.

Know a Teaching Moment When You See One

Just as you want to reward good behavior, you also want to recognize teaching opportunities as they arise. Seasoned dog owners will tell you that puppies live in the moment and require plenty of repetition.

If you are going to enforce a rule or teach a lesson, you must do so immediately after they have performed the action. Dogs do not dwell on the past. They forget what they did a few minutes later, so they will be completely confused and unable to associate their actions with corrections or training techniques unless they are implemented immediately. The most effective puppy training results come from quick, consistent repetition.

Note: Dogs Do Whatever Makes them Feel Safe or Happy

Many dog owners make the mistake of assuming that their canine companions are capable of human emotions. We understand that you adore your dog and consider him a member of your family, but keep in mind that he is not human.

Dogs are not vengeful creatures out to annoy or upset you. Instead, they do whatever makes them happy or safe at the time, which can lead to both good and bad behavior. When your dog misbehaves, remember that it was not planned and respond to the behavior immediately. When dog training, you should live in the present moment as much as your dog does.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Our Ruckersville vets provide guidance, advice, and the highest quality of veterinary care during your puppy's critical first year of life. Contact us for more information about caring for your new pet.