Paws and Claws Animal Rescue Dog Training Basics

Chances are your newly adopted dog or puppy isn’t going to be the well-trained animal you may have in mind. Dog training doesn’t have to be a daunting task.

Here are a few basic rules to keep in mind:Consistency! Just like building and maintaining ANY relationship, consistency is key. Find what works for you and your dog, and stick with it.Most dogs are empathetic. This doesn’t mean they can read your mind, only that they can sense your feelings; even your frustrations.

Remain calm while working with your dog. Becoming frustrated is perfectly normal, but this means it is time to take a break.Get to know your dog before you begin training. Your dog must be familiar with your overall tone of voice before training can be successful. Always talk to your dog in your normal voice.

For example: When you’re excited, let your dog know in your voice and actions.Find your dog’s currency. Many people think treats are the best currency to use. Sometimes they are, but some dogs thrive on extra attention, an extra chase, or some other form of currency. Find what works best for your dog and stick with it. If the currency happens to be treats, buy small treats, or something you can break into pieces. Bite-sized pieces work best, this way your dog doesn’t become full while you’re working on tricks.

Keep commands between 1 and 3 syllables. Dogs learn commands more quickly if you keep them short.

Training Your Dog to SitSpeak the command, “Sit” clearly. Your dog will likely give you a curious look for the first several times. This is perfectly normal and demonstrates his/her willingness to learn.Speak the command again while holding a treat (or toy, whichever currency works for your dog) just above his/her head.Reach your opposite hand toward the dog’s hind quarters and gently push down while keeping his or her attention on the treat (or other currency).Repeat 1-3 until a natural sitting position is achieved.

Immediately upon sitting, give your dog the treat he or she has earned, and be excited! Repeat the command, and “Good Boy/Girl! Good Sit!”

Repeat the training steps until your dog naturally sits on command. Always show your dog how excited you are when a command is followed.

Training Your Dog to Potty on Command

I get some pretty odd looks from time to time when people realize I’m telling one of my dogs to use the bathroom. This is actually one of the simplest and easiest things to train your dog to do. They do it naturally, you just provide the incentive, enthusiasm, and treat.Every time you take your dog out to go potty, use the same phrase.

For example: My phrase is “C’mon, let’s go out!” Going “out” is different from going to “play”. When we go outside to play I say, “Let’s go play!” The key words there are “out” and “play” so they sound completely different, as their purposes are completely different.As your dog is emptying their bladder or bowels, say “Go pee!” or “Go potty!” Again, be excited and use “Good Boy/Girl, go potty!”

The words you use need to be something you’re comfortable with saying in front of other people. I always use “Go pee” because it’s 2 syllables and easy to think of off the top of my head. Yes, it’s a bit odd if you say “go pee” when the dog is emptying its bowels, but again, be consistent.