If you’re new to being a dog parent, you may wonder when the best time to train your dog is. We’re here to help with all things training related!
To start off on the right foot (or paw!) with your fur baby, they’ll need to know what you expect of them. Laying out the groundwork will make them feel secure about their ability to meet training goals moving forward. However, since our dogs can’t understand when we talk to them, we need to get creative with the ways we interact with them.
Stay tuned to find out the best time to train your pooch as well as the best training techniques!
Why is Dog Training Important?
Training is an integral part of every pup’s life for because it provides mental stimulation, which is crucial to keep your dog happy. Additionally, when you combine the training with morning exercise, they’ll be mentally and physically tired by the end of the day; this is helpful to restless pups who may have a case of the zoomies.
The best way to go about dog training is to adop the reward-based training approach, whereby any dog can be set up for success. Once a dog masters a few training techniques, this approach encourages the owner to reward them for performing a good behavior, also known as positive reinforcement. Rewards can come in the form of a tasty food treat or verbal phrae, such as “good dog!” in an excited tone. Not only is this type of training enjoyable for dogs, but it also strengthens the relationship between them and their owner.
Furthermore, reward-based training also involves ignoring any unpleasant behaviors, which helps your dog learn what is and isn’t acceptable. Once your dog notices that they aren’t being rewarded for certain behaviors, they may stop doing them. For instance, if you own an excited pup that loves jumping up and down to greet people, it’s best to ignore them until all four paws are back on the ground.
Generally, when an owner reacts to unwanted behaviors by getting angry and yelling, they’re subtly reinforcing their dog’s attitude; since your dog doesn’t know any better, they take any attention as a good thing, even if it’s negative. After all, for most dogs, any form of attention from their owner is better than no attention at all.
Keep reading to find out when the best time to train your fur baby is.
The Best Time to Train Your Dog
A few years ago, conventional dog knowledge from vetenarians and trainers held that puppies should receive training as soon as they were old enough to be vaccinated. Sadly, this meant that dogs didn’t get trained until they had already developed behavioral issues in their socialization stage. As a result, most professionals in the dog realm (vetenarians, dog trainers, and animal behavioralists) now say that the best time to train a dog is in their first 7-8 weeks, according to the American Kennel Club.
Professionals have found that inadequate socialization during a dog’s first two months can result in behavioral issues, including:
- Social anxiety
- Avoidance of people
However, if you have an older puppy on your hands, it isn’t too late to train them. Although we recommend training your new pup when they’re young, some owners don’t get that opportunity because they may have crossed paths with their fur baby way into their mature years. The reality is, dogs can learn at any age, and adult dogs are sometimes easier to train than frisky puppies because they have more self-restraint. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
Furthermore, it’s crucial to continue training your dog as they mature because it will keep them on their toes and sharpen their mind.
3 Basic Commands to Train Your Dog
1. Teach Your Dog to Come Over
Begin your dog training by teaching them to come over when called, also known as a recall. Sit with your fur baby and say their name, followed by the word “come.” Every time you ask your dog to come over and refer to them by their name, give them a treat. They don’t have to do anything other than approach you. Easy!
Next, drop a treat next to you. As soon as your puppy finishes their snack, say their name again. When they look up again, give them another treat. Repeat this process a few times until they can turn around to face you when you say their name.
2. Teach Your Dog Loose Leash Walking
Loose leash walking means that your dog is walking by your side and not pulling on their leash. Some dog owners expect their dog to automatically know how to walk wearing a leash, but that’s unrealistic. Most dogs are startled the first time they wear their leash, leading to them gnawing on it to break free. First things first: make sure your fur baby is comfortable wearing a leash. Give them treats each time you put on their leash the first few times.
As your dog grows comfortable, take one step forward and encourage them to follow by giving them another treat as they catch up to you. Eventually, they’ll be happy to go outside with you and walk at your pace. Have you seen dogs walk their owners? Some bigger dogs can out-walk their owners, and it can look like the owner is following their dog! You’ll want to avoid that. Give them plenty of time to exercise their nose by sniffing, since dogs love to smell. When it’s time to go home, say “Let’s Go!” in a cheery voice and reward them for following you back home.
3. Teach Your Dog to Sit
One way to teach your dog how to sit is by using the luring method. Get down in front of them, using a treat as a lure. Put the treat in front of your dog’s nose, then slowly lift the treat above their head. Your dog will likely sit down as they lift their head up to nibble their treat. Let them eat their snack when their bottom touches the floor. Repeat this process once or twice with the food lure, then remove the food and just use your empty hand. Continue to reward them after they sit. Once they master the hand signal to “sit,” you can start saying “sit” right before you give a hand signal.
Top Ways to Spoil Your Dog After Training
Besides teaching your dog tricks, one of the top joys of being a pup parent is being able to pamper them. Here are a few easy ways to spoil them:
- Take them to the pet store and let them pick out a new toy
- Buy your dog some new clothes
- Give them a relaxing massage
- Take your dog for a swim, on a hike, or to the dog park
- Bake them some dog-friendly treats
Luckily, dogs are easy to please, so a little effort goes a long way!
Treat Your Dog to Plush Paws Products
When you train your dog, it will be equally as important to let them know that you’re proud of their hard work. If you decide to take them to the dog park or on a swim or hike, you’ll want to make sure they’re comfortable on the road.
You can’t go wrong with Plush Paws Products. Our wide selection of velvet pet seat covers is perfect for ensuring your best friend rides comfortably in your car. Check out our best sellers today.