We just got our first puppy and we’d like to do some basic training with her. Is this something that we can do ourselves or should we go to a dog trainer? Also, what are the basic commands and tricks that we need to teach our new dog?
Thinking about training in Timbergrove
Dear Thinking about training,
Dogs are pack animals and, as such, they want to live in a cohesive, functioning pack. In order to cohabitate with their human pack, they need to be shown who’s boss (spoiler alert: your dog should NOT be the boss) and taught the rules.
By nature, your dog wants your approval. She wants to please you (most of the time, anyway!). But she can’t do that without being taught what you expect of her. Everyone in the household is better off if the dog conforms to the behavior expected of it.
During your dog’s life you may decide to teach her to perform all manner of impressive tricks and tasks. Those are optional. But the following types of training should be considered as absolutely essential for every dog owner. And, while a professional trainer can certainly help if you lack the time or patience for training your new pup, you should be able to teach your puppy most of the basic commands on your own in a short period of time.
First up, the most important:
One of the most essential tenets of dog training is potty training. Start when the dog is young – about 3 to 4 months of age. Any earlier, and your puppy probably won’t yet have sufficient bowel and bladder control. And if you start later, the training period is likely to take much longer.
When you begin the training, start by confining the puppy to a fairly restricted area – a single room, the length of a tethered lead, or even a crate. As your puppy begins to learn that ‘business’ is to be conducted outside, you can gradually expand the area that it’s allowed to roam.
As for obedience training, teaching your dog basic obedience is also a necessity. Having a dog who knows basic commands can be a safety measure for your dog and helps you control your pet in stressful situations. While an obedient dog is a pleasure to be around, the opposite is also true – a disobedient dog can be a real pain!
You can take your dog’s training to a much higher level if you choose to, of course, but at the very minimum, your dog should learn to respond to the following basic commands:
• Sit This basic command helps you to keep control of your dog no matter the situation, and is a good command to teach first.
• Drop This teaches your dog to instantly drop whatever is in its mouth. (Could save your dog from harm if she ever picks up something dangerous or toxic.)
• Stay Teaches your dog to remain still, calm, and in one place.
• Heel Teaches your dog to stay close to you as you walk, with or without a lead.
• Come Teaches your dog to immediately come to you upon your command. You should begin to teach this command to your puppy as soon as it recognizes its name. This command could potentially help you protect your puppy from harm.
The above are all commands that are easy for most people to teach a dog. For a little guidance, head to the Internet or to your library for information on dog training, or head directly to the professionals. A well-trained dog makes for a much better and happier pet.
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