January is National Train Your Dog Month!
Stay tuned for weekly tips from our trainer.
Loose leash walking!
Walking on a leash is one of the most common behaviors people want their dog to learn. It is simple to teach but requires lots of patience and consistency. When you are first starting leash training (or starting over!), begin in a quiet environment without too many distractions. Your driveway, backyard or even your living room are good choices. Add in distractions later. Teaching leash walking involves two rules.
- When your dog is walking nicely, praise, treat and reward by going the direction your dog wants to go.
- When your dog pulls, STOP. Wait for her to relax, look up at you, or sit. When your dog does a behavior you like, continue again.
You’ll be starting and stopping and praising and treating almost constantly at first! With time and practice your dog will understand and you won’t need to use as many treats or stops.
Socialization isn’t just exposure
It is becoming common knowledge that socializing your dog is important. However, exposure to things isn’t usually enough to help your dog deal with our busy world. Your dog needs to have positive experiences with a variety of people, dogs, and environments. You can ensure a positive socialization experience takes place by doing the following:
1. Don’t force him – let him go at his own pace
2. Give him distance – distance makes things less scary
3. Keep it fun and full of good things – use treats, praise, and play to make the experience great!
Ask for what you want instead
Dogs naturally do some behaviors that we as humans really don’t like! Jumping up, mouthing, licking, and barking are just a few of these. One of the most common questions is “how do I get my dog to stop _________?” If you find yourself asking this question, you should follow it up with “what do I want my dog to do in that situation instead?” Once you have a picture of what good behavior looks like, teach your dog how to do that behavior when you ask. Then, you can ask for the behavior you like instead of dwelling on the problem. Be sure to praise, treat, and play when they do the right thing!!
Using a lure to get behavior
One way to teach a new behavior is to use a food lure. To do this, take a piece of a tasty treat and show it to your dog. Use the food like a magnet – your dog’s nose will follow! As your dog is doing the correct behavior, say the word that you want to use for your command. After your dog is successfully doing the behavior and you have been saying the command, you can try to ask for the behavior without the lure. Be patient and focus on what your dog is doing right!