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Training a new dog may be challenging depending on the dogs age, personality, energy level and your own experience with training. But it doesn’t have to be! Read these great tips!

  • Clicker training is one the most effective forms of dog training, because it allows your dog to instantly recognize the desired behavior. Simply click and treat at the exact moment your dog exhibits a desired behavior. For example, click as soon as your dogs rear touches the ground when you are training them to sit, then give them a treat.
  • Dogs understand your verbal commands best when they are one syllable.
  • With dog training, the size of the reward does not matter. Small treats allow you to repeat behaviors more often without waiting for the dog to chew. We recommend a treat the size of your pinky nail.
  • Know your dog, each dog places value on different things. Some dogs prefer treats, some prefer affection and some really want toys. Use this knowledge to learn how to reward your dog in a way that is best for them.
  • Punishment (hitting or yelling loudly at your dog) is not an effective form of training and if you do so, you run the risk of a dog retaliating or becoming fearful of you.
  • If your dog is energetic, make sure it has received sufficient exercise before training sessions, it will improve focus.
  • It is best to do short training sessions — several 10 minute sessions a day is far more effective than one 30 minute session because dogs lose focus quickly.
  • Dogs learn commands in context. It is important that you train your dog in a variety of areas, otherwise, if you train indoors only for example, they may not understand the commands outdoors. It is important to train your dog in the same area until they grasp the command, then begin changing the areas you are training in.
  • Some tricks, like rolling over, require multiple movements. It may be easier to train the dog to do each step separately. For example, train them to lay down, then lay on it’s right side, then on it’s back, etc. • It is important to train your dog with gestures, then add a vocal command after they understand the behavior. 
  • The best way to fix bad behaviors is to completely ignore the behavior and the dog while it is doing the behavior. Dogs view negative attention as attention — saying no is still attention after all, and they may repeat the behavior in order to get your attention in the future.
  • It is easiest to train dogs to do behaviors they do naturally. You can start training dogs to sit for example by saying “sit” and rewarding them when they sit on their own. 
  • Dogs are den animals and a properly crate trained dog is a happy dog because they enjoy having their own safe place. Never use the crate as a form of punishment, instead work to ensure it is a positive place. Try treating your dog when you crate them or feed them their meals in their crate. Consider giving your dog chew toys in their crate as well.
  • Most “bad behaviors” are boredom behavior and can be eliminated through proper exercise, attention and mental stimulation. Examples of these behaviors are digging, escaping, chewing improper objects, etc. Dogs are most energetic between the ages of 1 and 3 and as a result they can exhibit strange or erratic behaviors. A dog that demonstrates boredom behaviors or has large amounts of energy are not “bad dogs”, they simply are not having their needs met. Increase their exercise amounts, take them to dog play groups (if they get along well with other dogs), and provide them with mentally stimulating toys such as stuffed Kongs and food puzzles and you may be amazed by the behavior difference you see!
  • Understand how dogs communicate to ensure that you, or your guests, are not communicating something to your dog that you are unaware of and as a result, soliciting unwanted behaviors/reactions from the dog. For example, staring at a dog is considered a challenge/threat to a dog and so as a result a dog may react in an aggressive or overly submissive way. It is important to understand the way a dogs body communicates, particularly how to recognize when your dog is angry to ensure that you pick up on their signals. When a dog bites a human they give a variety of warning signals, but most humans don’t understand them. Make sure that you do!

Still worried about training? Consider looking into a dog training course or attend one of our courses here!