Are you tired of coming home to chewed-up shoes, unruly behavior, and endless barking? It’s time to take control and create a well-behaved pup.
With DogsBestLife’s expert dog training tips, you can turn your dog into the perfect companion using our dog training 101 tools.
This comprehensive guide packs practical advice and proven techniques for mastering basic commands and tackling behavioral issues.
Get ready to unleash your dog’s full potential and dive into the world of effective dog training strategies.
Say goodbye to chaos and hello to a harmonious relationship with your best friend.
Dog training 101: Set expectations
Setting expectations for your pup is crucial in creating a well-behaved dog.
Dogs are intelligent animals and can sense their owner’s expectations.
Thus, it is vital to establish clear boundaries and rules from the very beginning.
When bringing home a new puppy, it is essential to have realistic expectations. Puppies are like children; they require time, patience, and consistent training to learn good behavior. It is natural for puppies to be curious and energetic, so don’t expect them to behave perfectly immediately.
Start by setting basic rules for potty training, leash manners, and basic obedience commands like sit, stay, and come. These essential skills will help your pup become well-behaved in the long run.
Consistency is critical when setting expectations for your pup. Ensure all family members are on the same page regarding training methods and routines. This will prevent confusion or mixed signals for your puppy, which could lead to inconsistent behavior.
Take your time
Be patient with your puppy and understand that learning takes time. It may take several weeks or even months to grasp certain behaviors or commands fully, but they will eventually get there with consistent practice and positive reinforcement.
Understand your dog’s personality
Another important aspect of setting expectations is understanding your pup’s personality and needs.
Avoid punishing or scolding your puppy excessively, which can cause fear and distrust.
Teach basic obedience commands
Basic obedience commands are essential for any well-behaved dog.
These foundational skills make your pup easier to manage, more enjoyable to be around and provide a solid base for further training and behavior modification.
The first and most important command to teach your pup is “sit.” Teach this simple yet effective command using positive reinforcement techniques such as treats or toys.
Start by holding a treat in front of your dog’s nose and slowly raising it above their head, causing the dog to sit to follow the treat naturally. When their bottom touches the ground, use a cue word like “sit” and give them the treat while praising them with verbal cues like “good job” or “good dog.”
Repeat this process until your dog consistently responds to the cue word without needing a treat.
Down is a simple yet effective command that teaches your dog to lie down and stay in that position until released, which can be extremely useful in many situations.
To effectively teach your dog the “down” command, you will need patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement techniques.
Get your pup’s undivided attention before giving the “down” command. You can achieve this by calling her name or using a treat as a lure.
Dogs are highly visual animals and respond well to hand signals and verbal cues. To teach the “down” command, use an open palm facing towards the ground while saying “down.”
Once you have their attention, slowly lower your hand (with the treat if needed) towards the floor between their front paws while saying “down.” Your pup may naturally follow the movement of your hand and go into a lying down position.
Reward and praise your dog immediately.
“Stay” teaches your pup self-control and patience.
Begin by having your dog sit before you, then take a step back with an open palm gesture as if stopping traffic, accompanied by the cue word “stay.”
If your dog remains sitting, praise her immediately with verbal cues like “good stay” or “good dog.”
If the dog gets up or moves towards you, calmly guide your dog back into position and start over again from a shorter distance.
Gradually increase the distance between you and your dog as she becomes more comfortable with this command.
The “come” command is one of the most critical commands every dog should learn.
It allows you to control your dog’s movements and ensures their safety.
Whether calling them back from chasing after a squirrel or preventing them from running into a dangerous situation, the “come” command can be a lifesaver.
The best time to start training your pup is when they are young and eager to learn. Puppies have a shorter attention span, so keep training sessions short (5-10 minutes) and frequent (2-3 times a day).
Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement, so praise and reward your pup every time they successfully come when called using treats, toys, or verbal praise.
Choose a quiet and distraction-free area, such as your backyard or a quiet park.
As your dog learns the command, gradually increase the distractions and distance.
Pick a specific cue word such as “come,” “here,” or “to me,” and stick to it consistently while training your pup.
Use a long leash (about 15-20 feet) to help you maintain control over your until she consistently comes when called.
The “wait” command teaches your pup to pause and stay in a specific position until you release them, making it an essential safety measure for everyday situations.
Teaching your dog to wait can prevent them from running out when you open the door or jumping out of a car before you have safely exited.
It also helps with impulse control, which can be helpful in many other training scenarios, such as not rushing through doors or waiting while you place the food bowl on the floor.
Start by getting your dog into a sit or down position.
Say “wait” in a firm but gentle tone and hold your hand as if signaling someone to stop.
Take a step back while maintaining eye contact with your dog. If they try to follow you, say “no” and return to the starting position.
After a few seconds, return to your dog and reward them with praise and a treat if they have stayed in place.
Gradually increase the distance and time before returning to your dog and rewarding them.
Always ensure they remain in position before releasing them with another cue like “OK.”
The leave it command teaches your dog to ignore particular objects or behaviors that could potentially harm them or cause unwanted behavior.
You can also use the command to prevent your pup from picking up something they shouldn’t, like food scraps on the ground or a piece of trash.
Start with a treat in one hand and close your fist around it. Show the closed fist to your dog and say “leave it” in a firm but calm tone.
Your pup will likely try to sniff, lick, paw, or even bark at your hand to get the treat.
When they stop trying to get the treat, praise them and give them another treat from your other hand as a reward. Repeat this exercise several times until they consistently stop attempting to get the treat when you say, “Leave it.”
Once your dog masters leaving treats alone in a closed fist, move on to placing the treat on the ground while covering it with your hand. Again, use the command “leave it” and wait for them to stop trying before rewarding them with another treat from your other hand.
Gradually increase the difficulty by using more tempting treats or moving further away from the treat.
This command is essential for keeping your pup safe and preventing them from getting into trouble.
Whether it’s a forbidden object on the ground or something dangerous in their mouth, teaching your dog to drop it can save his life.
Start with a high-value treat: To get your dog’s attention and motivate them to learn, start with a high-value treat such as a piece of chicken or cheese. This will make them more eager to participate in training.
Hold the treat before your dog’s nose and say, “Take it.” Wait for them to grab the treat from your hand.
When your dog takes the first treat, say “drop it” while showing another treat.
This will encourage the dog to drop the first treat to receive the second one.
Repeat until your dog understands the command, which means he needs to let go of whatever is in their mouth.
Once your dog has mastered dropping treats, try using an item like a toy or ball instead of food. Doing this will prepare them for other tempting objects they might see outside.
No is a simple yet powerful word that can help establish boundaries and prevent unwanted behaviors.
First, it’s essential to understand that dogs do not naturally understand the word “no.” It’s a human concept you need to teach through consistent training and positive reinforcement.
Begin with a calm and assertive tone. This will help your pup understand that you are in charge and he should listen to you.
Dogs are highly visual creatures and often respond better to visual cues than verbal commands alone. To accompany the word “no,” use a hand signal such as pointing or making a flat palm towards them.
Start with simple situations where the dog may be tempted to do something wrong, such as jumping on furniture or chewing on items they shouldn’t.
Consistency is critical when teaching any new behavior to your dog. Use the same word and hand signal every time so your dog can make an association between the two.
Whenever your pup responds correctly by stopping their unwanted behavior after hearing “no,” be sure to praise and reward them.
Off is a basic obedience command critical for all dogs to learn.
It teaches them to stop whatever they are doing and move away from something, whether it be an object, person, or another animal.
You can use this command in multiple situations, such as when your dog is jumping on someone or trying to grab food off the counter.
Choose a quiet room in your house where there are no distractions. This will allow your dog to focus solely on you and the training.
Hold a treat before your dog’s nose and wait for him to notice it. When he does, slowly guide the treat towards his head until he sits down.
Once your dog sits, say “off” firmly but not harshly. You want your pup to associate this word with stopping his actions.
As you say “off,” use a hand signal by moving your open palm toward the ground. This visual cue will help reinforce the verbal command.
As soon as your dog moves away from whatever he was doing, give him the treat and praise him with words like “good boy or girl.”
This positive reinforcement will encourage your dog to follow this command.
Teaching your dog to be quiet on command is essential for any well-behaved pup.
This command will prevent excessive barking and potential noise complaints and help your dog learn self-control and improve their overall behavior.
Establish a cue word or gesture you consistently use when giving the “quiet” command. This could be something like “enough” or a raised index finger.
Like all obedience commands, teaching “quiet” takes patience and consistency. Start with short training sessions of about 10-15 minutes each day to avoid overwhelming your dog.
Dogs bark for various reasons, like boredom, fear, or excitement.
Observe your dog’s behavior closely to determine what triggers their barking so that you can address the root cause during training.
Positive reinforcement is vital in teaching any new behavior to dogs. When they stop barking after you give the “quiet” command, reward them with treats, praise, and affection.
It’s essential to practice the “quiet” command in various environments, as dogs may respond differently depending on distractions around them.
Start indoors where there are fewer distractions. Once your dog responds consistently, try giving the “quiet” command outdoors.
Dog training 101: Master potty training
Potty training is one of the most important aspects of dog training.
It sets the foundation for good behavior and cleanliness in your pup. It can also be one of the most challenging tasks for new dog owners.
However, you can potty train your furry friend consistently and patiently.
The best time to start potty training is when your puppy is 12-16 weeks old. By this age, they have enough control over their bladder and bowel movements to learn where to go potty.
Dogs thrive on routine, so establish a consistent schedule for feeding, playtime, and potty breaks.
This will help them understand when to go outside to do their business.
Pick a specific area in your yard or outside that will serve as your pup’s potty spot. Take them there every time you take them out to reinforce the idea that this is where they should be eliminated.
Use positive reinforcement: Whenever your pup goes potty in the designated spot, praise them and give them treats as soon as they finish.
This will create positive associations with going potty in the right place.
Puppies have small bladders and may need to go out frequently during the day until they develop better bladder control.
Be patient with accidents and avoid scolding or punishing your pup if they have an accident inside.
Crate training can help with potty training. Most dogs won’t go potty in their crates, and using the crate can help you control your dog when you’re not watching your pup.
Walk on leash
Leash training is an essential skill for any well-behaved pup.
It ensures their safety and makes taking them for walks a more pleasant experience for you and your furry friend.
The best time to start leash training is when your pup is still young, preferably between 8-16 weeks old. This is the ideal age as they are still in their socialization period and more receptive to learning new things.
Before you start leash training, ensure you have the right equipment, including a good quality leash that is strong and comfortable to hold and a properly fitted harness or collar.
For puppies who have never been on a leash before, it can be an intimidating experience. So it’s crucial to introduce them to it gradually.
Start by leaving the leash near their bed or play area so they can get used to its presence.
As with all dog training techniques, positive reinforcement is critical when teaching your pup to walk on a leash. Use treats and verbal praise to reward them for walking calmly beside you instead of pulling or tugging on the leash.
When starting with leash training, practicing in a quiet and familiar environment, such as your backyard or a nearby park with minimal distractions, is best.
Fix problem behavior
Correcting any problem behaviors they may exhibit is vital when training your dog.
Problem behaviors can range from simple things like jumping or barking to severe issues like aggression toward other animals or people.
The first step is identifying the specific issue. Take note of when and where the behavior occurs and any triggers that may set it off.
This will help you understand the root cause of the behavior and develop a plan to address it effectively.
Dogs thrive on routine and structure, so ensuring everyone in the household is on board with addressing the issue will increase your chances of success.
One effective method for correcting problem behaviors is positive reinforcement training.
This involves rewarding your dog for good behavior rather than punishing them for bad behavior.
Positive reinforcement can include verbal praise, treats, or toys — anything that motivates your dog and reinforces their good actions.
Another critical element in fixing problem behaviors is understanding that consistency and patience are essential. It takes time for dogs to unlearn unwanted behaviors and replace them with new ones.
Be patient and consistent in your training efforts, even if progress is slow.
In addition to positive reinforcement training, you can use other techniques such as desensitization and counterconditioning.
Dog training 101: Reward good behavior
Rewarding good behavior is an effective way to train your pup and encourage your dog to continue exhibiting positive behaviors.
Dogs are naturally motivated by rewards, such as treats, praise, or playtime with their favorite toy. Using natural motivations, you can strengthen your bond with your pup and help them understand what you expect.
When rewarding your pup for good behavior, it’s important to use treats that they find highly desirable. This could be a piece of cooked chicken or cheese rather than their regular kibble. High-value treats will make the reward more meaningful to your pup and increase their chances of repeating the desired behavior.
The timing of the reward is just as important as what you are rewarding. Giving the treat immediately after your pup has displayed the desired behavior is essential.
This allows your dog to connect actions and the reward.
Consistency is critical when it comes to training your pup with rewards.
Ensure everyone in your household uses the same type of reward and follows through with giving it at the right time for good behavior.
Inconsistency can confuse your dog and hinder the learning process.
Mix up rewards
While using treats as rewards may work well initially, relying on something other than food rewards in the long run is essential. Try using verbal praise or playtime with a favorite toy.
Move on to advanced tricks
Once your dog has mastered the basics, it’s time to challenge them with advanced tricks.
This will keep their mind sharp and engaged and a great way to bond with your pup and show off their impressive skills.
The “settle” command is essential for teaching your dog how to relax and stay calm in various situations.
This command is handy for high-energy breeds or dogs that tend to get easily excited.
To begin training your dog on the “settle” command, you need a quiet, comfortable space with minimal distractions.
Start by getting your dog’s attention with their favorite treat or toy. Then, use a calm and soothing voice to give the verbal cue of “settle.” You can also use a hand signal, such as placing your palm facing down towards the ground.
Next, guide your dog into a lying-down position. Keep training positive and reward your dog with treats or praise when they settle down.
Repeat this process several times until your pup starts associating the word “settle” with lying down.
Once your dog understands the basic concept of settling down, you can gradually introduce more challenging scenarios, such as practicing in different locations or when moderate distractions are present.
Remember always to remain patient and consistent with your training.
Don’t force your dog into a settled position; allow them to do so at their own pace.
Forcing can lead to resistance and make it more challenging for them to learn the command effectively.
Try using this command before activities that excite your pup, such as mealtime or playtime.
Go to bed
Train your dog to go to her designated sleeping area on command.
Before teaching this command, deciding where you want your dog to sleep is crucial. It can be a crate, a dog bed, or any other designated spot in the house. Make sure this area is comfortable and safe.
Start by luring your dog towards their designated sleeping area with a treat while saying “go to bed” in a clear and firm tone.
Once they reach the spot, give them the treat and praise them with words such as “good boy or girl.”
Along with verbal cues, using hand signals can help reinforce the command even further.
Teaching your dog how to shake is a fun and impressive trick that can also be a great way to bond with your furry friend.
This trick involves teaching your dog to lift their paw and offer a gentle handshake, and it’s relatively easy to train.
Stand in front of your dog and hold the treat in one hand while making a fist with the other hand.
Use a clear and consistent voice command such as “shake” or “paw” so your dog understands what you want them to do.
Slowly move your closed fist towards your dog’s paw, gently tapping her leg until she lifts it naturally.
When your dog raises their paw even slightly, praise it with lots of verbal encouragement and give the dog a treat from your other hand.
Practice this several times until your dog consistently lifts his paw when you say “shake.”
Have your dog sit before you with her paws on the ground. Make sure the dog is calm and focused before proceeding.
The next step is to introduce the hand gesture to signify a high-five.
You can use an open palm or a fist, whichever works best for you and your dog.
Hold your hand towards their paw while saying, “Give me five” or any other command word you choose.
When your dog touches their paw to your hand, reward them with praise and a treat.
This helps them understand that they are doing the right thing and encourages them to repeat the behavior.
Repeat this process until your dog consistently touches her paw to your hand whenever you give the command. Remember always to reward them after each successful attempt.
Once your dog has mastered touching her paw to your hand consistently, add a verbal cue such as “high-five.”
Teaching your dog to back up is a practical skill that can come in handy.
It allows you to create distance between your dog and other people or animals, helps with leash manners, and serves as a form of exercise for your pup.
Choose a quiet and distraction-free environment to help your dog focus.
Stand facing your dog with enough space between you both for movement.
Ensure there are no obstacles that could hinder your pup’s backward movement.
Choose a simple phrase like “back up” or “reverse” as a verbal cue for this behavior.
Teaching your dog the “play dead” trick adds an impressive skill to their repertoire and has practical benefits for obedience and training.
This trick teaches your pup impulse control and how to stay in a specific position until given a release command.
Start by having your dog lie down on their side. You can use the “down” command or lure them into this position with a treat. Once your dog is lying down on her side, give plenty of praise and some treats.
Next, hold a treat close to your dog’s nose and slowly move it toward the ground between her front paws. As your dog follows the treat with her nose, she will naturally roll onto her back.
As soon as your dog is on her back, praise her and give her a treat.
Time the reward correctly so she understands why she’s getting the reward.
Repeat this process several times until your dog starts rolling onto her back without needing a treat.
Once your dog masters rolling onto her back, add a cue word like “play dead” or point your finger like a gun and say, “Bang.”
Teaching your dog to speak on command can help with their communication skills.
Dogs use barking to communicate with us and other dogs, so by giving them a specific cue for this behavior, they will learn when it is appropriate to bark and when it is not.
You will need treats and a quiet, distraction-free environment to train your dog to speak.
Hold a treat before your dog’s nose and say “speak” clearly and firmly.
Wait for your dog to make any noise or bark, even if it is just a tiny woof. As soon as your dog makes a noise, praise him and give him a treat.
Repeat this process several times until your dog starts associating the word “speak” with barking.
Once your dog makes this connection, add more challenges, such as increasing the duration between saying the command and rewarding them or asking them to speak without showing them a treat beforehand.
Always use the same word (“speak”) along with the accompanying action (clapping/snapping).
Use hand signals with the word so you won’t need treats whenever your dog speaks on command.
It’s essential to avoid getting frustrated if your dog doesn’t pick up on this right away. Some breeds are naturally more vocal than others,
To start teaching spin, ask your dog to sit. This will serve as the starting position for the trick.
Make sure your dog is focused on you and not distracted.
Take a treat or toy in your hand and hold it close to your dog’s nose so he can smell it.
Slowly move the treat or toy in an arc over the dog’s head towards her tail while using a command word such as “spin” or “twirl.”
This will encourage the dog to follow the motion with her head and pivot in a circle.
When your dog completes one full turn, praise her and immediately reward her with the treat or toy.
Repeat this process several times until your dog gets comfortable with the movement.
Leg weaving involves your dog weaving in and out of your legs while you walk or stand, creating a playful and interactive bond.
The first step in teaching leg weaving is to get your dog comfortable with being close to your legs. Start by standing still with your feet slightly apart, luring your dog with a treat or toy between your legs.
As they move towards the treat, praise your dog and reward her when she successfully passes through.
Once your dog is comfortable moving between your legs while standing still, start slowly walking while encouraging your dog to follow between your legs.
Use treats or toys to lure them in the direction you want them to go, praising and rewarding them for their efforts.
Be patient and consistent with both verbal cues (such as saying “weave”) and hand signals (such as pointing in the direction you want them to go).
Also, remember to use positive reinforcement techniques such as treats or praise when your dog completes each step.
Take a bow
Taking a bow is not just about the cute pose; it also has numerous benefits for your dog’s well-being.
This trick requires your dog to use her muscles differently.
By stretching her front legs and leaning down, your dog engages her core muscles and improves flexibility.
Also, teaching your dog to take a bow can help with coordination and balance as she learns to shift her weight back and forth while holding the pose.
This trick can also serve as a calming exercise for dogs struggling with anxiety or hyperactivity.
Start by luring your pup into the “down” position using treats or toys. Ensure they are comfortable in this position before moving on to the next step.
Hold the treat or toy near her nose, then slowly move it toward the ground between her front paws.
As you guide her paws toward her chest, use a verbal cue such as “bow” or “take a bow.”
Following the treat with her nose, she will naturally lower herself into position.
Repeat this several times until your dog associates the command with the physical action.
Final thoughts using on dog training tips
With these 25 expert dog training tips from DogsBestLife, you can create a well-behaved and happy pup.
Remember to be patient and consistent with your training, as it takes time for dogs to learn new behaviors.
By using positive reinforcement techniques and understanding your dog’s needs, you can build a strong bond with your furry friend while teaching them essential skills.
If you’re struggling to train your dog, consider enrolling in a training class or working with a dog trainer.
So start implementing these tips today and create a well-behaved pup.
Sara B. Hansen has spent 20-plus years as a professional editor and writer. She’s also the author of The Complete Guide to Cocker Spaniels. She decided to create her dream job by launching DogsBestLife.com in 2011. Sara grew up with family dogs, and since she bought her first house, she’s had a furry companion or two to help make it a home. She shares her heart and home with Nutmeg, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Her previous dogs: Sydney (September 2008-April 2020), Finley (November 1993-January 2008), and Browning (May 1993-November 2007). You can reach Sara @ email@example.com.