You're the proud new pet parent of a beautiful young puppy or rescue dog now it's up to you to start their training! Today our Clarksville vets share some key dog training tips to help get you started. 

Dog Training Tips

It doesn't matter whether you choose to train your new puppy or rescue dog yourself, hire an instructor, or head to classes, every pup can benefit from some essential training tips.

Naturally, we see a lot of dogs on a regular basis at our animal hospital, and the best-trained pets respect their owner as the alpha. These pups have also been trained with consistency in mind so that they always know and understand what to expect.

Our veterinarians believe that a good starting point is to keep your puppy healthy and to have them spayed or neutered when they reach the appropriate age. Having your dog "fixed" may help them become less aggressive towards other dogs, calmer, and possibly more open to training.

Establishing House Rules

When it comes to training, dogs respond best to consistency! That's why it's super important to be clear with yourself and your family regarding what you expect of your new pup before you bring him/her home.

You must be clear about what your dog is and is not permitted to do. Is it acceptable to sleep in your own bed? Is it okay for your dog to curl up on the couch? Are there any areas of the house that are off-limits? You can avoid confusion and indecision after your new furbaby arrives by understanding and mapping out your expectations.

Teach Your Pup to Come on Command

One of the first basic commands your furry friend will need to master is “Come!” Always use their name when making the command, and be sure to follow up with positive reinforcement such as praise or a tasty treat.

As your pet grows and learns, try getting them to 'come' in other situations, when their attention is elsewhere, and get them used to responding even if there's something more interesting than you grabbing their attention.

Be Quick with Treats & Praise as Rewards

To get your dog to respond well during training, always reward good behavior with positive reinforcement. Your pup lives to please you and appreciates being rewarded when they get it right, whether it's a pat on the head, belly rubs, a scratch in a favorite spot, a treat or a toy.

Puppy-Proof Your Home

Just as you would child-proof your home to keep your children safe, you will need to puppy-proof your home to keep your new furbaby safe (and to keep your prized possessions safe). When your dog is not being directly supervised, provide him with a safe and comfortable place to stay. A dog crate or pen is an excellent place for your pup to unwind and play with safe dog-friendly toys.

Know a Teaching Moment When You See One

Just as you want to reward good behavior, you want to recognize teaching moments as they happen. Seasoned dog owners will tell you that pups live in the moment and need lots of repetition.

If you are going to enforce a rule or teach a lesson, you must do so immediately after they do the deed. Dogs do not dwell on the past; they forget what they did a few minutes later, so they will be truly confused and unable to make the association between their actions and corrections or training techniques unless they are done immediately. The best puppy training results come from quick, consistent repetition.

Note: Dogs Do Whatever Makes them Feel Safe or Happy

A common mistake made by many dog owners is attributing human emotions to their canine companions. We understand that you love your dog and that your furbaby feels like a member of the family, but remember - your pup is not human.

Dogs aren't vengeful creatures out to annoy or upset you; they simply do whatever makes them feel happy or safe at the time, which can result in both good and bad behavior. When your dog misbehaves, remember that it wasn't planned and respond to the behavior right away. Your dog lives in the present moment, and so should you when dog training.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Our Clarksville vets provide guidance, advice, and the highest quality of veterinary care during your puppy's critical first year of life. Contact us for more information about caring for your new pet..