Here are a few training tips for a new dog. Bringing a new dog into your home can be an amazing time, where you and this furry friend get to know each other, walk together, play, and bond. Many times, it’s an easy process with no problems. But sometimes it can get really difficult really quickly, like when your new dog raids the garbage, chews your new shoes or marks the couch.
Dogs can have a variety of reactions to a new environment. Some can ease into things and be relaxed and comfortable. Some dogs get anxious when their settings and people change.
To head off any potential problems, start with set rules and structure for your new dog. Dogs thrive with structure and guidance, so to start your relationship with your new dog on the right foot by letting him or her know the rules and that those rules are non-negotiable. This will give your dog a much more secure, comfortable feeling about you than a bag of treats and a ton of belly rubs. Relationships are built over time, and you can’t buy your dog’s respect with affection, so relax and don’t rush
New Dog Training Tips!
1 – Limit how much affection you share for a bit. Not the complete absence of affection, and not for weeks and weeks. To a dog, affection without rules indicates a level of softness that does not make the dog comfortable in you as a leader. Sharing love, treats, and petting does not tell the dog that when a problem comes up, you will handle it. In fact, sharing affection without the rules and structure to back it up tells the dog you are in fact weak, and the dog may feel he or she needs to be in charge. The best way to show your love is to be a strong leader.
2 – Crate your dog when not supervised. Crating is not harmful to a dog. It is, in fact the opposite. Crating keeps a dog from getting into things that he shouldn’t and either ingesting or destroying/damaging them. Crating offers a dog structure and security from the overwhelming whirlwind of new people, places, smells, and sights in your home.
3 – Use place command to include your dog in regular activities. Place is a fairly simple command to train, and you can use any kind of object for the dog to do place on. A dog bed, a small blanket, even a bath mat will work. Have the dog on place while the family goes about its business or watches a movie. Be sure to leave the dog alone when he is on place, as your dog is working hard to obey your command and distractions can lend to mistakes and breaking commands. Click here for a video of how I teach place command.
4 – Prior to any activities, take your new dog out to potty, same place, same times each day. It’s always best to give your dog that potty break before engaging in play or any activity where the excitement might cause an accident.
5 – Practice thresholds. This is a super simple way to get your dog to look to you for guidance. Stop or pause at the entry/exit to your home, gates in/out of the yard, crate door, etc. The dog needs to stop and wait with you. This will tone down the excitement of going in and out, plus it can help prevent issues like dogs darting out open doors. Click here to see a video of how I train thresholds.
6 – Have your dog or pup wear a short leash indoors so that you can give guidance when necessary. If your new dog is getting into something inappropriate, climbing on some furniture when he’s not supposed to, or maybe sniffing around the garbage can, it’s good to have a leash to help direct your dog away. It can be extremely dangerous to grab a dog by the collar (keep in mind this is a new dog that you don’t know very well yet), so use the leash to keep safe.
7 – Limit your dog’s access to home for a bit (a week or two). Your new dog can use that time to smell, hear, and see things in your home without having to actually be allowed to roam through it. This will help your dog get used to the new place without being put in a situation that might make the dog anxious. By the time the dog is allowed in the whole home, he will feel much more comfortable because he’s been around all the smells and noises it for a week or so.
8 – Limit your new dog from meeting other dogs in the household for a few days. If you have other dogs, start by letting them see and smell each other from a distance. Perhaps the new dog is in the crate, and you have your other dog(s) nearby. Avoid allowing your dog(s) to get very close to the crate at first, because that can cause your new dog to feel uncomfortable or threatened. You can also have multiple dogs on place…this allows the dogs to get to know each other from a good distance as well, plus it reinforces the idea that you are the leader in the household.
9 – If your dog seems anxious or fearful, do not console him or her by rubbing, petting, or cuddling the dog. Dogs are often be anxious in new environment. The dog may whine, act afraid, shake, etc. Don’t pet or console dog in that state. There is a saying about dogs, “what you pet is what you get.” This is such a true statement. Petting is a reward for a dog. If you reward a dog in an anxious state, it is only natural the dog does more of what got him the petting.
10 – Correct unacceptable behavior the first time you see it. This sets the tone for your leadership and for what is allowed in your home. Whether you use a bonker, pet convincer, or leash pop, correct your dog. Sometimes we fall into the trap of “if I ignore it, it will stop.” This is not a successful strategy and will only cause more stress later when the activity doesn’t stop, and you get frustrated. Make it a priority to correct the first time.
11 – Make your walk a structured walk. Use the 80/20 rule, with 80% of the time walking with your dog beside you, no pulling, sniffing, or marking allowed. The other 20% of the time allow your dog to break for potty time or sniffy stuff. This is another leadership building opportunity for you with your dog!
12 – Include your dog with you and your activities. The greatest reward for a dog is to be included in day-to-day activities with you. However, your dog doesn’t need to be “in your pocket” to enjoy being around you. He only needs to be well mannered and follow your commands. Just being on his place bed beside the couch while you watch a movie, or in a quiet down-stay while you drink coffee at Starbucks, will enable your new dog to really enjoy being around you. But if your dog isn’t able to do those things – hold place command at home or a down-stay at the coffee shop, there will be many limits on how much your dog can do with you.
So while it may seem to be more work than you thought at first, putting in the effort to train and hold your new dog accountable at the beginning of your relationship will pay off in a few short weeks!
Good luck and enjoy your new dog!
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