From the moment you bring home your new pet, training is one of the most important things you can do. Teaching your dog basic manners will give you more options for activities in which your dog can participate, build your relationship and enrich the lives of you and your dog. Learning should not be limited to a training class. Reinforcing your dog’s good behaviors throughout his everyday life will help keep your dog on his best behavior.
In recognition of the Association of Professional Dog Trainer’s National Train Your Dog Month® here are 7 ways to give your dog “real life” practice on minding his manners.
- Take your dog with you on shopping trips. Many stores allow dogs inside, but you should always call ahead to be sure. Once inside, you can practice leash manners, sitting politely or staying while you go about your daily business.
- Take your dog car rides. Even on short errands, practicing getting in and out of the car and may present opportunities for socialization.
- Practice sitting politely. No one wants their dog to be rude to guests. Barking, lunging and jumping are all behaviors that can happen with someone shows up at your door. When a friend, or even the mailman, visit it is a great time to practice sitting politely with your dog.
- Practice sit and down stays. Your dog wants to be with you, but there are times you need to get work done around the house. Teach your dog to relax and be quiet while you are watching TV, on the phone, cooking or eating.
- Practice stays. Take your dog along when you visit distracting environments, such as the park or when picking up your kids from school. Have your dog sit politely while watching people walking past you.
- Use the recall command. When you want your dog to eat his dinner, go outside or come back from barking at an outside distraction call his name. Doing so will train him to turn his attention to you if you’re out in a busier environment.
- Use all of your dog’s behaviors. Reward your dog for the behaviors you want him to practice. If your dog likes going for walks, make him sit for his leash to be put on. When he wants a treat or to play, practice sitting a behavior before you give him what he wants.
With a little effort on your part, you can make training a part of everyday life with your dog. Proper training, according to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, has been shown to be a key in keeping a dog in his forever home. For more training information and tips, visit the National Train Your Dog Month website.