January is Dog Training Month and because of that we wanted to talk a little bit about the things that pet parents can do to train their dogs to be the best dogs they can be! Whether you’re training a dog to run agility, work in hospitals as therapy dogs, or to “sit” “stay” and “come” when you ask them to, training our dogs is an ideal way to deepen our bond with them.
Training your dog begins the day you bring him home -- whether he’s a puppy or a full-grown dog you adopted from a rescue or shelter. Our dogs love to please us and because of that they like to be trained and to learn what we want them to know. Sure, some breeds are a bit more stubborn and will challenge us when we train them, but that just means we get to spend more time with them, teaching them tricks, basic manners or whatever a pet parent wants to teach them.
Training tips for dog owners
- Basic commands like sit, stay, come or heel when walking on a leash can be easily taught through positive reinforcement training. When you teach a dog to sit, for example, grab a treat, stand in front of your dog and put the treat by her nose. Lift the treat until her butt naturally hits the ground. When she is sitting, praise her and give her a treat. Say the word, “sit” or use a hand signal to reinforce the sit command until she does it without your putting the treat by her nose. Many basic training commands will follow after you teach sit. When you’re training, positive reinforcement trainers urge you to “train the good behavior” and “ignore the bad.” If your dog does something you don’t want her to do, or if she won’t sit or come, ignore the fact that she hasn’t done what you wanted, and reward her when she does what you wanted. Dogs learn more through praise than they do through other methods.
- If your dog has separation anxiety, you can “train” her to not be so anxious when you leave the house. The way you train her to not suffer such drastic separation anxiety, you can start by leaving her for short periods of time, then working up to longer times for her to be home alone. When you leave her home alone, don’t make a big deal of it. Simply give her a loving pat on the head, then leave. When you come home, don’t make a fuss and don’t feed into her exuberant welcome. When she is calm, pet her and give her a treat as a reward.
- Damaging the home. This is something we know a lot about -- after all, it was a rescue dog, Foster, who was the inspiration for CLAWGUARD! If your dog is scratching the door when you leave, or even if you’re home, you can use a CLAWGUARD door shield to prevent damage to the home. You can also hang the door shield and when your dog starts to scratch, use positive reinforcement to lure him away from the door and to stop scratching. Once you’ve redirected his behavior to one that’s more acceptable, give him a treat and praise him. Our door shields also have a bit of a “built in” positive reinforcement training in its design -- you can choose the smooth side of the shield or you can use the ridged side. This ridged side will make a “zip zip” noise when your dog scratches it; he may not like the sound, nor the feeling on his claws and paws and this will help “train him” to stop scratching.
Our dogs are part of our family and as pet parents we want our dogs to be happy, healthy and well-behaved and positive reinforcement training can help do just that. What will you train your dog to do during National Dog Training Month?
CLAWGUARD builds shields that help protect homes from damage caused by dogs and cats. Products include door shields, couch guards, and universal protective tape that protects commonly scratched areas like window sills, furniture, banisters, weatherstripping and more. Check us out on Amazon and read our many FIVE STAR reviews!
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