Congratulations! You have a new four-pawed, furry addition to your family. Whether you now have a little one with puppy breath or an older, rescued dog so grateful for being given a second chance in life, the joy of having a new canine companion can quickly give way to frustration at the first potty accident or destruction of your favorite pair of shoes (or worse!). Training for your dog (and you!) is the key ingredient for a happy life together.
Training your dog is 90 percent about training you -- the owner. Your canine companion needs to learn a routine and a few basic commands and then see you consistently carry them out daily. You can teach an old dog or a puppy new tricks, but the biggest trick is to train yourself and others in the household.
Here are a few tips:
1. Never delay or skip the potty routine -- In the mornings, don't delay getting out of bed and taking your dog outside to do his business. You hold the key to fewer potty accidents in the house. Yelling and scolding rarely communicates anything other than fear or dread, but consistent trips outside and praise when your dog urinates and eliminates outside can work wonders!
2. Go to school -- Local pet stores often offer training classes for dogs and their owners. Invest the time to teach your dog how to walk on aleash properly and to obey basic safety commands, such as sit, stay, down and come. These commands will not only improve the quality of life for you and your dog around the house, they could save her life. Imagine if your dog got away from you one day and ran close to traffic; obedience to the commands sit, stay or come could prevent tragedy.
3. Get up and move -- A proper amount of exercise each day for your dog's age and health situation contributes to a happier, calmer canine and owner. Help your dog channel his natural energies in a productive way by taking him for a long walk or playing with him in the park. Even a game of fetch in the backyard or family room (depending on the size of space and dog!) is a great way to bond and let your dog release some of the energy built up staying in his crate or room while you were away. This can also be a fun time to practice the basic commands and keep them fresh in your dog's mind.
Consistency, routine and a healthy heaping of love -- these are the ingredients for a happy life with your new furry friend.