Training a Dog in the New Year

The idea of training a dog can be daunting. With the beginning of a new year always comes big plans and resolutions of how to make the next year better. Having a better trained dog is an easy resolution to stick to if it’s broken down into small steps. The first step begins at home! Many people have dogs who bark and jump on them when they come home. In the dog’s eyes, they are excited to see you and want to say hello. This can be difficult to manage when walking in the door trying to juggle an armload of groceries and the dog is jumping up on you. So how do we fix this?

Creating a calm atmosphere can make a big difference when training a dog. When walking in the door, ignore the dog until he’s calm and is no longer barking or jumping. Ask him to sit, and then you can pet him. This teaches him that he only gets pet when he’s calm. Over time, he’ll calm down more quickly because he’ll know what’s expected of him. If you use a crate for the dog while you’re away, you can take your time to allow him to calm down before you let him out. Again, ask him to sit before petting him.

Guests can bring a new level of excitement and a new set of challenges when training a dog. It can be embarrassing when your dog is barking and jumping on your friends. We can use visits from guests as training exercises. If your dog gets really excited, have the guests call when they pull up to the house. This will give you time to attach a leash to the dog’s collar and unlock the door. A leash is a good tool to use, even in the house, to give you more control of the dog. Have them ring the doorbell and ask the dog to sit beside you approximately ten feet from the door. Call out for the guests to come in and allow them to enter the house while you stay put. Keep the dog sitting, putting him back into the sit position if needed. Don’t allow the guests to acknowledge the dog until he is sitting and calm. If he tries to jump up on them, ask them to back up and have him sit again. This exercise will help reinforce the idea that being calm is what is expected every time someone enters your home. Hopefully these tips will make training a dog a little less intimidating.

This month, all training items are 20% off in The Silver Collar Pet Boutique. Here are some helpful training tools:

– Sturdy leash & collar that give you the most control over your dog; when a collar is fitted properly, you should be able to fit two fingers between the collar and your dog’s neck. For training, you want to use a short leash (not retractable).

– Crate/kennel; some people mistakenly get a crate that’s too large for the dog. The crate should be big enough for the dog to stand up and turn around; any larger and it can encourage the dog to go to the bathroom in their crate.

– Enrichment toys: Nylabones for heavy chewers; Tug-a-Jug or Twist-n-Treat are toys that engage the dog’s mind. They have to figure out how to work the toy to get the treats contained.

Resources:

– Elizabeth Schonberg: private lessons, (504)738-2353

– Robert Miner: private lessons & group classes held at Metairie Small Animal Hospital, robertminer78@yahoo.com or 504-638-3212

– ASPCA Virtual Pet Behaviorist: Teaching your Dog not to Jump up on People

Blog Category: