Whether you've adopted from a shelter, a breeder, or somewhere in between, the joy of bringing a new pet into your home can feel like bringing a baby home from the hospital. Like babies, new pets can come with new responsibilities, like training them to fit in your environment. Some new pet owners do not realize this until they're stressed and dealing with a confused dog. The good news is that dog training does not have to be as stressful as you think! Check out these five ways to make it a breeze.
1. Make a Schedule
Remember that we're all creatures of habit, so setting aside 15 to 20 minutes every day (or at least on a regular schedule) can make all the difference. Making dog training a habit will help you and your new pet succeed, so pencil it into your schedule ahead of time and commit to making it a priority. If you are not able to commit to a regular schedule, try to involve other family or household members in the dog training so that a consistent regimen becomes part of the routine.
2. Prepare Mentally
You can not teach an old dog new tricks-unless you have the patience to keep at it! Proper dog training is a marathon, not a sprint, so make sure to prepare yourself mentally for the long haul. Try to remain calm, patient, and avoid showing signs of frustration, which your new pet may pick up. Do not forget to go slow and repeat commands until they get it right multiple times.
3. Have the Proper Equipment
Talk with a trainer about what tools are available to you as you begin creating new habits with your pup. Chances are, the trainer will want you to work separately without the pet so that you're able to build a bond that is not reliant on outside help.
4. Manage Your Expectations
Remember that canines vary in intelligence and temperament, especially when it comes to the wide spectrum of breeds available. Make sure you set realistic expectations for your dog training based on breed traits, as it will be harder to teach a Chihuahua herding commands than it would be a Shepard.
5. Give Immediate Positive Feedback and Rewards
We all do better with positive feedback, and animals are no different. Make sure you offer rewards or treats immediately after a job well done so that the animal learns right away which habits are good and which offer no rewards. This will help them learn faster and easier-besides, who does not love treats?
Teaching your new family member how to get along in their new environment can feel like a monumental task, full of frustration and stress, but it does not have to be that way. Practice patience, positive reinforcement, and consistency, and your new best friend will fit into the family in no time.