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Dog Training 101 – How to Train Your Dog

untrained puppy trashing the house

For new puppy parents, training can seem daunting. The task is even more overwhelming if it is your very first dog. Do not be fooled, the truth is training your pup is not a small feat. It is a big project and will require you to put in time and effort. It is also highly rewarding and will make your dog happier and more well-behaved.

It is super important to start the socialization and training process for your puppy as early as possible for best results. In addition to proper exercise and nutrition, training and socialization are among some of your dog’s basic needs.

If you are ready to begin the training process, but you are unsure where to begin, read on for a full guide on how to get started. It is a big task, but it can be a fun process too. Make sure you have plenty of treats on hand! We recommend Zuke’s Natural Training Dog Treats to use as positive reinforcement during this process.

How to Socialize Your Puppy

puppy meeting a cat

Socialization is a vital thing for your dog to learn. You will want to train your pup to accept new situations by exposing him to new people, animals, and places early on. When dogs have been socialized, they learn to be more welcoming to others and will be less likely to develop behavior issues.

Socialization is also a great tool to help prevent him from developing anxiety and phobias. Socialization is a win-win for you and your pup. It will make him happier, and it will make him more well-behaved, which will make you a happier pet owner.

Make sure you purchase a sturdy, no pull harness and leash. It’ll make handling your dog easier as you’re socializing your dog.

How to Potty Train a Puppy

dog using a humans toilet

One of the very first things you will need to do is house train your pup. Your new puppy will obviously not come equipped with the knowledge of where you want him to use the bathroom. Potty training your pup early on will mitigate a lot of accidents down the road.

Housetraining, although not a very complicated concept, can be tricky. It is important to remain both consistent and diligent when you are potty training your pup. If, after you have gone through the housebreaking process and your dog is still having accidents, it is a sign that it might be more than a potty-training problem. Your dog might urinate if he is excited, or as a way to express submissive behavior.

If your dog has an accident, we recommend you clean the area with an enzyme activated cleaner that removes the stain and odor. Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator works well for any types of floors. This will prevent your dog from peeing in that same area again.

Dog Kennels and Dog Crates

Crate training or kennel training is a very useful tool in the dog training process. It is helpful to use a kennel or crate during housebreaking for one but is also a great training tool that can be used for multiple purposes. The key to crate training is to create a space that your puppy will accept and enjoy. This way, it is not only a training tool but also gives your pup a room of his own. You can order a crate on Amazon here.

Leash Training Your Dog

happy dog with a leash

There are many reasons for your pup to learn to use a leash. One reason is that a lot of places have leash laws. Additionally, there will always be certain situations where you will want to have your dog on a leash for his own safety, such as when you are walking your pup on a busy city street, or if you are in a situation where leaving him off the leash may result in him getting distracted by something and running off.

Leash training has two main steps. First, you will need to acclimate your pup to the leash. Once he is used to it, then you can teach him how to walk the right way while on the leash. Keep the leash loose when you walk to show your dog not to pull too hard while on the leash. This will make walking your dog on a leash a better time for both you and your furry friend.

Clicker Training Your Dog 

An easy to use, and highly effective way to train your dog is the clicker method. Clicker training acts as positive reinforcement. Clicker training can be used to teach your dog new commands and tricks. Many pet parents prefer using a clicker for training because it has been known for being quickly adopted by your dog, and easy to use. You can order a pet training clicker here.

Basic Commands and Fun Tricks

dog giving a high five

Whether you choose to use the clicker method or not, there are a few basic commands you will want to teach your pup. Basic commands are important because they provide your dog with structure. They prevent the development of behavior problems. They also keep your dog safe.

Basic commands are also a fun way to teach your dog new tricks. Tricks are not just entertaining for you and your friends; they also provide your dog with the mental stimulation he needs to grow into a healthy adult pup.

Proofing Behaviors

The final step in the process of teaching your dog a new behavior is proofing the behavior. The reason for proofing behaviors is to ensure your pup will be just as well-behaved in new situations, like when you take him to the park, or to someone else’s house, as he is at home.

To proof behaviors, you will want to practice the desired behavior in several different situations and locations that have varying levels and types of distractions. If you do not proof the behavior, you will find that your dog may be really well-behaved at home when it is just the family and the dog, but will act up as soon as he leaves the house, or as soon as a new person comes to visit.

Common Dog Behavior Problems

dog barking in nature

Learning about common dog behavior problems, such as excessive barking, accidents in unwanted places, or misbehaving in new situations,  will help you detect these issues as soon as they arise, and be able to do something about them before your dog’s behavior spirals out of control.

Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days available on Amazon here.

How to Train Specific Dog Breeds

Every dog is different. You may need to alter your training strategy for your pup depending on his age, breed, size, and history. Take some time to learn about your dog and you will be able to find ways to tailor the training program to get the best results for your dog.

Continue the Dog Training Process

happy dog smiling

So, your dog has learned the basics. What’s next? Once your pup has mastered the basic commands and potty training, you can move on to more advanced lessons designed to keep your pup’s activity and mental stimulation levels up. As a bonus, these activities will strengthen the bond you and your furry friend share.

You will never truly be done training your dog. Think of it as an ongoing part of your daily routine. In addition to teaching your pup new tricks, he will benefit from going over the basics from time to time to keep these commands going. Just like with humans, practice is the way to master something. If your puppy does really well, and masters a command, he will likely not remember it later on if he does not practice it regularly.

Even the most well-trained dogs will act out once in a while. Behavior problems can still arise in new situations, and if your dog is experiencing any type of anxiety. Read our article on Natural Anxiety Remedies for Dogs to find out more.

Sarah Nishimoto

The author Sarah Nishimoto

Sarah is not only a pet owner but loves animals of all shapes and sizes.

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