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How to Train Your Dog (Basic Tips for National Train Your Dog Month)

Did you know that January is “National Train Your Dog Month?” While we advocate dog training
year-round, we thought we’d take advantage of this special month to provide some basics on
how to train your dog. Have you ever met a dog that immediately jumps on you with no regard
for boundaries? Along the same lines, it’s extremely obvious (and pleasant) when you meet a
dog that has been trained to enjoy your company at a distance. The primary difference
between the two is training. Let’s talk about the basics.

  1. Stick with Basic Commands
    When first starting to train your dog, we suggest you keep things super basic. That means using
    commands that are one word only, which you use with the dog’s name. For instance, “Fido, sit.”
    Is incredibly clear to your dog (assuming its name is Fido!) and the simpler, the better.
    However, we recommend that you always use the dog’s name in the command.
  2. Start Simple
    There are 4 basic commands that all dogs should know; heel, sit, stay, and come. Let’s go over
    what these commands should mean.
    Heel – This command keeps your dog at your side by matching your walking pace. While
    leashed, you should reward your dog any time they keep your pace.
Training Dog

Sit – This command will encourage your dog to sit patiently. Simply holding a treat over your
dog’s head should encourage them to sit. If your dog isn’t getting the hint, you can lightly push
on their butt to get them into the sitting position.
Stay – This command will keep your dog in the sitting position where they should not move
until you’ve given the “Okay!” command. While your dog is sitting, keep your palm open and
towards them while saying “[Name], Stay.” Show them that they can break the command once
you say “Okay.” Start at a short distance between you and your dog and allow that distance to
grow as your dog becomes accustomed to the command.
Come – This command encourages your dog to come to you. To train this command, put your
dog in the sitting position with a leash on and extended. As you give the “come.” Command,
gently pull on the leash to encourage your dog to move toward you. As they begin to learn the
command, praise them with treats.

  1. Keep Your Training Sessions Short
    The average dog training session should be no longer than 10-15 minutes. Any longer than that
    and you risk frustrating your dog, which may cause them to avoid training in the future. Keep
    your training short and sweet.
  2. Train Multiple Times a Day

While training should be short, you should train 3-5 times a day. This will hammer home the
commands you’re trying to teach in short, comfortable bursts without frustrating your dog in
the process.

  1. Praise is Your Best Tool
    Avoid negative reactions even if your dog isn’t getting it at first. Dogs react best to positive
    reinforcement, which means you should give them treats and positive praise anytime they’re
    successful in their training.
    Of course, a healthy pet will react most strongly to training. Reach out to us today for
    a wellness exam and check-up for your dog!

Of course, a healthy pet will react most strongly to training. Reach out to us today for a wellness exam and check-up for your dog!