Most people think of puppies when they think of dog training, but dogs of all ages can learn new skills. Many adult dogs are easier to train than puppies due to their self-control. Training older dogs will keep their minds sharp and offer structure to their lives.
That said, although many of the tips below may be used to train puppies, dogs in their prime may also benefit from them.
Utilize a Crate When Training at Home
Among the advantages of crate training is that it can be used when you’re training your dog new tricks.
If you have a puppy, you’ll use the crate to keep your pet safe and secure in one place while you’re teaching it what to do until it understands the task and is able to focus for a full 30 minutes to an hour.
If you’re training an adult dog, you can use the crate to help restrain it and use the device’s security to help curb its overactive behavior — a problem that many adult dogs have.
Use a Treat as a Reward
Many trainers use treats as a reward when teaching tricks. Cats and dogs are drawn to treats, and using them as a reward during training can keep your pet interested and focused on the lesson.
Plus, using treats to reward good behavior during training is a great way to solidify the behavior. Once the bad behavior is gone, it can make it easier to teach your pet new tricks because your dog will be more receptive to new ideas.
Start Off With a Behavior That is Easy and Has an Immediate Positive Impact
A good trick to start off with during training is an easy trick that has an immediate positive impact on the dog and its owner.
A simple trick, like sitting or lying down, is easy to teach, and the trick can have a day-to-day impact on the dog’s life. Your pet will automatically sit or lie down for things like being fed, going for a walk, and playing with its favorite toys.
Learn Some Tricks Yourself
Learning some of the tricks yourself is a great way to get your pet thinking.
Not every trainer can do this, but if you can, and you’re in a class teaching your pet tricks, learn a trick or two yourself, so your pet can see what you’re doing and imitate it.
Use Positive Reinforcement as Much as Possible
Always use positive reinforcement when training your dog or puppy. Make sure you never punish or scold your pet if it makes a mistake. Instead, if your dog or puppy does something wrong, don’t reward it for that behavior, and try to redirect the pet to the right behavior.
Telling your pet that it’s doing a good job when it’s doing what you want is a great way to encourage it to do the right thing the next time.
Training your dog, no matter what its age, is an excellent way to ensure that the pet is well-behaved and set up for success.
As long as you stick with a good training program and don’t give up on your dog, you’ll be able to teach your pet some new tricks that will leave your neighbors in awe.
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