You can teach your dog to do many different things, but there are a few general guidelines that will help make sure your training goes well. The American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Director Mary Burch offers the top tips for effectively training your four-legged friend:
- Do reward behaviors you like. Observe carefully when training your dog and reward the behaviors that you’d like him to continue. Treats, toys, and your attention are great rewards and can eventually be phased out and replaced with praise.
- Do manage the environment. When training your dog, managing his environment will help him succeed and not do something that you don’t like. If you keep your shoes in the closet, your dog can’t make a snack out of them.
- Don’t reinforce behaviors you don’t like. Reinforcing behaviors you don’t like is very common, and you might not even realize you’re doing it. Petting and playing with a puppy that jumps on you when you enter the room will more likely than not ensure that he’ll continue jumping on people because you’re giving him the attention he wants. Instead, wait until he’s not jumping on you to pet him.
- Don’t forget about exercise. Exercise plays a critical role in preventing many behavior problems. Exercise also helps to relax your dog so he can pay more attention to you during training.