Welcoming a new dog into the family is exciting for everyone, but it is also important to teach our new family members how things work in their new home. Puppies are not magically housetrained, or potty trained, when they find their forever home, and older dogs sometimes need refreshers when going into a new home. All are teachable, regardless of age, and if you are not able to send your pet to a professional trainer, there are things you can do to teach them the basics. Below are some tips and references to help you get started. Just remember, patience is key!
Start with Housetraining
Housetraining should begin as soon as you bring home your new fur baby. Keep in mind, puppies in general are unable to control their bladders until 12 weeks of age, so if your puppy is younger than that you will need extra patience.
Routines are important for dogs of any age. Set a schedule by trying to take your dog out at the same time in the morning and at other parts of the day. Soon after regularly scheduled meals, take your dog outside to use the restroom.
As they begin to get used to the idea of going to the bathroom outside, look for signs of them letting you know they need to go! Some signs are obvious, such as sniffing, circling, and pacing. Sometimes they go towards the door to outside and sniff it to let you know they have to use the bathroom. Follow their lead and take them outside immediately.
The Spruce Pets has some great guidance for housetraining your puppy, and here is some additional information to help housetrain an older dog.
Going for walks together should be enjoyable and fun for both of you. While leash training may seem easier for puppies, it’s not impossible for older dogs as well. Again, having a walking routine, rewarding good behavior, and patience are all key to leash training as well. We found some great tips from making sure you have the proper equipment to getting your fur baby to happily walk on a loose leash.
Essential Commands: Sit, Stay, Come, Leave It…
Teaching your dog essential commands will help give your dog structure and will also help you manage a variety of behavioral problems. Just like housetraining and teaching them how to walk on a leash, these commands can be taught to dogs of any age. “Stay” is important to teach your dog impulse control – this is important to keep them from running out of open doors or running into harms way.
Certain commands such as “leave it!” and “come!” are also very important for your dog’s safety. “Leave it!” could prevent your dog from eating something that could potentially harm them, and “come!” could prevent him/her from straying or running off.
We found this list of 5 Essential Commands that give you step-by-step instructions on how to teach your pup the basics.
Training your dog is not a quick, overnight task but just like anything important it will be worth your while. Have patience and remember, this will also strengthen the bond between you and your fur baby.