Top Tips for Training Your Dog | Pets
(Welcome to our pet column, courtesy of Pet Connection Programs Inc. of Marilla. We post a new article each week, so be sure to check back on a regular basis!)
Sit. Stay. Heel. These simple commands can make a huge difference in the life of a pet parent. Whether you're introducing a new dog or puppy to the family, or you have a dog with some behavior issues, training can help ensure a well-adjusted pet and a happier family.
According to the American Kennel Club, dog training can:
• Help your dog become a welcome member of the family and the neighborhood.
• Correct behaviors such as jumping on people, digging, chewing and barking.
• Provide mental and physical activities for your dog.
• Deepen the bond between you and your dog.
• Ensure your dog's happiness and safety.
Training You Can Do at Home
Beyond teaching the basics of sitting and staying, training can include correcting behaviors. One common dog behavior that often needs correcting is jumping on people. “Dogs are sociable animals and often sniff muzzles when they greet each other,” said Debbie McKnight, training expert for PetSmart. “A dog that jumps on someone to greet them is often trying to make contact with the person's face. It's important to teach them an acceptable alternative for these social situations.”
Teaching your dog to sit first and then allow interaction can be a good solution. Here are helpful tips on how to make your pet a great greeter:
• Have everyone that interacts with your dog ask him to sit as he approaches them.
• If he sits, they can bend down to greet him.
• If he jumps up, they stand up immediately, fold their arms and stare at the ceiling, repeating the signal to sit.
• As soon as he sits, reward him by continuing with the greeting.
It's important to reward your pet so they are constantly being reminded of how to behave. At PetSmart, trainers offer treats and verbal applause to dogs after a job well done. At home pet parents can use treats or fun toys as a reward to encourage positive behavior.
Take Your Dog to School
Professional training classes are beneficial for many dogs and are available for several different levels, from basic classes that can help them socialize properly, to more advanced classes that can keep them safe and correct behaviors. At PetSmart, local store trainers work with you and your dog for six weeks, teaching techniques for you to practice at home. Goals for each level of training are different and are set by the pet owner based on what they learn in class. For example:
Beginner dog goals may include:
• Not jumping on people
• Loose leash walk around the block
Intermediate dog goals may include:
• Three-minute down-stay
• Heeling down the block
Advanced dog goals may include:
• Heeling through a crowd
• “Go to your bed” when the doorbell rings
• Coming when called at the dog park
Professional training is a complement to what you do at home, and practice is important at all levels. As a dog progresses through training, pet parents should make the behaviors they ask for harder during everyday practice. So rather than a basic sit before his meal, for example, try a sit-stay command for 15 seconds from 10 feet away.
To learn more about training programs, and to find a program near you, visit www.petsmart.com/training.
— Family Features
(For more information on pets and animal adoption, please visit www.petconnectionprogramsinc.com. Or, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Pet-Connection-Programs-inc-Marilla-NY/114420508616511. Located in Marilla, N.Y., Pet Connection Programs Inc. is a nonprofit maternity and special care shelter founded in 1984.)