First and foremost it is very important not to be too relaxed when bringing home a new puppy or an older dog as your new pet and family member.
It’s very important to get them used to their new environment. With my 30 years of experience taught to me by my father as was done by his father as well, I always started out introducing my new pet to each room of our house at about 4 months old. Have then on a leach and walk them into each room getting them familiar with the surroundings and the smell. Talk to them, tell them where they are, or what room they are in. If you incorporate this little step with-in two-three months they will be able to go to any room in the house you mention. This could be a life-saving moment for someone. Don’t discount it.
Example: There are 11 rooms in my home and I have 4 dogs and each one knows each room by name. They also know where they should stay most of the time when in the house.
I am listing in the training section of the site rules and techniques I have followed for years. These methods have worked extremely well for many neighbors and friends who asked for guidance and this is one of the reasoning for me doing this website. 15-20 minutes each day for the first month and 15 minutes 3 times a week afterward should have your pet well-trained as your new family member. Just think of them as your young child, say 3-4 years old, and teaching them what and what not to do.
My Most Important Training Tips
Choose your dog’s name wisely and be respectful of it. Of course, you’ll want to pick a name for your new puppy or dog that you love, but for the purposes of training, it also helps to consider a short name ending with a strong consonant. This allows you to say his name so that he can always hear it clearly.
If he’s an older dog, he’s probably used to his name if you know what it is, however, giving them a new one isn’t out of the question. If they are from an animal shelter, they will tell you they have a temporary name assigned to them by staff. If they are from a breeder, depending on the age of the puppy, they come to you with a long name, which you may want to shorten or change. And if he’s coming out of an abusive situation, a new name may represent a fresh start. If this was the case, you will need to be extra patient and careful with gestures and commands, especially obedience training. Dogs are extremely adaptable. Use their name as often as possible and in a very short period of time, they’ll be responding to their name.
New name or old, as much as possible, associate it with pleasant, fun things, rather than negative. The goal is for him to think of his name the same way he thinks of other great stuff in his life, like “cookie,” “treat”, “bone”, “outside”, ” where’s your bone?”, “supper” or “take a walk”, etc.
I am adding this as only as a preference, not a rule. Since money is not an issue, all my dogs have come from well-known breeders. I’m a Shepard lover all my life along with loving Golden Retrievers because of their extremely good nature and fast learning IQ. So, if you can, go find a breeder, if not, don’t worry, you’ll be fine. Just take your time finding your new best friend and if from a shelter, pick one with a good reputation.
Decide on the “house rules.” Before he comes home, decide what he can and can’t do. Is he allowed on the bed or the furniture? My house that’s a big NO. Are parts of the house off-limits? Will he have his own chair at your dining table? That sounds ok to most, but not preferred. If the rules are settled early, you can avoid confusion for both of you.
Set up his private den. He needs “a room of his own.” From the earliest possible moment give your pup or dog his own, private sleeping place that’s not used by anyone else in the family, or another pet. He’ll benefit from short periods left alone in the comfort and safety of his den. Reward him if he remains relaxed and quiet. His den, which is often a crate (not the boxed one), will also be a valuable tool for house-training.
Help him relax when he comes home. When your puppy gets home, give him a warm hot water bottle and put a ticking clock near his sleeping area. This imitates the heat and heartbeat of his litter-mates and will soothe him in his new environment. This may be even more important for a new dog from a busy, loud shelter who’s had a rough time early on. Whatever you can do to help him get comfortable in his new home will be good for both of you.
Teach him to come when called. Now, all trainers I know, everyone really, uses the word “Come” Golden! Good boy, Good boy, plus a treat in the beginning. (I use small snack tidbits nothing expensive) Teaching him to come is the command to be mastered first. Its a must. Once accomplished, drop the “Come” and call by name only. When he does, make a big deal using positive reinforcement. Then try it when he’s busy with something interesting. You’ll really see the benefits of perfecting this command early as he gets older. Since he’ll be coming to you because you’re the one doing the training, your alpha status will be reinforced.
What I first teach and progression.
- come and they sit in front of me
- come and if I tap my right leg, he’ll come and sit at my right side.
- stay, sitting in front of you. Do this in progression. Standing in front of him wait 5 seconds, good bo, good boy, treat. (repeat 5 times) Stay, walk away 15 feet in front of him, now 30 sec. Come, he sits, good boy, good boy while patting him, treat.
- keep doing longer times until he won’t budge until given the command.
Use the same process for staying in one place (can be lying down position).
If I through a special treat at my dogs (in front a must), they will not touch it until I snap my fingers. I do up to 30 sec.
Reward his good behavior every time, even when training is all over 2, 3, 5 years. Reward your puppy or dog’s good behavior with positive reinforcement. Use treats, toys, love, or heaps of praise. Let him know when’s he’s getting it right. Likewise, never reward bad behavior, it’ll only confuse him.
Take care of the jump up. Puppies love to jump up in greeting. Don’t reprimand him, just ignore his behavior and wait ’til he settles down before giving positive reinforcement, a no or two. Never encourage jumping behavior by patting or praising your dog when he’s in a “jumping up” position. Turn your back on him and pay him no attention. This is very important especially when visitors come over.
Teach him on “dog time.” Puppies and dogs live in the moment. Two minutes after they’ve done something, it’s forgotten about. When he’s doing something bad, try your chosen training technique right away so he has a chance to make the association between the behavior and the correction. Consistent repetition will reinforce what’s he’s learned.
Discourage him from biting or nipping. Instead of scolding him, a great way to put off your mouthy canine is to pretend that you’re in great pain when he’s biting or nipping you. He’ll be so surprised he’s likely to stop immediately. If this doesn’t work, try trading a chew toy for your hand or pant leg. The swap trick also works when he’s into your favorite shoes. He’ll prefer a toy or bone anyway. If all else fails, break up the biting behavior, and then just ignore him.
End training sessions on a positive note. Excellent boy! Good job, Jumper! He’s worked hard to please you throughout the training. Leave him with lots of praise, a treat, some petting, or five minutes of play. This guarantees he’ll show up at his next class with his tail wagging—ready to work!
I do not agree with the methods of hitting a dog with a newspaper under any circumstances. You’re raising a weapon to him and hitting him, especially so with an older new dog. You do not know what the previous did or how they trained him. You could have a friend doing something irrelevant with something in their hand and the dog has a bad memory and possibly bits your guest. I have seen this happen on two occasions with a dog from a shelter and a dog given by another friend.
So, if I need to be a little firm, I just give a firm, not hard open-hand slap on the shoulder with 3 no’s pointing my finger at him. And reaffirming not to do that.
P.S. No treats. ha ha.
I am listing here 2 very well known training guides for dogs by professional dog trainers in their own right. I have read, listened, and watched how they train dogs.
Dan Stephens, I meet at a dog show in Arizona and knows his business. Adrienne Farricelli is a professional CPDT-KA certified dog trainer, who has concentrated her efforts in the last 10 years on helping people to eliminate bad behaviors in their dogs.
I have purchased 4 of Dan’s books and information as gifts for friends and six of Adrienne’s as well. Choose which one fits your particular situation and do recommend you take a look.
If you have any questions on a topic, please do not hesitate to ask and post in the comments on the topics page.