No one ever said that getting a dog was easy. Or if they did, well, they were totally lying. Puppies, in general, are a lot of work, they're similar to babies that way. That's why it's called raising – you're putting in the time and effort to teach them how to behave. Once your dog starts learning new skills and develops their own personality traits, however, that's definitely a reward on its own. It also develops your bond even further and helps create a love between you and the pup. In the training stages, there are plenty of cheat methods that can make the entire process easier. Read up on the process of training your pup and implement these best practices for a way to best integrate your pup into its new home, and into acting as a well-behaved dog... with as few hiccups as possible along the way. These 12 dog training hacks will definitely make your life easier.
12 Listen To Your Dog And Their Behavior
Don't just do what your dog needs. Pay attention to how they act and what they're telling you needs to be done. They'll develop tricks that let you know when they need to go to the bathroom, when they want affection, when they're hungry, etc. You can fulfill those needs easily instead of guessing. This is your dog's way of communicating with you, so paying attention to those cues will make the whole training process easier for both you and your dog.
11 Be Affectionate
As in, a lot. Give your puppy tons of affection... and then some. Dogs are used to being around their mother and siblings 24 hours a day and often times the father as well. They've been taken from the life they know and love and brought to a stranger's house. Dogs bond quickly and generally enjoy positive attention. But this means it's time to dole out as much of that affection as possible. This will help them better adapt to their new surroundings, and to you.
10 Be Consistent
Just like raising kids, raising a dog is all about consistency. You need to implement the same rules, the same reactions, and the same routines. This will help your dog learn how to behave and how to respond to you, too. It will mean regular habits that you can learn to expect from your pup and vice versa. The hard part? Sticking to these routines even when you're tired. No matter what the day might have thrown at you, you have to stay consistent in order to teach your dog what's expected of them.
9 Don't Expect Too Much
Dogs take time to learn. They're still young and are prone to having accidents. And that's totally okay. Don't get super upset when this happens, just remember that your dog is young and needs time. Don't punish your dog, that will only result in stress and they're going to get scared when they do something wrong, and no one wants that. Focus on having positive interactions and realistic goals. This will keep you from being disappointed.
8 Reward, Don't Bribe
There's a huge difference between the two. Rewarding is a good way to teach healthy habits, while bribing is teaching your dog to be and act badly and then get a treat for their manipulation (that you taught them through bribes -- it's a cycle!). Making this distinction early on can break your entire training process. Be sure that you and whoever else is doling out any rewards are on the same page and treating the dog accordingly. This simple adjustment can make all of the behavioral difference in years to come.
7 Let Them Earn Their Freedom
Dogs feel safe and secure in their crate. They shouldn't be left inside it all of the time, or even a majority of it, but you shouldn't feel bad about having a young dog sleep or spend a little bit of time enjoying their own space. Letting them have their run of the house is something that can take place later on. Use it as a way to upgrade them as they learn and grow. It will also mean they're better adapted to behave within that larger space, whether that's a room or your entire house.
6 Get Outside
The more time your dog is able to spend outdoors, the more energy they can burn. Playing and exploring is what puppies love. There's plenty of time to do this inside, while outside time can mean new smells, learning to potty train, and learning how to stay on a leash or go on walks. All of this behavior and more teaches your dog to have fun and enjoy being outdoors. Besides, it will also make them more tired once they do come inside, which means they'll sleep longer and harder throughout the night, and with every nap.
5 Sitting, Laying Down, Not Jumping
From day one, you should decide the importance of how polite your dog is. If you want them to sit when guests arrive, or that jumping and/or barking is an absolute no-no, it's up to you to instill this behavior. That means actually teaching them, of course. And while most dogs can sit, you have to let them know when you expect them to sit, and for how long. Use your tone of voice and hand gestures to drive this point home. Through rewards and positive feedback, you'll make sure that this learned trait actually sticks.
4 Teach Them To Be On A Leash
While a dog on a leash is a common sight, it's not something they come by instinctually. Dogs have to be taught what a leash is and what it does. Start by taking them on small walks, or by using the restroom while on a leash. Your dog will understand their space restriction and how far they can roam. Soon they will properly behave themselves on a leash and even look forward to the times they get to use them, knowing it's a sign of playtime and exploring new things.
3 Teach Them To Leave Things Alone
With so many new smells and temptations, your puppy will have a hard time keeping their nose to themselves. Maybe even their teeth, too. A good way to get past this stage is by helping them realize that there's more to going on a walk (or staying inside) than getting into what's available. Teach them to leave such things alone for an easier go once they're bigger and stronger, and can actually pull themselves from you and take on their own agenda. Learning young can help ensure this nightmare situation won't take place.
2 Make Time For Play Time
Believe it or not, dogs need to learn to play. While they will naturally want to run and chase things that squeak, they need to learn how to play appropriately. You'll need to give time and attention to this process. Teach them to fetch and bring back toys, and show them it's ok to get rowdy and wild … just not all of the time. This will lead to healthier exercise and a better understanding of your dog about what they should or shouldn't be doing at any given time. Overall, it's a method that will help them learn to relax.
1 Train Them For Night Time
For the first several weeks of their life, your dog will likely need to use the restroom at night. That's okay, it's simply part of being a puppy. But you should still teach them that night time is for sleeping. Even when bathroom breaks are taken, they're not for the same play or reward time that comes while potty training during the day. Do your business, and go back to sleep. Having a set routine from the beginning will teach your pup how to sleep at night. Which means you can also get a good night's sleep. Win-win.