Pet owner dog training their dog at home.

A well-trained dog is a joy to live with. He (or she) comes when you call, sits on command, and leaves forbidden objects in their proper places. Although they might occasionally test boundaries, deep down they realize it’s in their best interest to follow the rules. And really, they just want to make you happy.

Of course, getting to that point involves consistent training that begins in puppyhood. Whether you’re engaged in basic obedience training, Canine Good Citizen training, or another training regimen, keep these principles in mind when embarking on any training program. And if you’d like to know how to train your cat, visit this helpful resource.

How to Train Your Dog

Regardless of your training goal, these five guidelines will set the stage for successful results. And remember, consistency with any training program is key. You can’t expect successful results without putting in plenty of effort.

Keep Training Sessions Short

Several short, daily training sessions will get much better results than a single longer training session. The American Kennel Club (or AKC) recommends limiting training time to five minutes max. Beyond that, your dog will likely become distracted by a shiny object or other temptation.

As part of your dog’s training, repeat the same command in a variety of settings. For example, train your dog to respond to “sit” at home, in the dog park, and on a busy street.

Always Practice Positive Reinforcement

Whether you use a clicker or a treat, positive reinforcement training means rewarding your dog for good behavior instead of punishing them for bad behavior. Along these lines, don’t acknowledge undesirable behavior (such as jumping on visitors) at all. Wait until your dog calms down before you give him any attention.

Identify Your Dog’s Ideal Reward

Many dogs will do anything for food—any type of food. Other dogs prefer crunchy treats to chewy treats. And some dogs aren’t motivated by food at all. For these pooches, a brief play session, a clicker reward, or some old-fashioned praise might work.

Inject Elements of Fun

If training is fun for your dog (and you), you’ll likely get better results. Consider mixing in mini-play sessions between behavior drills. Or, teach your dog a fun trick (such as rolling over) along with his “sit” behavior. In other words, don’t let him get bored.

Integrate Training into Daily Activities

Look for opportunities to blend a training exercise into your dog’s daily routine. For example, ask your dog to respond to a command before you feed him or take him for a potty walk. Or, begin a play session with another command.

If you’re wondering how to train your puppy, your Hampton Veterinary Hospital veterinarian can provide details during your puppy’s first wellness exam visit. We will also talk about the importance of lifelong wellness exams and regular dental care. To get the ball rolling, call for an appointment today.