It is a myth that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but first, let’s focus on the basics! Yes, the handshake is classically cute. Roll over impresses friends, and everyone says, “Awwweee,” when you ask your pup to beg. While these are great tricks, there are more important things to teach first.
Discover your dog’s currency.
There are three main motivations during training in the canine world. Food-motivation, play-motivation, and affection-motivation. Look at these three things as your dog’s currency. You pay your dog this currency during training to encourage good behavior. The majority of dogs are food-motivated! Check out these soft vegan treats you can use to keep them motivated, and begin your training routine!
Patience makes for steady progress.
No matter what age, training is the key to build your relationship and gain one another's trust. Five to 10 minutes a day is all you really need. Don’t go overboard drilling in the new behaviors. Allow breathing room, and take some breaks so that your pup can relax. Essentially, your dog is learning a whole new language, so you have to give them some time to absorb the training!
Come, sit, and stay are the foundation.
Come: Say your dog's name in a gentle yet steady tone followed by the request “come,” and when they come to you, give them a handful of kibble or a treat! You want your dog to look to you for all things good and tasty. Give them plenty of praise and love when they come to you so they WANT to come to you when you call them.
Sit: While standing, use a treat to guide your pal’s nose upward. When their head goes up, their butt goes down. When their backside hits the floor, say the request “sit.” As dogs learn a word, they will associate it with an action, and when they complete that action, something good happens!
At times, when teaching sit, dogs will walk backward when you guide their head upwards with a treat instead of their tail hitting the ground. If that happens, you can block their movement backward or gently guide their backside with your flat hand. Don’t push their butt down. Just easily guide them. Don’t forget the praise!
Stay: Stay takes a large amount of patience. Start slow! Ask your dog to “stay,” and then wait about 5 seconds. Give them a treat, and say, “good stay.” Reinforce good behavior in a positive way! Slowly lengthen the time your dog stays. Then increase your distance from your dog. Ideally, you should be able to walk around them and away from them, even out of sight, and the pup stays in one spot!
Put all the training together!
It’s time to get fancy and put it all together! Ask your dog to sit AND stay. Then use their name followed by the “come” request. When they follow instructions, give them all the praise and treats!
Remember the goal is a fun shared space!
It's ok to get frustrated. Training takes time. Training should also be fun! Here at v-dog we believe that sharing your space and your life with our furry friends is extremely rewarding! These foundations build trust and ensure a deeper bond for a lifelong friendship.