I don’t want you to have to learn the hardway. That’s why I’m giving away some of the best advice a trainer can give… for free.
(Let’s get this out of the way.)
1. Hire only a Certified Professional.
Don’t give a trainer a penny until you read this.
- If a trainer does not does not have enough experience and education to earn this certification, it may mean that they that use outdated methods.
- Check reviews online, ask for references, discuss professional memberships (and required ethics agreements), and validate credentials.
- Grill the trainer on their training philosophy. If they use forceful methods such as prong collars, you need to know right away. If they’re vague, move on.
- Expect the trainer to be insured, a formal contract, and the ability to pay with out cash. If someone asks you to pay cash only, it is a red flag that they do not own a legitimate business.
2. Find the dog that fits your family.
- Is the dog social or aloof with people or dogs? Is the dog easily excitable or relatively relaxed?
- What job was the dog born to do? Dogs that were bred to herd… will herd.
- Learn about the grooming, training, and veterinary care your dog will need ahead of time!
Don’t pick a breed due to its popularity.
This doodle is incredibly high energy and social. Plan to dedicate yourself to training if you bring home one of these cuties!
3. Be prepared to socialize. For life.
- Begin as soon as your dog receives his first set of vaccines. Don’t wait one second!
- Socialization is not just exposing your dog to new things. It’s teaching the rules of life, and making new experiences positive.
4. Use a Crate
- Teach your dog to love the crate.
- Use it to prevent unwanted behaviors when you’re not able to supervise.
5. Supervise, constantly!
Treat your dog like he’s got a crayon and a freshly cleaned wall.
- Listen, your adult dog is as intellectually developed as a toddler. Treat them like it.
- Use the crate (or a tethered leash) when you can’t fully supervise.
- Dogs need 30-60 minutes a day varying by age, general activity level, size, and breed.
- Your dog will not exercise by himself in the backyard. If you think this counts, you’re in trouble.
7. Learn to read dog body language.
- Be prepared to rescue your dog from a situation if your dog displays excessive fear or inappropriate behavior.
- If you are seeing stress, anxiety, or fear, reach out for help as soon as possible
8. Don’t expect your kids to do all of the work.
- Dogs require extensive supervision, socialization, exercise, and training which is difficult for children and teens.
- Dog training is a family affair. Expect for everyone in the family to be involved! If you aren’t involved too, it will not end well.
9. Create rules for your house and consistently follow them. Here’s a handful of mine.
- Rule #1 Privileges must be earned.
- Rule #2 Say Please when you want attention, toys, play, food, anything really.
- Rule #3 If you don’t ask politely, too bad. Out of luck, kid.
11. Begin teaching loose leash walking immediately.
- Look into alternative exercise while teaching your dog to walk on a loose leash.
- Always use a regular leash (not a retractable) with buckle collar with tags (or harness) unless in a safely contained area. No exceptions.
12. Do Happy Visits at the Vet and Groomer
- Go to the veterinarian and groomer to happily socialize your dog.
- Desensitize your dog to handling including frequent nail trims and nail grinders.
- Seek out a FEAR FREE certified veterinarians and staff such as St. John Animal Clinic
13. ASK FOR HELP.
- If you haven’t trained a puppy before, or its been a few years, it may be time to learn current training methods.
- Do not rely on Google searches or unprofessional YouTube videos.
- Ask a professional trainer or veterinarian. We are all here to help.