Tips and Tricks to Avoid that “Doggone it” Moment

Training tips and tricks for your furry four-legged friends

Jaromir Chalabala/

Did your dog destroy your brand new pair of Jimmy Choos? Scarf down the leftovers before you had a chance to put them away? Go potty where he shouldn’t have? No matter how cute and adorable they are, all dogs need to be trained. The earlier you do it—whether a new puppy or an older dog you have newly welcomed into your home—the easier it is.

Keys to Canine Coaching

Establishing boundaries and teaching your dog what is expected of him is key to having a harmonious household. Young puppies have short attention spans, but are capable of learning commands such as “sit,” “down,” and “stay,” as young as 7 to 8 weeks old. Older dogs will hopefully know their basic commands, but you still need to establish yourself as the one in charge. If you don’t, the dog will sense it and take on the role of pack leader.

Short and Sweet

Training should be done in short increments several times during the day. Each person living in your house should participate in training and training should take place in each room that your dog will have access to. The key to training is consistency—especially when it comes to housebreaking your dog. Dogs by nature don’t want to mess in their den. Pick a place outside that you’d like your dog to eliminate and take them there at regular intervals during the day to do their business. Puppies have small bladders and will need to go out every 45 minutes to an hour (when they are awake) to establish a routine. Training treats or small bits of hot dogs work wonders as rewards for going potty in the right place. Until your dog is completely housebroken, crate him when you are out and at bedtime to avoid any unfortunate accidents.


It Takes Two to Tango

Even seasoned pet owners can benefit from group puppy or dog training. Trainers can observe your dog’s behavior as well as how well you are doing your job as pack leader, and provide you with tips to advance your training. In class, your dog (and you) will be learning in a group situation, where there are real life distractions to deal with. Going to class will also give you incentive to practice your training at home. A well trained dog is a reflection of its owner and you don’t want to be that owner whose dog won’t follow instructions.

Janet Fazio is a contributing writer for Your Town Monthly.