Training Tips

Training Tips

Our POA trainers have compiled these additional tips to help you train your adopted dog:
When giving a command, use simple one word commands: Come, Sit, Off (which should mean get off the couch, don't jump on me), Down (which should mean: lie down); Let's Go (which should mean come this way); and Heel (walk politely by my side-no sniffing around). Also, make sure you have a release word to release the dog from the command (i.e. OK)

Use hand signals along with the commands to make it visual for the dog.

As soon as the dog starts to respond to the command, praise the dog.

Use the tone of your voice to distinguish between a command and praise. Lower your vocal tone for a command, and use higher and more excited tones for praise.

Say the command once, and if the dog does not respond, gently guide the dog into the appropriate behavior (for example "Sit"). Again praise the dog once it performs the desired behavior.

If a dog is frightened of something (for example thunder) do not sooth the dog, it will then think that it should be frightened. Instead, in a happy excited tone, try to distract the animal with a toy or other activity.

It is very important to socialize a dog. With a puppy, begin to socialize it after it has had all its shots. Socialize the dog with both people and other animals.

For an adult dog that has been adopted socialization is also important. If the dog is aggressive toward other dogs, use a Sporn halter to exert control when it encounters other dogs. When the dog becomes aggressive, shake an empty Coke can with coins in it, in front of his face; or, spray his face with a water/vinegar solution while saying loudly and in a deep voice "shame on you!" This problem may also require the assistance of a professional trainer.

Exercise the dog regularly. Walks, playing catch, swimming are all great activities. An exercised animal is a happier animal. Young dogs should not be over exercised, particularly on hard surfaces. Ask your veterinarian about an exercise routine. Don't jog/run with your dog until he or she is approximately two years old.

Training should be fun. Get excited when your dog carries out a command. Use toys for distractions and rewards.

Never, ever hit the animal to discipline it. A firm "no" should work. If not, a time out in a quite area is appropriate. The time out should be for a short time (a couple of minutes).

Common Mistakes
Giving a dog an old sock to chew. Someday the dog will discover the laundry basket and think it’s a toy box. Dogs should have toys of their own.

Letting a puppy on the furniture when 15 pounds, but not allowing him or her on furniture at 60 pounds. Never let a puppy do something when little that you wouldn't permit when full-grown.

Taking the food bowl away from a dog that is food possessive. Instead of taking the food bowl away, try feeding the dog in portions, and take and refill the bowl. When the dog finishes each portion, offer praise. At the last portion feeding drop a special treat into the bowl. The dog will learn that you taking the food bowl is a good thing. Remember to wait until he or she is done with each portion before removing the bowl.

Never call a dog to you via the "Come" command to punish it for bad behavior. He or she will then think that if it comes to you it will be punished.

Never discipline a dog for bad behavior unless you've caught him or her in the act. If you catch an animal chewing on something forbidden, firmly say "No" and as soon as he or she drops it, offer praise.

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