January 19, 2021  |  National Train Your Dog Month

Train Your Dog Early and Often

Puppies can start training as early as eight weeks old. Training early can ingrain good behaviors and prevent unwanted habits. But keep in mind: puppies are like kids. Their attention span is limited. So keep your sessions short, sweet, and positive. As they grow into adults, you can become more ambitious.

The key to training your dog is repetition. Having a set training session every day will help your dog learn new behaviors without forgetting what you’ve already taught them. Another way to reinforce behaviors is to incorporate them in your dog’s routine. For example, ask your dog to sit before placing their food bowl in front of them.

Consistency is also critical to your dog’s learning. Everyone in the household should be on the same page. Make sure you’re all using the same verbal reward markers, cues, or clicker. For instance, “down” means your dog should lie down; “off” means they should get off the furniture. Praise good behaviors and correct unwanted ones using the same commands every time. Being inconsistent confuses dogs and delays training success.

We know training can seem intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be.

The Maryland SPCA’s online training classes can help your dog become the best version of himself or herself. Click here to get started!

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