People have big goals for their pets when they adopt them. Everyone knows the classic tale of Lassie being so well in tune with her owners that she’s even able to communicate a family member’s peril. In reality, though, as soon as people get home with their new dog, they realize that he isn’t capable of what we see in the movies. In fact, just getting him to sit can be a challenge.

So how do you teach your dog some basic obedience skills? Fortunately, the skills that you learn as an owner for training Wags will be helpful throughout his life.

Here are a few tricks to try:

  1. Always use positive incentive.

Small treats and praise solidify a behavior. It is difficult for dogs to grasp generalized concepts, so it’s important to start with a more common movement first. Sitting is one of the most versatile and common movements that your dog can learn, and from this Wags can move on to other things like “stay” and “down.” The positive reinforcement is what will solidify each successful completion of a trick.

  1. Showing is best in the beginning.

Instead of waiting for your pet to coincidentally do what you’re commanding, give Wags a little nudge on his behind to encourage him into a sitting position. Then, immediately reward him with praise and a small treat. Continue this until he starts without your hands guiding him. Once he can do this, repeat it over and over to make it a habit.

  1. Always be patient.

For most dogs, this won’t happen immediately. It might not even succeed in the first day. Consistency is key. Set aside an hour each day specifically for training. This isn’t play time, it’s learning time. After an hour a day for a week or two, your dog should be able to learn a  small skill. The key is to not get frustrated or give up!

  1. Consult an expert.

If it seems like Wags hasn’t improved over a few months, you might try talking to a professional. There are many places which offer classes and obedience school.

Don’t worry if it takes a while. Every dog is its own unique challenge, but we love them all the same! Once Wags learns his first trick, it’ll be easier to teach him additional ones. If your dog seems incredibly difficult to train, obedience school might be helpful. There’s no replacement for a professional!

If you live in the Grandview area, ask your veterinarian Grandview for more information on pet care.