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Tips to Improve your Dog’s Obedience at Any Age

August 17, 2020


In recent months, we’ve seen an increase in people bringing new dogs into their homes. Whether through adoption, rescue or breeding – brand new puppies as well as more mature dogs are rounding out our families and bringing a little extra joy into our homes. As you enjoy the latest addition to your household, you may be wondering what age is appropriate to begin dog training. Is there a secret to mastering topics like obedience or potty training? While dog training is ideal while your pooch is still a puppy, you can train a dog at pretty much any age.

Follow these five simple tips to help make dog obedience training as easy as possible.

  1. Be consistent with training. Whether you’re working on obedience, agility or potty training, spend about three minutes every day working on that behavior with your dog or puppy. And use the same approach every single time. These focused efforts two or three times each day are plenty, especially for puppies who have short attention spans and may tire quickly. Not to mention the fun you’ll have playing with your dog throughout the day!
  2. Identify command words. Don’t confuse your puppy – or yourself! – by using the same word for multiple commands. Pick one word for each behavior and stick to it. For example, avoid saying “down” when you want your puppy to lay down and then say “down” when you want him or her off the couch. Keep it simple: one behavior – one command word.

  3. Avoid punishing your puppy. If your puppy doesn’t obey a command simply say “wrong,” or “bad dog” in a firm but non-emotional tone of voice. Hitting, yelling or striking your puppy is cruel and lays the groundwork for a confrontational relationship with him or her. Keep in mind, aggression begets aggression – simply avoid it.

  4. Keep training age appropriate. Don’t expect young puppies, say 8-12 weeks old, to be able to hold a sitting or down command for more than a few seconds. If your expectations exceed your dog’s capability, you’re setting you both up for failure and frustration.

  5. Always praise good behavior. Encourage your puppy with praise when he or she performs a behavior properly. While you may want to give a food treat periodically as a reward, you don’t want to give food as a reward every time. Remember, regardless of your dog’s age, they’ll respond best to your positive feedback – a simple “good puppy!” said in a happy, high-pitched tone or a playful belly rub are the perfect rewards.

More Dog Training Resources

These are just some of the basics that will help you get started on the right foot with your puppy. Puppies are very smart and learn quickly, especially when taught from an early age.

You might consider partnering with a local kennel or obedience school to help move your dog training efforts along. Just remember, you’ll want to select a trainer that values your puppy’s health and happiness as much as you. We invite you to consider Alden’s Kennel for all your dog training needs. We offer a variety of dog training classes on topics ranging from obedience to agility and training for therapy dogs.