Back to school: Training tips for your dog

Backpacks, crayons, yellow school buses. Yep, it’s that time of year. The kids are back to school…but what about your dogs? Maybe it’s time they brush up (or develop) their “sit, stay, shake” skills. Here are a few tips on training your canine. Ready? Class is in session!

Think positive reinforcement

Stock up on treats! Rewarding good behavior is more effective for repeat results than punishing bad behavior. You’ve got to be quick, though. If you wait too long to reward your dog’s good behavior, they may not make the connection between the treat and what behavior earned the treat. Also, pay close attention to your pet, so you can catch them being good and reward them accordingly.

Be consistent

Plan short, daily training sessions. And keep them fun for you and your dog! Make sure you’re using the same commands and applying the same rules at all times. For instance, if you sometimes pet your dog when he jumps on you and other times scold him, he will get confused. Wouldn’t you?

Remember, dogs don’t speak English

Dogs aren’t humans, and they aren’t born knowing English. They don’t know what your commands mean until they can associate them with a behavior. You may have to show them first and also use hand motions. Be sure to keep your commands and actions consistent.

Have patience with pups

If you’re training a new puppy, remember to be patient. They’re still growing and face limitations (like small bladders). Keep a close eye on them at all times, so you can reward and correct behaviors. When you’re not able to supervise them, be sure to keep them in a safe space like a crate or room with a baby gate.

Teach old dogs new tricks. Yes, it’s possible!

The challenge of training an old dog is that she may already be set in her bad ways. This just means it may take more time to change the dog’s behavior. There are benefits, too! Older dogs tend to be calmer and more focused, so you can get more out of your short, daily training sessions.


Interested in training classes? Sometimes working with a pro can make a difference. Our doctors recommend:

  • Dog Gone Problems – 402.598.9475
  • All Dogs Unleashed – 402-332-8798
  • Dharma Dog Training – 402.253.9111
  • Sally Whitaker – 402-453-7713