15 Training Secrets Dog Trainers Won’t Tell You for Free

15 Training Secrets Dog Trainers Won’t Tell You for 


Offer high-value rewards

There’s nothing wrong with a well-deserved “Good boy!” and tummy rub, but they’re simply not as rewarding as that coveted, freeze-dried liver or another delicious doggie treat. You just need to find out what treat your dog will go crazy for when performing new or preferred behaviors. “Exploring your dog’s high-value food rewards is a lot of fun and part of the process,” says Russell Hartstein, certified dog behaviorist and trainer and CEO of Fun Paw Care. “Always carry a pouch or bag with your puppy’s daily allocation of food and lots of treats in it to teach your dog appropriate new behaviors.” Just be sure to consider these treats as part of your dog’s daily food allotment, or you may wind up with an overweight pup on your hands. Got puppy fever? 

Train in a boring environment

Ever try teaching your fur baby something new at the dog park or while interacting with people? It probably didn’t go as well as expected. Here’s why: Too much distraction. “Initially, as with any new behavior, you want to start in a boring, non-distracting environment, typically a room inside your home with no toys, with your dog on a leash,” says Hartstein. And keep those high-value treats hafor handy for rewards. miss these 50 secrets your pet won’t tell you.

Stop yanking on the leash

Are you walking with your dog or is your dog walking you? If it’s the latter, forget about yanking the leash. It won’t work. “Dogs have an opposition reflex. You pull back, and they pull forward. They are not being stubborn or difficult. It’s built into the way a dog is designed,” says Hartstein. In other words, if a dog pulls and gets to where it wants to go, the dog is rewarded and will continue the behavior. The solution? Head back inside for some walking on the leash. “After your dog has walked successfully next to you many times in your home, advance to the backyard, then the front yard, then a few houses down, and etc.,” suggests Hartstein. Reward them for walking close to you. Find out the

Paws on the floor, please

We’re all suckers for cute puppies, and they’re just as excited to jump on us to receive the attention we give them. It may seem rude, but it’s important to tell everyone your fur baby comes into contact with that your pup is in training and they should only pay attention to him/her when they have settled down with all four paws on the floor. “When a new person wants to greet my puppy I ask my puppy to sit (or stand) and then offer them treats while the person is petting them,” says Hartstein. Here are 13 amazing facts you never knew about your pooch.

“Leave it” is better

Dogs are attracted to things that repulse us, like food that fell out of a garbage can or goose poop. Besides being gross, objects dogs pick up are potentially harmful. Harstein says the “leave it” command is more effective than “drop it.” It makes sense—”leave it” is preventative, while “drop it” means it’s already too late. Again, practice in a boring environment and not on the street where distractions abound. “I do many iterations of a behavior before we walk on the overstimulating and distracting streets where a dog may pick up something dangerous or unwanted,” says Hartstein

Stop digging!

Digging is a natural and fun activity for dogs—we just don’t appreciate it when they do it in our yards or gardens. The solution for dogs that love to dig is to give them a place to do it. “Set up a sandbox or a designated area where you encourage and reward your dog for digging. That will also keep them out of your vegetable garden or flower bed,” suggests Hartstein. You may even want to hide a few toys in the dirt for them to find as a way to reward them for digging in their designated spot. 

Don’t say “NO” when they whine

You know your pup is feeling all right—a game of fetch, dinner, and potty time were all accomplished—but for some reason, she’s looking at you with those puppy eyes and whining. Ellis shares that dogs can whine for a number of reasons, like boredom, anxiousness, excitement, or just wanting some attention. “The best method to end attention whining is to ignore it completely,” she says. “For some dogs, even saying ‘no’ feels rewarding because they got your attention.” When your pup does stop whining, Ellis suggests rewarding the behavior with a treat to instill that no whining means attention and whining means the fun is over

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