Here are four tips to help you train your dog or cat
Tip #1: Pick the perfect reward.
Each and every dog and cat is different. Some pups are highly treat motivated while others may need something a little more yummy to get their interest. For dogs and cats who are crazy about food, I like to use their kibble as a reward. Kibble may not work for all dogs, and cats though. For dogs who need a higher value treat to keep them interested I like to use “I and love and you” Nice Jerky! I’ll break up the jerky into about four small pieces before diving into training mode. For the pickier pets out there who turn their nose up at dog kibble or treats, you can take it one step further and cut up some string cheese or even hot dogs.
Tip #2: Keep it short and sweet.
Keep training sessions short, especially when you’re just starting out. Training, pets who are new to learning can make them mentally stimulated fast. You’ll be surprised at how tired your pup is after a good training session—exercising their brains is hard work! In the beginning, count out a certain amount of treats (or kibble!) and then call it quits when the treats run out. You can do a small session early in the day and another one before bed (To give you an idea 10 minutes a day Monday-Friday is better than 35 minutes on Saturday).
Tip #3: Reinforce positive behavior.
Dogs start to consistently do things after a lot of repetition. Let’s say your pet steals food off the counter, for example. Once your pup learns he can score some yummy food within paw reach, he will likely do it again and again. When you have a dog that likes to counter surf, each time he succeeds, he is self-reinforcing the bad behavior (with your help if you keep leaving food within reach 😉 ). The best way to prevent this from happening is to teach your pet to “Leave it” and not take something unless given permission. Once your pet becomes a master at “Leave it” (when you say “leave it” and your pup stops dead in his tracks) you can even work toward an auto-leave where your pup won’t even consider taking something that falls unless you give them the ok.
Tip #4: Keep things positive!
Training should be fun! Stay upbeat, and happy, and praise your pet. They feed off of your energy so if you’re not happy and having fun, they likely won’t be either. Remember that everyone has off days (our pups included!) And every dog and cat is different. What works for one dog may not work for another and that is perfectly good! Remember that dog training is a journey.