January is Train Your Dog Month! Making sure that your canine buddy knows and obeys basic commands is very important, not just to your pet’s safety,  but also to the safety of others. A local Dawsonville, GA vet offers some insight into Fido’s petucation in this article.

Always Be Consistent When Training Fido

Dogs don’t understand the nuances of human language. For instance, Fido may not understand that ‘Sit’ means the exact same thing as ‘Fido, go sit down right now!’ Even small variations in wording can confuse your furry friend. When teaching vocal commands, always use the same words or phrases.

Actually, consistency is crucial to all aspects of your dog’s behavioral training and reinforcement.  Don’t punish your canine buddy for getting on the couch one day, and then reprimand him for it the next. That will just confuse him, which could make him distrustful.


What Are The Commands That Every Dog Should Know?

Man’s Best Buddy is capable of learning over 100 commands. In fact, Fido can learn some very complex commands, such as turning lights off and on, loading the dishwasher, or even fetching specific items. However, you don’t have to teach your furry pal anything super complicated or flashy. The most important thing is making sure he knows the basics.

Here are the five most crucial ones:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Come
  • Heel
  • Lay Down

Once your furry pal has those down, you may also want to consider the following:

  • Down
  • Leave It
  • Drop It

When Is The Best Time Of Day For Training My Dog?

Fido’s doggy schedule will come into play here. You’ll want to choose a time when your pet has already had his daily workout, and has already burned off his zoomies. You probably won’t have much luck if your furry little buddy wants to play, or is about to fall asleep. 

What Are Some Common Dog Training Mistakes To Avoid?

We’ve already touched on concerns with negative reinforcement and inconsistency. Another common dog training pitfall? Repeating the same commands over and over, and expecting a change in Fido’s reaction. If something isn’t working, go back to the drawing board. That may mean trying another method, doing some additional research, or even enlisting professional help.

Finally, you’ll need to continually reinforce your pup’s training. Even once Fido knows what ‘Lay down’ means, give him a treat for obeying here and there. This will help keep things fresh for him, and stop him from thinking there’s nothing in it for him if he obeys.

Conclusion: It’s important for dogs to be trained, both for safety and manners. Work on one command at a time, and be positive and consistent, and don’t be shy about seeking help if needed.

Don’t Bore Your Student

Our four-legged friends don’t have very long attention spans, except perhaps when it comes to begging for bacon. (Treats will definitely help keep Fido engaged, but we’ll get to that later.) 

Don’t bore your furry best buddy with long, drawn out classes. If Fido gets too bored, he may begin to actively dislike training. Shoot for short, frequent sessions. These should be about 10-15 minutes at a time. 

Treats Are Great Motivation For Training Dogs

Positive reinforcement is definitely the way to go. Of course, Fido probably won’t be too impressed if you tell him he got straight As, and if you offer him a report card with a gold star, well, he may just try to eat it. 

Treats are a much better option.

At the end of the day, anything Fido likes will do the trick, as long as it’s safe for him. However, there are a few caveats here. One, stick with small portions. Otherwise, you may accidentally overfeed your adorable student! 

Training treats are of course the obvious choice, but there are other options. 

Some things you can use include:

  • Slices of hot dogs
  • Shredded chicken, turkey, or deli meat
  • Kibble

With certain lessons, you may want to use something that’s very high-quality. This should be something your pooch doesn’t get too often, like steak or bacon. Just take care not to overfeed your adorable student! Ask your Dawsonville, GA vet for more information.

Treats shouldn’t be Fido’s only reward, though. Shower your adorable pupil with compliments and attention when he does something right. One of the most remarkable things about dogs is the fact that they truly strive to please their humans! Fido is super cute when he has that proud expression dogs get when they know they’ve done something correctly. 

Why Is Negative Reinforcement Bad For Training Dogs?

Some professional trainers may be able to use things like prong collars and shock collars successfully. However, for the most part, these methods may do more harm than good. 

For one thing, our four-legged buddies are very emotional, and can quickly form bad associations with things. The last thing you want is for your pet to start to dread or fear his lessons. 

It’s also important to realize that your dog may not understand why he’s being punished, especially if he is being reprimanded for something after the fact. 

We know, it’s frustrating to come home and find that Fido ate your shoes. However, don’t punish him. Our four-legged friends don’t understand the concept of punishment, at least, not in the way we do. A delay may also complicate matters, as your pet may not understand what he did wrong, or why you’re mad at him. That may frighten or confuse him, and may even make him feel scared of you. That can backfire, and make training harder than it should be.

That doesn’t mean you can never reprimand your pup. 

If you catch Fido red-pawed in the act of doing something wrong, you can chide him in a stern, disapproving tone, but in general, you’re better off to focus on rewarding good behavior. 

You should never try to train your furry bff if you’re in a bad mood. Fido will quickly realize that you aren’t feeling happy or cheerful. Your pet could then associate that sour vibe with training, which could in turn make him uneasy about it.

When Should I Start My Dog’s Training?

It’s really never too soon to start Fido’s petucation. Even before he’s old enough to be adopted,  a puppy will benefit from being petted, held, and handled. (Socialization is also crucial, but that’s another topic.)

Little Fido can start learning the ins and outs of being a good boy as soon as you bring your new puppy home. This is usually when Fido is about 8 or 9 weeks. You don’t have to wait until after your pet has been housetrained. In fact, training and housebreaking can work very well together.

What If I Can’t Train My Dog?

Some pooches pick up the basic commands they need to know very quickly. Others? Not so much. Your dog’s individual age, personality, and background all factor in here. 

If you’re having a hard time training your pet, reach out to a professional. The time, money, and effort you put in now will be well worth it in the long run.


Do you have questions about training your pet? Contact us, your local Dawsonville, GA animal hospital, anytime! We are dedicated to providing top notch veterinary care.