Training your small dog will not only keep them safe and sound but will help your sanity. A well-trained dog and a patient owner are a match made on earth. Through consistent training you can develop a bond with your dog and learn the best method of communicating with them, but always remember you have to maintain the role of pack leader.
Start training your dog as early as possible and find out what works best; treats, clickers, or just the sound of your calm assertive voice. It’s never too late to start training or work on correcting any bad behavior. Although puppies may not fully understand your commands, they will soon catch on to what you are asking of them. Repetition and consistency are necessary. Keep the commands short and sweet. For example, instead of “Rover, run over here” only state “Rover, come.” Saying the dogs name before a command will grab their attention and let them know something is expected of them. Treats are always a welcome reward for a job well done. Liv-a-Littles, by Halo, and Zuke’s Mini Naturals, are great treats that store easily in your pocket or bait bag.
You “can” teach an old dog new tricks and it is encouraged. Teaching your dog new tricks stimulate their mind as well as yours. Try to challenge their intelligence and have fun at the same time. You may want to consider agility training. Practicing commands while out for a walk is an excellent way to truly assess your dog's skills. Certain commands, such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come,” are vital when walking your dog. When they can perform these commands with certainty, you gain the confidence and can better manage their safety in almost any situation.
Here’s another great way to bond with your canine companion. Have you ever danced with your dog under the pale moonlight? You don’t know what you are missing! A fabulous form of exercise, Canine Freestyle, mixes your love for your dog with your love of music and dancing. Dancing with them showcases the training and love you both have worked so hard to achieve. If you would like more information on Canine Freestyle check out www.canine-freestyle.org. “One…Two… Chi Chi Chi!”