With many states across the U.S. under stay-at-home orders, it’s never been a better time to invest time in making your life more comfortable in the long term.
Teach your old dog new tricks during quarantine because it is an excellent way to bond, and it can be exciting to see your best friend grow. If you’re wondering how to get started teaching some new tricks, read on.
Why Teach Your Old Dog New Tricks During Quarantine?
The first question you might have about teaching your dog new tricks is why. The better question might be, what else are you going to do?
With so many people under a stay-at-home order due to COVID-19, you might be looking for activities to fill your day. Training your dog is a perfect choice. And with some possibly new-found time on your hands, you may choose to train your dog for these reasons:
When you work on new tricks with your dog, it helps you both gain a better understanding of one another. You have a better understanding of how your dog might react in certain situations, and your dog will have an idea of what you might expect from them.
Your Dog Will Be Safer
A dog who is trained will know how to act in certain situations. If a squirrel darts across them on a walk, your dog might want to bolt after them. If you take the time to train your dog, they will better understand your commands and are less likely to behave poorly.
You’ll Be More Social
Training helps your dog feel more comfortable when put in new or unfamiliar situations. Meeting new people or animals can be stressful, but if your dog has a good base of training, they can manage to keep a good head on themself. And a trained dog who behaves appropriately is more likely to draw people toward them as well. Of course, pets by strangers during this time is not advised. After we’re allowed to resume our normal behaviors, your dog will be comfortable greeting people again!
You Can Go to New Places
If your dog is trained correctly, you will be able to take them to new and different places without people being worried that they might act up. You might be able to bring your dog to a restaurant’s outdoor patio to break up your morning walk. Or you might be ready to hang out in your local beer garden and have people want to interact with your dog.
Because You Can
Lastly, you might want to train your dog just because you can. Training is a beautiful bonding experience for you and your dog. No matter how old your dog is or for how long you’ve had them, anytime is the right time to start training them new tricks.
Basics to Teaching Tricks
Now that you know why you should start training your dog, how do you get started? The most important thing to remember is that your dog should trust you. This means that punishment is never going to work in the long run. If you punish your dog for misbehaving, they will likely only learn to fear or evade you. The best choice in training is positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement is just a fancy phrase for rewarding good behavior. When your dog does what you want, praise them heavily and give them a nice reward. This means you’re going to need a lot of treats on hand. Just make sure that the reward you chose is rewarding.
Giving your dog a piece of their kibble might not be much of a reward as they already get it every day. Then again, your dog might be over the moon for some kibble because it’s being given to them by their very best friend. You should experiment with what your dog likes and pick a reward that is going to motivate them.
Also, remember that you have to be very patient. Again, you’re rewarding good behavior, not punishing negative behavior. Try not to get frustrated. Instead, try catching your dog doing the right thing and reward that behavior.
Lastly, remember to keep your training sessions short. Your dog loves you, but they don’t have an endless attention span either. Keep your training sessions short and to the point. If you notice your dog’s attention wandering, call the session and come back to it once your dog has had a break.
Basic Training to Consider
There are so many things a dog can learn to do, but you should probably start with the most straightforward and most practical choices. If you haven’t already done crate training, that would be one thing to consider. Crating is great for housebreaking a younger dog, but it’s also great to relax anxious dogs.
Other simple training you might begin with include:
- Responding to name
Those are probably the easiest and most straightforward tricks you can teach your dog. These are also handy commands, whether in your home or out. These commands will help you control your dog when they’re put in more stressful situations.
Once you master these commands, you can try other useful things like ringing a bell to go out, learning the names of objects, or teaching them to hush. These are other tricks that will make your life easier in the long run.
Learning new tricks can be done by any dog, no matter their age. And your dog will love growing with you. If you find yourself spending a lot more time at home, it’s the perfect chance to learn some new tricks with your dog.