Ever feel like you’re not getting anywhere when you correct your pet? They act out, you say no, and then boom, they’re at it again. Good behavior doesn’t happen overnight, but you’ll see a lot more progress if you actually make time for training at home. Unlike the behavior adjustments you make on the go, home training gives your pet a chance to practice in a distraction-free, safe place where they can really focus and be successful. The more they respond to training at home, the better they’ll behave in a real situation.
THE HOME TRAINING GUIDE
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Whether you’re working on new behaviors or reinforcing commands your pet already knows, be consistent, calm and prepared with treats. And keep them well-exercised —a lot of times, bad behavior is just restless energy coming out.
- Reinforce training in all situations so your pet knows the rules.
- Never yell and walk away to calm down if needed.
- Maximize focus by training in 5-10 minutes bursts, multiple times a day.
- Reward them with low-cal treats so practice doesn’t pack on pounds.
- Don’t forget, cats like training treats
MAKE SURE THEY KNOW THEIR NAME
How can your dog tell they’re in trouble if they don’t know who you’re calling? Reinforce name recall at home as much as possible and life will be a lot easier the next time they’re off leash at the park or barking at strangers.
- Find a distraction-free area in your home.
- Say your pet’s name and wait for them to look at you.
- Confirm the action with a training clicker or a “Yes!” and hand over a treat.
- Over time, build in more distractions and see if your pet still responds.
PUT AN END TO LEASH PULLLING
Clear the hallway and go for a stroll. Every time your pet tries to tug forward, stop. Repeat this every time they pull and they’ll start to realize who should be leading. Plus, trying some anti-pull gear could be helpful. The better the fit, the better they work, so feel free to ask for help in stores.
- Head collar goes behind the ears and around the muzzle to minimize pulling.
- Harness steers your dog to the side when they pull to redirect attention to you.
SAY HI WITHOUT THE DRAMA
You don’t have to wait for guests to work on your dog’s doorman skills. Every time you come home, go through these steps to help them greet strangers without jumping.
- Cross your arms and look away until they’re calm.
- Once they’re still and all four paws are on the ground, then praise them.
- Have all guests follow this process as well.
- Work on sitting and staying or going to their crate when guests arrive.
CLICK COUNTER SURFING AWAY
For dogs and cats who love to explore counters, the obvious place to start is by clearing surfaces of any temptations, like food. Then, use this process to teach them that staying off is more rewarding.
- When they hop on the counter, say “Off!”
- Once paws hit the floor, confirm the action with a training clicker and a treat.
- Reinforce good behavior by randomly rewarding all paws being on the floor.
QUICK, SAVE YOUR FURNITURE
Pets can take out a lot of problems on expensive items. Sometimes it’s a sign of stress or anxiety, or it could as simple as your dog is teething or your cat is well, a cat. Either way, we can help.
- Use a cat calming aid to relieve stress when they go to scratch.
- Get kitty a scratching post and make it extra enticing with catnip.
- Apply anti-chew spray to discourage dogs from chomping on furnishings.
- Stock up on age-appropriate chew toys to keep your canine distracted.