5 Tips for Training Your Pet New Tricks at any age
At Bayside Animal Hospital, we want to nurture every aspect of your pet’s well-being, including their mental health and social connection with you, their best friend. Pet training is an important part of being a pet parent! Training not only helps improve pet behavior, but it also brings you and your furry friend closer together. Good training instills a sense of calm and trust, and helps your pet understand how you want him or her to behave in social situations.
The following pet tricks may not be very flashy, but they’re some of the best behaviors you can teach your companion.
Capturing a Pet’s Attention
An important element of pet training is teaching your pet to direct their attention toward you, as needed. Training does more than just improve pet behavior, it also strengthens the bond between you and your four-legged friend, reducing anxiety and improving their overall well-being.
Some pet owners struggle to get their pet to even look in their direction. Stubborn pets may take longer to learn the art of honing their attention, but with enough patience and paw-sitive reinforcement, any pet can learn!
Some of the best ways to get your dog’s attention include:
- Making eye contact when you speak
- Using gentle but targeted hand movements
- Rewarding their attention
- Offering praise for engagement
To build a healthier relationship with your pet, they should learn how to heel. Rather than jumping around, running ahead of you or trailing behind you, “heel” commands your dog to take a spot right beside you.
When a dog learns how to heel, they are completely in-sync with their owner’s actions. Learning to heel builds closeness and protects your pet when you’re together. Their eyes are on you and what you’re doing, so they are less likely to run off and endanger themselves or someone else.
Walking Together on a Leash
Nothing is more exciting for your pet than a walk! While a dog may be prone to eagerly dash out the door, they should be content to walk by your side while on a walk, rather than pulling you along. Leash training can start in puppyhood, but even older dogs can learn better behavior while they walk with their owner.
Patience is key. Some owners pull on the leash or scold their dog when he or she begins to pull, but the best thing to do is stop walking altogether and wait for your dog to do the same. Gradually, your dog will start to learn that he can only move when you’re walking together. This will prevent aggressive pulling, and your furry friend won’t be competing with you.
As one of the seven basic dog commands, teaching your dog to “leave it”– or “drop it” can protect their health and be very useful. For example, if you need them to drop something you don’t want them to have or that could hurt them. Let’s say your inquisitive canine decides to pick up something they shouldn’t. Yikes! You could rush to pry it out of their mouth before they have a chance to chew or swallow, but having the option to simply tell them to drop it makes things so much easier.
If your dog has anxiety, the settle command can be a great way to help them regain a sense of security. “Settle” helps dogs redirect their focus to the present, similar to the way humans are taught grounding exercises when they suffer from anxiety.
To teach your dog to settle, start by leading them on a short leash. They should only have enough room to sit and stand. They’ll most likely resist and try to tug free at first, but be calm and wait for them to settle. When they do, say the command and give them a treat. Dogs that learn how to settle can also be calmed during periods of stress, which is especially important in social situations or when introducing them to new people or pets.
Pets at Bayside Animal Hospital
Once you master these pet training basics, there are a variety of other fun pet tricks you can try out. Training your pet is a lifelong endeavor that provides your fur baby with mental stimulation and can bring you two closer together. Contact us at Bayside Animal Hospital if you have any questions about pet training. We’re here to help you and your pet lead a happier life!
We Our Clients
Everyone always acts like my yellow lab, Ben, arriving has made their day. Seeing Ben, even though he's an old boy at 12 years old, can't wait to go in when we get there makes it evident he has no fear of visiting and knows he's going to have a positive experinece. I can't recommend them highly enough. — Richard Grimes
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Staff are always energetic and friendly. They all seem to really like their job and treat our pets with compassion and caring. — Stephanie Rossi
Dr. Given, Tami, Joy, and the rest of the staff were amazingly helpful when I called and needed to bring my dog in the same day because he was bitten by another dog. They were extremely accommodating, fast, informative, and so sweet to my dog. They made things as easy as possible for us. — Erin Moeller