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Behavior is the number one reason that dogs get returned to shelters. Here are 7 tips to help you build a positive relationship with your 4-legged friend.

Are you having dog behavioral issues? Or did you just adopt a dog and want to make them a well-mannered member of the family?

Tanya Lim is a certified professional dog trainer here in Denver. She is also the co-founder and head trainer at Family Pupz.

Tanya is passionate about helping dogs and their owners build strong, lasting bonds. She specializes in puppy and adult dog training, addressing behavioral issues, and teaching basic manners and obedience.

She’s also a certified Fear Free professional and a doggy doula, helping expecting families prepare their dogs for life with a baby.

We asked Tanya to share a few insights and tips for effective dog training.

Seven basic training tips for dog owners

1. Use an attention-grabbing sound:

One of the fundamental skills Tanya teaches her clients is to use an attention-grabbing sound.

This can be a kissy sound, tongue click, whistle, snap, or any sound that comes naturally to you.

The goal is to get your dog’s attention instantly. To teach this, start by making the sound and rewarding your dog when they look at you. Over time, practice with your dog in different situations and environments.

2. Patience and individualized learning:

Tanya emphasizes that the time it takes for a dog to learn a new skill varies from dog to dog. It depends on various factors, including the handler and the skill itself.

Each dog is unique, with different genetic predispositions and prior learning experiences.

It’s crucial to be patient and understanding when teaching your dog.

Pro tip: focus on positive reinforcement.

3. Choose the right rewards:

Selecting the right rewards is essential for effective training.

Match the value of the reward to the difficulty of the environment. For instance, use kibble for training at home and high-value treats like freeze-dried meat when training in distracting, busy environments.

Reward your dog promptly for desired behavior.

4. Avoid over-repetition:

Repeating commands excessively can lead to your dog ignoring you. Give your dog a moment to process and respond to the command.

Instead of repeating the command over email in quick succession (“sit, sit, sit”), use hand gestures or treat lures to guide them into the desired position.

5. Generalize training in various environments:

Practice your dog’s skills in different environments with various distractions. This helps your dog generalize the behavior, making them responsive in various situations.

6. Set up your home for success:

Tanya recommends puppy-proofing a designated area to prevent unwanted behavior for new puppy owners. Limiting their access initially can reduce opportunities for trouble.

7. Focus on enrichment and activities:

Engage your dog in enrichment activities such as chewing, licking, sniffing, walking, running, and socializing with other pets and humans.

A mentally and physically stimulated dog is more likely to be content and well-behaved.

Behavior is the number one reason that dogs get returned to shelters. We need to help our dogs through different stages of their lives, from puppyhood through their senior years.

Our commitment to helping pets thrive in their forever homes is one reason we wanted Tanya to share her expertise.

Tanya’s tips can help you build a strong, positive relationship with your furry friend and help them become a well-mannered member of your family.

For more guidance on dog training or any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Tanya Lim and your team at Goodheart.

We’re here for you 24/7 and can refer you to a wide range of Denver resources if your pet’s behavior is an issue.

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