I get asked all the time how we trained our dog, because he really is well behaved. I would like to just credit him and say that he is just exceptionally smart, but I know that’s not all of it. I won’t claim to be an expert in dog training, because I haven’t trained very many. But, I will say that I think we did a good job with Jake!
The most important thing in dog training is to remember that it takes time and you have to be consistent. Puppies need a schedule, and they will adjust to it. It will make your life so much easier if you start this when you first get them so they can get used to you. You also need to reward them when they show the behavior that you are expecting.
When we first got home with Jake, we made sure to take him outside every thirty minutes. When we took him out, we would stay out until he went. Then we would bring him in and praise him and give him a treat. He picked up on this fast, and he only had one accident in the house. He was even quick to learn to sit at the door when he needed to go.
We also never had any trouble with him chewing on things. I believe this was because we made sure to give him lots of different chew toys and bones. This way he didn’t want to chew on our shoes or socks.
We also kept all of our stuff put up that he might chew on. When he did occasionally get a towel, we would swat him, take it away, and tell him no. Now, he will take towels, socks, gloves, hats – pretty much anything he can find, but he doesn’t chew on them. He just wants to be chased. When we say no, he drops them. I think it also helped that we gave him a lot of attention and spent a lot of time with him. He wasn’t really ever left alone to chew up anything.
The hardest thing for me was crate training. When we started this, he would cry and whine and I could not handle it! Jeremy was the strong one during this training. We would put him in his crate and leave for 20-30 minutes at a time, just so he could get used to it. We would give him a treat, so he would go in and we also left a TV on for him. It really didn’t take that long to train him, and I think I hated it more than he did. After he was house trained and we knew he wouldn’t chew up anything we started leaving him out. Usually when we came home, he was laying in his crate anyways. He got to where he would sleep in there at night too.
What really amazes me is that when Jake was a baby, we let him get on the couch. We had some old furniture then and it was okay. A few years later we got new furniture and we put a sheet over it so he could still get on it. Once we bought our house, we took the sheet off and he wasn’t allowed on there. He has not ever tried to get on it since we have taken the sheet off.
I don’t know if he just thinks he can’t since the sheet isn’t there, or if it’s something different and he doesn’t want to. But it is amazing how smart he is. He will go to my father-in-law’s house and get on his couch. He knows which one he is allowed on, and that is the only one he gets up on. I think we were just blessed with a very smart dog!
One of my roommates in college had a lab, and I can remember her getting so mad because it chewed up everything! That dog chewed up her TV remote! We have been very lucky with how easy Jake was to train, and how well he minds.
We make sure that Jake gets lots of exercise everyday. We take him for long walks, or he goes on a run with me. This keeps him from getting bored and tearing stuff up. Plus, I love to see him happy!
I’m not expert, this is just what has worked for me! The main advice I can offer is to be consistent and give a puppy a schedule. They will adjust to it, and it will help you both.