There are plenty of great reasons to try dog training at home – home training is cheap, comfortable, and best of all, you learn a whole lot about your furry student along the way! Even if you already take group classes with a professional you’ll see a vast improvement once you start practicing some of those lessons at home.
The first thing you should do, before you even start dog training at home, is read a couple of quality how-to guides on the subject of positive reinforcement training. Clicker training is a great place to start – it’s effective, positive, and can be used on dogs at any experience level.
Once you have a few great dog training books in hand, it’s time to move on to the fun stuff: accessories! Dog training at home is easier when you have the right tools. The following checklist is just a starter kit – you will pick up more neat tricks of the trade as you go along.
Tool Checklist for Dog Training at Home
1. High-Impact Toy
Energetic canines have difficulty concentrating if they haven’t exercised, so you’ll want to go on a long walk or engage in a quick game of tug so that your pooch will stay interested and engaged during dog training at home. Experiment to find out which toy or game works best to calm your hyper pooch and try to stay consistent.
2. Basic Clicker
A clicker is just a plastic noisemaker: you could buy one specifically for dog training at home, or you could use something simple like a clicky ballpoint pen. The sound of the click will let your pup know the exact moment that they have completed a command successfully – a clicker is just a communication tool used for positive reinforcement.
3. Targeting Stick
These devices go by many names, but a targeting stick is just a retractable pointer with a highly visible ball on the end. You can teach your dog to follow this target with his or her nose, making it easier to walk through complicated tricks or behaviors.
4. Treats and Treat Bag
Look for small, low-calorie treats that are easy to eat. Many owners choose to dispense a treat after a dog successfully completes a trick or command to positively reinforce the good behavior. You’ll want to keep these treats in a bag at your waist for hands-free dog training at home.
5. Training Journal
Keeping a journal for dog training at home allows you to keep track of the commands you use, chart progress, and make notes about what works and what doesn’t. Journaling helps dedicated trainers maintain consistency, and consistency is a critical part of the canine learning process.
This toolkit just covers the basics – as you train you’ll see which tools and training styles work for best for your pet’s unique personality. It is always good to begin with all the necessary resources to prevent backtracking later. Dog training at home should be fun and simple, and so should the tools that you use!