It really sucks having to wait for a professional you hired to come and do their job, especially when you have a puppy that is chewing up everything or an adult dog that is having difficulty dealing with something. Lately, dog trainers are in very high demand and many are booking out 6 to 8 weeks or more! I know here at Sits n Wiggles we are!
So, what can you do in the meantime to help your dog behave better and your life be a little easier.
- Enrichment: Enrichment is a fancy word that means giving your dog species-specific activities. Such as sniffing, foraging for food, or chasing “prey”. Check out our blog on our Favorite Enrichment Toys.
- Gather Your Training Tools: Once we do start to work together you’ll need a number of “training tools”, these items will make training your dog a lot easier. You’ll need a marker (or clicker), treats, and a treat pouch at the bare minimum. Here is my list of Favorite Training Tools.
- Set Up Your Management: Management tools help prevent a dog from practicing unwanted behaviors. If your dog pulls on a leash, a no-pull harness would be helpful. Barks at the front window? Window cling will solve that issue! Jumps or barks at people when they enter your home, a baby gate will work wonders. Deep dive into our favorite management tools HERE.
- Have Your Dog Pick Their Favorite Treat: What treat does your dog go ABSOLUTELY NUTS for? It could be something as simple as their kibble or a commercial treat. But maybe it’s chicken, cheese, or peanut butter. Time to test it out and see!
- Bringing Home Fido: If you just adopted an adult dog read our blog bringing home an adult dog.
- Bringing Home Puppy: Start now on puppy training and socialization. Read our blog on Bringing Home Puppy and start working on Puppy’s Rule Of 12.
- Start Training: Now that you have your chosen marker and treats, you can start training! Charge your marker by using it (.i.e. Click it if it’s a clicker, say “Yes!” if you’re using a work, give a thumbs up if your pup is deaf) and then immediately feed the treat. Repeat! Start asking for simple behaviors like looking at you when you say their name. When they look, mark, and feed. Sit, down, and paw are often other easy cues to learn.
- Walk Your Dog at Night: If your dog is reactive it is often difficult to have a peaceful walk with your dog. I recommend walking them during “off” hours. Later at night or early in the morning. I also love finding unused parks, cemeteries, or industrial/office parks. The chance of running into one of your pup’s triggers there is much lower. Plus all the new things to sniff! They’ll be a happy and tired doggo!
- Start Muzzle Training: If your dog is reactive, especially towards people, then muzzle training is a must. It can be a slow process so the sooner you start the better. This video is the gold standard for muzzle training.
- Do the SMaRT50 Game: I love this “game”. I use it a lot for dogs I foster. This game is perfect for all dogs no matter age, breed, or behavior issues. This helps teach them the rules of your home. They sit next to the kitchen counter instead of counter-surfing? Mark and reward! They don’t bark at the neighbor coming home? Mark and reward! They get off the couch when asked? Mark and reward! HERE is the link to the details of SMaRT50.