The foundation of training should be based on positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is the process of giving a dog (or person!) a reward to encourage the behavior you want, like getting a pay check for going to work. The idea is not to bribe the behavior but to train it using something your dog values.  Avoid using punishment such as leash corrections or yelling. Punishment can cause a dog to become confused and unsure about what is being asked of him.  It is important to remember that we can’t expect dogs to know what they don’t know – just like you wouldn’t expect a 2-year-old child to know how to tie his shoes. Patience will go a long way in helping your new puppy learn how to behave.
Training classes for young puppies are also an excellent way to socialize your new puppy to a variety of people, dogs, and other stimuli in a controlled environment. In addition, you will learn how to prevent problems before they can begin, or deal with them as they emerge, rather than having to find a way to correct problems that have already developed. Your puppy might also make some new friends of the same age. You could then visit these friends (or vice versa) with your puppy for social play and exercise sessions. Since the primary socialization period for dogs ends by 3 months of age, puppy socialization classes are most valuable for puppies 8 weeks of age and older. If all puppies in the class have had initial vaccinations, are healthy and parasite free, the health risks are low and the potential benefits are enormous. Discuss the location of classes in your area and when to start them with your veterinarian.
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After discussing it with your veterinarian to ensure your dog has all the necessary vaccines, you may wish to take your dog to group training classes or the dog park. Pay close attention to your dog’s body language to be sure he’s having a good time — and is not fearful or a dog park bully. If you’re unsure of what signs to watch for, check out this video on safety at the dog park.
At the Louisiana SPCA, our Training and Behavior team utilizes methods that are rooted in the sciences of animal learning and dog behavior to help you reach your behavior goals. From basic manners and advanced skills to fear and aggression, our trainers will help you build a positive, lasting relationship with your dog.  Email training@la-spca.org with any questions.  Check out our Training FAQ Page for more information on our training programs.
This first step of the stay will be done without leaving the dog. The handler will tell the dog “stay,” move their hand in a quick motion in front of the dogs face, and move out in front of the dog leaving with the leg furthest from the dog. The handler should be standing directly in front of the dog with little space between them. The handler should hold the leash directly above the dog without any slack (don’t choke the dog or pull too tight), then after a count of 10, the handler should walk all the way around the dog while keeping the leash tight; stop in the heeling position. After a count of 10, call exercise finish.

The most important concepts in dog training are positive reinforcement, repetition, and patience. You didn’t learn the alphabet in a day; it would be unfair to expect your dog to remember every command perfectly after only a few tries. End your training sessions before the dog starts getting bored or frustrated, and try again another time, and have fun! If you stay calm and positive, the dog will pick up on your attitude and learn faster.


“Leave it” is one of the basic dog commands that can transform your pet into a reliable pet that has a tremendous amount of will power. It will give you more control over preventing your pet from picking something up with his mouth that he is considering. Start training by placing something that your dog wants to have within reach and telling him “leave it.” He may grab it anyway for the first few times, but be patient and continue to work with him. As he approaches the item, keep saying “leave it.” If he gets too close, pull him back repeating the phrase. Don’t let him have it, but when he obeys, give him a reward in the form of a treat and praise. Repeat the process until he fully understands and becomes compliant.
If your dog exhibits extreme fears or aggression that is beyond what you are capable of handling, all is not lost. You can find a qualified and recommended dog trainer to work with your pet and help them move beyond whatever is causing the problem. In many cases, fear is behind extreme behaviors and a professional trainer is skilled at identifying the likely cause of the problem, then working with your dog to modify the extreme behaviors.
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Keep your dog’s training sessions short. Puppies have especially short attention spans, but all dogs need breaks so that they don’t get bored or distracted. Some puppies may only be able to focus on training for about five minutes at a time. Older dogs may last 15 or 20 minutes before becoming bored with the task at hand. A little playtime between training sessions is a great way to keep your dog focused and reward him for his hard work.
After the “call your dog” exercise, the dog should be sitting directly in front of the handler. At this point, the handler will say the dog’s name and “heel.” The handlers will take a step back with their left leg, pull the dog in a circle (like stirring a large witch’s pot) and stop so that the dog can sit directly at their side while stepping back into place with the left leg. The right leg should never move.

There is no formal apprenticeship system in dog training, but opportunities to work with other experienced trainers and a large variety of dogs is essential to your education. Volunteering with shelters and local rescue groups is also extremely helpful to introduce you to a range of canine personalities, breeds etc. When you look for a trainer to mentor with, make sure the that trainer is committed to furthering his or her own education, is open to learning about a variety of methods, and is devoted to humane training methods.
At first you are going to let the puppy see the food in your hand so that you will have her attention and can use it to guide her into position. As your puppy begins to comply more readily, you can start to hide the food in your hand, but give the command and repeat the motion or signal that she has learned to follow. Soon the puppy will come to expect the treat each time she performs the task. Then, signal and give the command, but when she performs the task, reward only with praise and give the puppy an affectionate pat. Next, you can begin to vary the frequency, giving praise with “good dog” and perhaps patting each time, but giving the food randomly, perhaps every 3 or 4 times. In time, the puppy should respond to either the hand signal or the command.
Get some valuable reassurance and reinforcements about continuing your training in a consistent manner as you take on the challenge of getting your dog to go down from a sit, down from a stand, sit from a down, and sit from a stand. You'll also tackle station and watch and evolve your recall from Pavlovian (rewards) to Premack (positive reinforcement). x
We just finished our 3rd private training session and can’t believe how much of a difference we see in our 8 1/2 month puppy, Omar. Our trainer Katrina has been an unbelievable wealth of knowledge — answering every question we had thoroughly, and proactively giving us additional relevant tips at every step. For anyone looking for excellent training for their dog... go to Andrea Arden Dog Training!!

Training clubs that run the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme - the largest dog training programme in the UK are a sensible place to begin. Here you will learn about every aspect of dog ownership from the Puppy Foundation Courses through to Bronze, Silver and Gold award levels. Go to GCDS Training Clubs in your County to find one near to you or email the GCDS Team (gcds@thekennelclub.org.uk) or call 0207 518 1011.
If you ever become frustrated with training your puppy, don’t get angry with him. Just quietly end the session and try again later in the day. Many dogs become nervous and will stop paying attention to their trainers if they are yelled at. They can become scared of training and decide that following directions is not for them. Stay calm and relaxed so that your puppy will learn in a positive environment.
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