How to Train Your Dog Better

Think about training the right way – you'll be more effective (and it's more fun, too).

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA
6-minute read
Episode #64

Be Prepared When Training Your Dog

Many people fall into the trap of reacting to what their dog does. They open the front door and the dog runs out--oops, now they’ve got an emergency. They let their four-month-old puppy out of his crate in the morning and then, when the puppy toddles off to the far corner of the living room and pees on the rug, they shout at him and hit the yellow pages looking for rug cleaners.

Preparation feels like more work, because you have to drag yourself out of your own inertia. Believe me, I’ve been there. But if you consider the longer term, preparation almost always saves you time and energy. Taking your pup out to her pee spot right away, even if you just realized you’re desperate for your coffee, winds up being less trouble than cleaning the rug. In some cases, like that of the dog bolting out the door, a little preparation in the form of a leash can save vet bills and heartbreak as well. (And, of course, you can teach your dog to wait for permission before going out an open door.)

The puppy who rushed out of her crate and peed on the rug has just practiced, you guessed it, peeing on the rug. The more practice she gets in peeing on the rug, the longer housetraining will take, and the higher the odds that it’ll never completely succeed. The dog whose guardian has always prevented him from dashing out the door will have an easier time learning to wait for permission to exit than the dog who’s had plenty of practice running out. Preparation prevents mistakes. The fewer the mistakes, the faster the training.

You ever notice all those Internet ads offering to sell you the mysterious secrets of dog training? Here they are: Focus on what you want from your dog, and teach her that. Teach yourself to notice and reward good behavior. Be prepared, so you can set your dog up to make the right choices. Love your dog. Have a good time.

I welcome your comments and questions – email dogtrainer@quickanddirtytips.com. And you can talk to me on Facebook, where, amazingly enough, I’m The Dog Trainer. Dogalini is me on Twitter. That’s it for this week – thanks for reading.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock


About the Author

Jolanta Benal, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA

Jolanta holds professional certifications in both training and behavior counseling and belongs to the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She also volunteered with Pet Help Partners, a program of the Humane Society of the United States that works to prevent pet relinquishment. Her approach is generally behaviorist (Pavlovian, Skinnerian and post-Skinnerian learning theory) with a big helping of ethology (animal behavior as observed in non-experimental settings).