Sign In

Tips for training your new dog while you’re stuck at home

April 27, 2020

Caroline Gresham and her family have been thinking about adding a new member to their family for a couple of years.
So her family, like many others, decided that now might be the chance since they are spending more time at home.
“Zachary (Dad) spent an hour one day pretending to be a dog for the kids. After that he was like, ‘It’s time. We’re getting a dog,'” Gresham said.
They adopted Penny, a 4-year-old pit bull mix and have had a great experience so far. They do, however, wish they could get some professional help in one area.

“She goes a little crazy on walks when she sees another dog. We’d like to train her to walk better.”
Their story probably sounds familiar to many new dog owners. Sheltering at home has its advantages for adopting and training new pets, including more time for walks and play.
But in-person training classes with professionals are restricted, and social-distancing rules mean you can’t socialize a new dog at a park.
Here are a few things that new owners can keep in mind to help train their new best friend while stuck at home.

Like meetings, parties and family gatherings, dog training has pivoted to video conferencing. There are plenty of online resources and videos for training tips, but Mark Spivak, a professional dog trainer for over 30 years, says to make sure you’re finding the right resource for your dog.
“Each dog and family are unique. Internet media and books pose the disadvantage of not customizing instruction for the characteristics of the dog and family,” said Spivak, president of Comprehensive Pet Therapy. “Moreover, videos and print media do not provide feedback.”
Live video training classes offer owners a chance to learn more about how to best train their dogs, even though the dog is not getting a hands-on experience with a professional dog trainer.
Victoria Stilwell, dog behavioral expert at and star of the TV show “It’s Me or the Dog,” however, says that the best time to start is still now.
“Don’t wait until we can all get out again,” she said. “We don’t know when that’s going to be, so start now.”

Socializing your dog with new people and other dogs is an important aspect to get them adjusted. It’s especially important for puppies. But there are things you can do to help your pup get used to a new environment while staying safe.
“You can still expose your dog to riding in the car. You can still take your dog for a walk,” Stilwell said. She says if puppies have had their vaccinations, then you can put them in your arms and carry them out for a walk.
“Remember socialization is not just about touching. So just by going for a simple walk, that is exposing your puppy to a whole load of different experiences. They are seeing different people, they’re seeing other dogs.”
Don’t forget alone time for socializing your new pet. While being available right now for your new dog’s every barking command can be great, you do not want separation anxiety when you do need to leave them alone. Stilwell suggests leaving your new dog in a different room a little bit every day.
Spivak says that giving dogs time inside their crate can be helpful for housetraining puppies and breaking in older dogs to new homes.
“The crate reduces the probability of housebreaking and chewing errors during times when the family can not supervise the pet.” And, Spivak adds, “At least until the dog becomes comfortable with new routines, outdoor toileting areas, and existing household pets.”

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Izzy The Therapy Dog

    There is something different strolling the halls of schools in Moody this year and she’s soft, gentle and loves kids. Her name is Izzy and she is a two-year-old Goldendoodle, turned therapy dog. Her owner, Sgt. Ron Richardson, with the Moody Police Department, saw a video of a therapy dog being used in Cullman County […]

    Read more

    Animal Advocate

    Penny, a spaniel mix who works as a canine advocate for domestic violence victims through Crisis Center North, is nearing retirement. She was adopted from Action for Animals in Derry Township and attends court dates with victims to provide emotional support. But before she retires, she has one more job. She needs to train an […]

    Read more

    Dog Chow Campaign

    In honor of National Service Dog Awareness Month, Purina Dog Chow is launching its third annual “Service Dog Salute” campaign. A service dog can be life-changing in helping veterans with PTSD and other post-combat challenges. Unfortunately, due to the cost and time it takes to train a service dog, less than 1% of veterans in […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog In School

    A Derry primary school this week welcomed a new member of staff – its very own therapy dog. Joy will be used to provide comfort and reassurance to pupils at St Oliver Plunkett Primary School after studies have shown that therapy dogs have a positive impact on children’s mood and behaviour. St Oliver Plunkett is […]

    Read more

    Polices Therapy Dog

    The Great Barrington police department is holding a swearing in ceremony Friday for its new therapy dog, Officer Beko. Beko is a 16-week old black lab and works with Officer Kris Balestro. Beko’s training, certification and care are funded by donations from the local community. Officer Beko is the first therapy dog to join a […]

    Read more

    BarkBox Launching Essentials

    If your dog loves to monitor your work when you’re cooking, generally gets underfoot the entire time and sees “taste tester” as their official title, these new dog toys may be essential in your kitchen. Starting Oct. 1, Bed, Bath & Beyond is introducing a new line, specifically tailored to your dog’s kitchen needs. In […]

    Read more