Whether you’ve just acquired a puppy or have taken over ownership of an older  dog, you’ll want to begin training him right away. If you’ve never owned a dog  before you’ll find that it can work. It can also be a source of joy and deep  friendship. 

You may not know what to do to train your dog. You have the option of hiring a  trainer but you may prefer to train him yourself. Here is a step-by-step guide to  dog training at home. 

First and foremost you want to make sure your dog understands that you are the  master. This also includes other members of the family. Children especially should  be respected by the dog. 

Housebreaking is next on the list. No one wants ruined carpets or a smelly home.  Your dog should be shown right away where it is acceptable for him to go. 

Your dog also needs to understand that he has territorial limits. Put up some  markers or spray the perimeter of your yard with a very dilute mixture of water and  ammonia. Put a leash on him and walk him around the perimeter of your property. If  he begins to cross the line you’ve marked out for him, say no in a stern voice and  give him a mild jerk with the leash. Continue this until he no longer tries to venture  off. 

Mealtime is a great opportunity for training your dog at home. You probably won’t  want him begging at the table. After the family has eaten, set his food in front of  him in another room. Teach him to sit and wait for the food to be presented to him.  If he comes to the table he needs to be taken back to another room to wait for his  turn to eat.  

Once you’ve established your authority with your dog you can begin teaching to  sit, stay, fetch, and so forth. When you give a verbal command it’s also a good  idea to use hand signals. A deliberate voice rather than one rising in pitch will lead  to better results. Always lavish your dog with praise when he does what you  command. 

If you find that you’re having difficulty with training your dog at home you may  want to seek the help of a professional trainer. There are also some great sources  of information within dog training books and on the internet. Here are two  especially good sources:

The Dog Whisperer is a nationally syndicated show about dog training. The  website for this show is called “Cesar’s Way”. The web address is http:// www.cesarsway.com. 

IAMS has some helpful pointers for problem behaviors at http://www.iams.com/ iams/pet-health/dog-obedience.jsp 

Once you’ve accomplished what you want with your dogs basic training you can  begin to have some real fun. By this time he’ll be ever so eager to please you and  you can teach him some new tricks. Observe your dogs natural quirky behaviors  too. If they’re cute or funny you may want to pick up on these and come up with  some very unique tricks.  

Good luck and have fun with training your dog at home!