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Basic Obedience Training for Adult Dogs: What You Need to Know

Learning about obedience training for adult dogs is essential. If you have recently rescued an adult dog, you will quickly find out just how important it is.

If you have an adult dog in your life that hasn’t had any basic obedience training, you probably know this already.

Making your dog man’s best friend requires effort. We have to teach them how to live in our world. Obedience training can make life much more enjoyable — for both the human and the dog.

If you are trying to figure out where to start with training your adult dog, here is what you need to know.

Obedience Training for Adult Dogs: 3 Methods

There is more than one way to train a dog. And what works for one dog might not work for another.

Some dogs shut down when they are given a correction. Others are more strong-willed and are a nightmare to live with if you don’t correct bad behaviors.

Some dogs are very food motivated. Others could care less about the treat in your hand but would do anything in the world for a tennis ball.

So, it’s important to know what will work for your dog’s temperament.

Here are a few different training methods that have proven to work well with obedience training for adult dogs. You may have to try more than one to figure out what works best for your dog.

And never, ever underestimate just how beneficial it could be to hire a professional trainer. Their experience with many different dogs is invaluable and well worth the cost.

1. Obedience training for adult dogs: Positive training

Positive reinforcement is an effective way to train your dog. In addition to training your dog, this method also helps you build a strong bond with your four-legged friend.

The premise behind training your dog with positive reinforcement is simple. When your dog offers a behavior you want, you reward them with something they like.

The most common way to provide positive reinforcement is with treats. You can also use treats to lure your dog into the behavior you want, such as sitting or lying down.

When it comes to obedience training for adult dogs (or dogs of any age for that matter), you want to reward them immediately when they give you the behavior you are looking for.

For example, you lure your dog into a sit with a treat. When it sits, you give him the treat. Easy peasy (for the most part).

Your dog not only learns to sit on command, but they also learn that they get good things when they sit on command. And that those good things come from you.

2. Obedience training for adult dogs: Clicker training

You may have come across a tool called a “clicker” while searching for information on obedience training for adult dogs.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a clicker by itself will magically train your dog. It won’t. But it can be an incredibly useful tool once you understand how they work.

A clicker makes a clicking sound when you push the button. The click is a marker. Simply put, this sound tells your dog that what they are doing right that very moment is what you want them to do.

As soon as you click, reward your dog immediately. They need to know that the click means they are getting a reward NOW.

First, you mush teach your dog that the sound of the clicker means they are going to get a treat. To teach this, just press the button on your clicker and follow up by giving your dog a treat.

Repeat this several times, in several short sessions, for several days. Keep practicing until your dog looks for the treat as soon as they hear the click. This exercise is called “priming the clicker.”

3. Obedience training for adult dogs: Balanced training

As mentioned earlier, some dogs need corrections as well as positive reinforcement. Balanced training uses corrections to stop unwanted behaviors in addition to rewarding good behavior.

Often, balanced trainers use tools such as prong collars and e-collars. These tools don’t harm your dog.

In fact, prong collars are actually safer than flat collars, which can damage a dog’s windpipe when it pulls on the leash.

E-collars, which are mistakenly called shock collars, work the same way a TENS unit does. They provide an uncomfortable stimulation, but they don’t actually shock the dog.

For some dogs, such as breeds that are working dogs, they are necessary and can make all the difference in obedience training for adult dogs.

However, you shouldn’t use any of these tools until a professional trainer shows you how to use them properly.

Obedience Training for Adult Dogs: Basic Commands

Now that we’ve covered a few of the most common obedience training methods for adult dogs, let’s talk about what to teach them.

There are a few commands that every dog should know. These skills can make your dog easier to live with. You will also build a stronger bond with your dog while teaching them these skills.

Taking the time to work on obedience training with your dog can help your dog understand what is expected of him in the human world. As a result, obedience training can help your dog become more confident and well-adjusted.

Look at me

Getting your dog to pay attention to you is the first step in obedience training for adult dogs.

To teach your dog to make eye contact with you, hold a treat up by your eyes, and say “Look at me” in a high-pitched voice to get your dog’s attention.

At first, you may need to show your dog the treat and then move it up to your face. Although this is a simple skill, it can make a lot of difference when you need your dog to focus on you.

Practice this exercise inside where there are no distractions at first. Then slowly move up to environments where there are more distractions, such as your yard.

Eventually, you’ll want to practice this in a lot of different places with more things competing for his attention, such as a park or city street.

But don’t rush it. When it comes to dog training, the motto is “slow is fast.”

Sit

Teaching your dog to sit is one of the first commands you should work on. Using a treat as a lure makes this really easy to train.

Hold the treat in your hand and show it to the dog. Then slowly raise the treat up in the air. The dog’s nose should follow the treat. As the dog raises its nose, his hind end will drop down into a sit.

Once your dog sits, praise him and reward him by giving him the treat you used to lure him. If you are using a clicker, click the moment his bottom hits the floor and immediately give him the treat.

If your dog isn’t interested enough in your treat to follow it with his nose, try using a higher value treat.

He may not be motivated by a piece of kibble, but a piece of cheese or chicken could be a whole different story.

Some dogs are more food motivated than others. If your dog is not interested in food treats, try using a favorite toy instead.

Remember that your dog doesn’t speak English. You are not just teaching him the behavior; you are also teaching him what the word “sit” means.

Down

You can teach your dog to down on command the same way you taught them to sit.

To use a treat to lure your dog into a down, it is easiest to start with your dog in a sit. Hold the treat in your hand and show it to your dog.

Lower the treat to the ground and then slide it towards you. As your dog’s nose follows, he should lie down. When your dog’s body is flat on the ground, praise and reward him or click and treat.

Once your dog has this under his belt, start teaching him to down from a standing position. This step is important so that you avoid making your dog think that he can only move into a down from a sit.

Loose leash walking

Loose leash walking is a skill that every dog needs to have. It saves both your arm and their throats. No one wants to walk a dog that incessantly pulls on the leash.

We’ve all seen the dogs at the end of their leash, pulling so hard they gag themselves. Walking a dog like this isn’t fun for the human or the canine.

There are different ways to train a dog to walk on a loose leash. But they all have the same basic principle behind them: your dog doesn’t get to move forward if the leash is tight.

As soon as the leash gets tight, stop moving. Your dog will eventually turn around and look at you, which makes the leash go slack again. When this happens, begin walking forward again.

Another way to teach loose leash walking is to turn around and walk the other direction as soon as the leash goes tight.

Or you can have your dog circle around you and sit on your left side in what is referred to as the “Heel” position.

Choose the method that works best for you and stick to it. The rule is that the leash has to be loose for your dog to get where he wants to go. And make sure to start where there are the least distractions.

Dogs repeat behaviors that work for them, and moving forward is self-rewarding. Training loose leash walking can take time. At first, you may not even make it out of your driveway.

It will eventually click in your dog’s mind. However, some dogs have a harder time with this than others.

Depending on your dog’s temperament, it may be worth looking into various types of training collars, such as prongs or head collars. But make sure you educate yourself on how to use these tools properly.

Come

How important it is to train your dog to come when called cannot be overstated. This skill can quite literally mean the difference between life and death. So it’s a vital part of obedience training for adult dogs.

To start teaching a solid recall, begin with the “Come” game. To do this, you will need two people. Begin inside where there are fewer distractions.

A room with a hard floor is best so that your dog can hear the treat hit the floor.

Each of you will stand on one side of the room. One of you will throw a treat onto the ground. When your dog starts to go after the treat, say “Come.”

As soon as he eats the treat, the other person throws a treat on the ground and repeats the process. Take turns doing this in rapid succession. Slowly increase the distance between you.

To train a solid recall, there are a couple of rules you must follow.

First, never tell your dog to come unless you can enforce it. Otherwise, he will just learn that he can ignore you. Use a long-line when you are training outside. If he doesn’t come when called, use the long-line to reel him in.

Second, never punish your dog after you tell him to come. Always have a reward for him when he comes to you. You want him to know that coming to you means he will get something good.

Stay

Stay is another important basic command that your dog needs to know.

Start by telling your dog to sit. Tell him to stay. Then tell him to come. Next, put him in a sit, tell him to stay, and take a step back. Slowly continue to increase the distance.

You should also add different positions. For example, put your dog in a down and tell him to stay. Practice this the same way you practiced the sit-stay.

In addition, practice your dog’s stay without calling him to you. Make him stay in the same position until you return to him and release him.

Eventually, you should be able to completely leave the room, and your dog should still be in the same position when you return or call him to you.

Obedience Training for Adult Dogs: Advanced Skills

Once you complete basic obedience training for adult dogs, you can move on to some more advanced skills.

These are also important things to teach your dog. All of these skills can make living with your dog easier.

They can also make your dog happier. So don’t stop once you reach the bare minimum.

Instead, move on to training the skills below.

Leave It

Teaching a solid “Leave It” is a must when it comes to living with a dog. Actually, this skill can also save your dog’s life. And it is easier to train than you might think.

To start, put a couple of pieces of their food in your hand. Close your hand around the treats and let your dog sniff your hand. Your dog may even paw at your fist trying to get to the food.

Whatever you do, don’t open your hand until your dog relaxes and stops trying to get to the treats in your hand.

Once he backs off, open your hand, give a release word such as “All Done,” and let your dog have the food. When your dog starts to learn this game, add the command “Leave It.”

Next, start the game over with your hand open. Just be ready to close your hand if your dog goes for them.

Then, start placing the treats on the ground — but stay close at first and be ready to cover them with your hand if he tries to go for them. Again, don’t let him have the food until he backs off and you give him permission.

When your dog really gets good at this, you can use “Leave It” to tell your dog to ignore things on the ground or anything else that is distracting him, such as people or other dogs.

Wait

Teaching your pet to “Wait” is another important part of obedience training for adult dogs. It’s also another skill that can save your dog’s life.

How? You can prevent your dog from rushing out the door every time you open it or from jumping out of a car.

To start training “Wait,” put our dog on his leash. Have him sit before you open the door. Tell him to “Wait.” If he starts to move, quickly close the door, put him back in a sit, and start the exercise over.

You should always walk through the door before your dog. So have him sit and wait until you give him a release command such as “All Done” or “Let’s Go.”

Give It

“Give It” is another advanced skill to teach your dog. It can often be overlooked, though. That’s at least until you need your dog to give you something that it has in its mouth.

The easiest way to teach this is to make a trade with your dog. Offer a high-value treat when you tell your dog to “Give It.” In order to take the treat, your dog will have to drop what it is holding in its mouth.

Training your dog to “Give It” can make a game of fetch much more fun for both of you. It can also help keep your dog safe if he picks up something dangerous.

When teaching this skill, always offer your dog something better than what he has. That way, he makes the exchange willingly and doesn’t feel like you are taking something away from him.

Place

This skill can make it much easier to have visitors or answer your door. To teach “Place,” give your dog a specific spot, such as his bed.

A raised bed often works best for teaching this because it is easier for your dog to discern where he should be.

Have him get on his spot and put him in a down, then tell him to stay. Work on this skill the same way you taught him to stay.

With practice, you can train your dog to stay in a down on this spot until you release him.

The “Place” command can make it so that you can open your door for the pizza guy or invite company into your home without your dog jumping on them.

Obedience Training for Adult Dogs Is Possible

Don’t buy into the old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. That is nothing more than a myth.

Obedience training for adult dogs is not only possible; it is highly effective. Teaching your dog these skills will improve both of your lives in a myriad of ways.

So grab some treats and get started. I promise you will never regret having a well-trained dog. And you also won’t regret building a stronger relationship with your best friend.

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Top 25 Halloween Pet Costumes

Ghost and goblin season is right around the corner. You’ve pulled all of your decorations out, making your house as spooky as you can, and now it’s time for costumes. You already know what you’re going to wear, but what about your fur baby? You need Halloween pet costumes too! After all, your furry little partner in crime deserves to have some fun also.

If you’ve taken a peek and still can’t decide on a costume for your fur friend, don’t sweat it. Pet costumes are becoming more and more popular, so you’re in luck. You can find spooky ready-made costumes just about anywhere. Heck, you can even find a DIY tutorial if you’re feeling crafty.

Our Top 25 Halloween Pet Costumes

Thanks to the growing popularity of Halloween pet costumes, you should have no trouble finding something. Well, except maybe that you want more than one for your four-legged friend. But hey, who said you just need one? Costume changes aren’t just for the rich and famous. Pick only one, or a few, and have a blast scaring trick-or-treaters.

1. Puptini

If you’re looking for a fun costume for your pooch, this one is a keeper. It’s a simple DIY Halloween costume. All you need is a cone collar and a garnish of your choice. So whether it’s shaken or stirred, this puptini costume is sure to be a hit.

Don’t want to DIY it? You can buy the puptini costume here.

2. Lion

Some classics never get old, and lion costumes are no exception. Not sure how to transform your fur baby into a ferocious king? Well, what’s the first thing you picture when you think of a lion?

For me, the first thing that comes to mind is its gorgeous golden mane. So if your pet wouldn’t do well in a full-body outfit, a mane is all you need to pull off this look.

3. Horse and Cowboy

This horse and cowboy getup is perfect if you have an overactive dog, especially if you worry about upsetting party guests. We think your guests will be so amused by the cowboy bobbing up and down that they won’t even notice the zoomies. This costume is sure to keep the laughs coming.

Want to join the fun? Play into your dog’s rambunctiousness by dressing up as a Sheriff.

4. Hot Dog

Everyone knows that Dachshunds and hot dog costumes go together like wieners in a bun. But, any size dog could rock this backyard barbecue fave. You can purchase a large hot dog costume here.

If you can’t find one, for whatever reason, there’s no need to change costumes. You can still make a hot dog costume by following a tutorial similar to the one posted here. So whether it’s homemade or store-bought, this is a costume everyone will relish!

5. Pumpkin

Pumpkin costumes are a lot like Cher, they’ve been around for what seems like forever, and they never get old. This Halloween favorite is also super cute and works for just about any pet. Plus, you don’t necessarily need some elaborate costume.

It truly doesn’t take much to turn your little guy or gal into everyone’s favorite gourd. I’ve seen people pull off this costume with an orange sweater, felt, and some green pipe cleaners. However, if watching costume tutorial videos isn’t your thing, you can swing by a local store and pick up a pumpkin costume or order one here.

6. The Hulk

The Hulk is a perfect costume to highlight your pet’s strength. You can either buy one here or make one yourself. You’ll need a pet-friendly dye or a green long sleeve shirt and some ripped pants. Whichever route you go, we know it’ll be a Hulk smash!

Did I mention that you can up the cool points by coordinating with the kiddos to form the Avengers? You’re welcome.

7. Teddy Bear

This is one of the cutest Halloween costumes out there. Hopefully, your dog doesn’t mind attention.There’s just something about teddy bears that makes people want to hug them. So, if ghoulish and scary aren’t your cup of tea, you can purchase a super cute teddy bear costume here.

8. Unicorn

This costume is more than fun. It’s magical. Trick or treaters are sure to light up when they see your buddy dressed up as a unicorn. Plus, it’s a great way to get back at your pet for destroying your favorite pair of shoes. The neighborhood pack will never let them live this one down. Grab yours here.

9. Little Devil

Adding this costume to our list was a no-brainer. I mean, devil costumes are a Halloween staple. Plus, it doesn’t take much to portray this sinister character.

Even if your pet is a perfect angel, throwing on some pointy red horns will do the trick. But, if your buddy doesn’t mind dressing up, you can purchase a cape and horn set here.

10. Claw Machine

This costume is an adorable take on the arcade favorite we all know and love to this day! What I enjoy most about it is that it works for any pet. Seriously, just use a little imagination, and you can put your own twist on this Halloween costume.

One way to customize this rocking costume is to rename it. For example, if this is for a dog, you could call this costume a pick-a-pup.

11. Chucky

If you’d prefer a scary costume with a wow factor, look no further. Chucky has been causing terror for over 20 years and shows no signs of slowing down. It truly is the perfect costume if you’re okay with turning your sweet angel into a homicidal doll.

Chucky’s wardrobe isn’t too hard to replicate. You’ll need his signature overalls and a red and white striped shirt. Then, the rest is up to your imagination.

If you’d rather leave this costume to the pros, you can snag a Chucky costume here.

12. Scooby-Doo

If Halloween mysteries are right up your alley, then grab a Scooby-Doo costume for your pup here. ¬†After all, no bad guy stands a chance against America’s favorite doggy detective. Plus, you can join in on the fun by dressing up as one of the other cool characters like Velma or Shaggy.

 

13. Bath Pouf

Talk about adorable! The bath pouf costume is off the charts cute for any household pet. Plus, it’s fun and easy to make.

According to the DIY videos, this sudsy ensemble doesn’t appear too challenging to make. Although each tutorial may call for different materials, one material they all have in common is decorative mesh.

14. Yoda

Even a non-Star Wars fan will recognize this endearing little character. So, if your pet was born to be a Jedi Master, then consider a Yoda costume, you must. It’s sure to be a hit.

15. Taco

Do you want a pet costume that will give your neighbors something to taco bout? Then dressing your furry loved one up as this delightful street food seems like the obvious choice.

Grab your little amigo a taco costume here.

16. Bumblebee

Bumblebee pet costumes are so cute. I’m not sure if it’s the stinger or the antennas that make this costume so adorable. Regardless, this costume is sure to have the neighbors buzzing.

17. Pirate

Forget the booty. This costume is all about stealing hearts. If your pet enjoys swashbuckling adventures, then they may already have a little pirate in them. If so, dressing them up in a classic pirate getup might have your buccaneer scallywagging their tail with excitement.

You can snag your pet some pirate duds here.

18. Chewbacca

You can’t go wrong with a Chewbacca costume. After all, he’s one of the most loved characters from Star Wars. Chewbacca’s brown locks also make it an obvious choice for a long-haired pup like a Shih Tzu.

19. Ghost

Children have been cutting up their mom’s favorite bed sheets for centuries, trying to pull off this Halloween staple. So why not pass this spooky tradition on to the family pet. If your pup can tolerate wearing a bedsheet, go for it. Just make sure the eye cutouts don’t interfere with your dog’s vision.

20. Chia Pet

If you’re an 80’s baby, then you more than likely owned a Chia Pet. Even though I loved mine, I never thought of dressing my furbaby as one for Halloween. Dressing your pet up as a figurine shaped like a pet is wildly creative.

With that being said, this fun and nostalgic costume appears to be a DIY project only. Luckily, you can find straight forward tutorials online.

21. Flower

A simple flower can brighten up the gloomiest of days. So why not add a little sunshine to this spooky holiday. Sure, no one does a flower costume quite like Will Smith, but I bet your little poppy would give him a run for his money.

You can pick your flower costume here.

22. Super Pet

Move over, Iron Man. There’s a new superhero in town. Armed with the incredible ability to melt hearts, your little hero is sure to win over the neighborhood. Did I mention that it is one of the easiest Halloween pet costumes to put together?

23. Sheriff

Does your pet have what it takes to be the new Sheriff in town? Or should I say Sheruff? Then what are you waiting for?

You can either find spiffy sheriff duds here or throw something together yourself. While I haven’t seen many instructional videos for this costume, it doesn’t take much to create this character. Just dress your pal in a vest, attach a sheriff badge, and a cowboy hat.

24. Rufferee

With this costume, dogs no longer have to be a Halloween spectator. As a rufferee, they’ll be getting in on all the action. Also, think about how cute it would be if their little human dressed up as an athlete.

25. Kissing Booth

This DIY Halloween costume is so awesome. It’ll make you want to kiss your pet. Literally! You may even have a hard time keeping the neighborhood from sneaking smooches.

However, if you’re a philanthropist at heart, this could work to your advantage. If your pet doesn’t mind affection, consider making this a real kissing booth and ask for donations. Then, donate the profits to a local animal shelter.

Our Top Halloween Costumes

Putting together a list of top 25 Halloween pet costumes was challenging. So, we know choosing just one can be ruff. Hopefully, our picks helped make your decision easier.

However, if you’re still trying to narrow your choices down, don’t stress too much. Halloween is about having fun. After all, I doubt your pet will hold your costume choice against you.

We’d love to hear a few of your favorite pet costumes. Please share them with us below!