This post is pawwered by Chicken Soup For The Soul® Dog Food, who want to spread the word about their delicious products! Bringing home a new dog is a huge responsibility, no matter how old they are. One of the most important things you can do is ensuring your dog develops the behavioral, social, and physical skills needed to live a good life in our world! How you train your dog can dramatically shape their personality and future. At Chicken Soup, we’re huge fans of training our dogs through positive reinforcement using our very own scrumptious training treats. In order to make sure you’re setting your tail-wagger up for success, here’s a checklist of 5 crucial training and behavioral tips using Chicken Soup’s dog treats to get you started. 1. Basic commandsSit, Stay, Come, Leave It: These are the golden commands that can make your life so much easier. “Sit” and “Stay” help teach your dog patience and these two commands come in handy when you know you’re dog is in a state of excitement. “Come” is one of those commands that will help you get their attention and serves as a good command when you need to distract your dog from what they’re doing. “Leave it” is best used for when they fixate on something, whether it’s destroying your shoe or trying to steal a treat off the streets. 2. Learning about their space in your home It’s important for your dog to love their bed/crate and know that that’s their space to claim. Having consistent spots in the house helps them feel secure since they have a natural instinct to den. Some dogs take to this more naturally while others need more coaxing, especially if it’s a crate or a bed placed in a spot of the house that’s not their favorite. The best way to get them to like their nook is to reward them with a Chicken Savory Stick when they are in the bed/crate. Soon enough they’ll begin to develop a positive association with the area and automatically go their designated spots! 3. Teaching them about boundaries Dogs respond well to boundaries as long as they have been clearly defined. If your dog isn’t allowed to chew shoes, make sure you say a stern “No” and swap the shoe for one of their toys so they know what’s acceptable. Similarly if your dog isn’t allowed on the couch, gently push them off and when they stay down reward ’em with a Peanut Butter Crunchy Bite and tons of praise. But make sure you stick to these rules. If you allow them on the couch sometimes and don’t at other times it’ll confuse your dog and make it harder for them to know what’s ok and what’s not. 4. Go Potty Older adopted dogs, are usually house-broken but that doesn’t mean that they won’t have accidents while they try and get used to their new environment. The best way to train a puppy or dog to go potty in the right places is to deliberately walk to the spot when you know they need to go and when they do go reward them with praise and Chicken Soup treats. By constantly reinforcing the behavior you’ll be able to get them on a steady routine where both you and the pup know when it’s time to go! 5. Teaching them to be ok with being home alone. If you’ve managed to train your pup to like their crate then leaving them home shouldn’t be too difficult. But for those of you who don’t crate, the best way to get your pup to not worry when you leave is to stagger the amount of time you’re gone and reinforce the good behavior with treats. First you can start by leaving them for 5 minutes. Come back and reward them if they don’t howl. Gradually increase the amount of time you’re gone. With some patience and time your dog will eventually learn that when you leave it doesn’t mean you’ll never come back. This a great way to also build trust between you and your dog. Once they start to trust they’ll be more at ease. My humans have helped me become a happy, healthy and well-rounded dog thanks to their diligent training with positive reinforcement (AKA tons of treats and belly rubs!), so it’s time you did it too!