Dear Lola,

I decided to adopt a dog during lockdown in order to keep me company while working from home. I love her so much, but Suzie has a tendency to be undisciplined and she completely ignores my commands. Since I’ve never owned a dog before, I know nothing about training her. In normal times I could take her to classes, but lockdown has made that option impossible. How do I teach her some obedience? I am very grateful that she was already housebroken by the time I adopted her.


Suzie’s Squire

Dear Suzie’s Squire,

You should be very, very grateful indeed that Suzie was already potty-trained before you adopted her. I can just imagine the puddle problem you would have brought to me otherwise.

Puddles. Puddles, everywhere.

While training can seem quite daunting, canines across the world have mastered this technique with seeming ease. While there are a few tough cases, I think I can confidently assume that your situation will not fall into this category.

After all, you’ve mastered the potty issue which is the hardest level to beat.

First, pick up an array of tasty treats to delight the senses. Since most tongues change by mood, having a variety will ensure a successful training session. I recommend including something with peanut butter, as that’s a universally loved flavor by most.

Remember the golden rule – the more treats, the better!

Next, be sure to stick with a consistent routine. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, walks, even potty breaks need to happen around the same time each day. I assume this shall be fairly simple since no one can leave the house for a quick beach getaway on the weekend. A routine will ensure that even if you forget the time, Suzie will know what needs to happen and can give you a gentle reminder.

Reminders will not be gentle. You forgot and now you will suffer.

Lastly, you need to schedule dedicated training time. While meals and playtime are valuable teaching moments, specific blocks of time to work on commands is invaluable. I recommend two or three thirty minute sessions each day. Using the treats, commands should be given out in a gentle but firm tone of voice. Establish a set of gestures that are used for each command. Physical assistance may be required to demonstrate what pose is needed for the command given. Remember to give it time and patience.

Suzie will have you trained to be the perfect human in no time at all!


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2 replies on “Dear Lola – New dog didn’t come with instructions…

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