Whether you just bought a new puppy or adopted an adult dog, here are some tips and training techniques to kickstart your sessions: 1. Choose Your Dog's Name Wisely If your new pet is an older dog, they’re probably used to their name at this point. However, changing it isn’t out of the question. And if your new pal is coming out of an abusive situation, a new name may even represent a fresh start. Dogs are extremely adaptable. If you decide to give them a new name, use it consistently and soon enough your pup will respond to it. Whatever their name, be sure to associate it with fun, pleasant experiences as much as possible, rather than negative ones. Ideally, your pup should think of their name in the same way they think of other fun stuff like walks or dinnertime. 2. Decide on the House Rules Before your new furry pal comes home, decide what they can and can’t do. Are they allowed on the bed or the furniture? Are parts of the house off limits? Will they have their own chair at your dining table? If the rules are determined early, you can avoid confusion — for both of you. 3. Reward Good Behavior Reward your puppy or dog’s good behavior with positive reinforcement. Use toys, love and lots of praise — and don’t forget the treats, such as DENTASTIX™ treats. Let them know when they’re getting it right. Along those same lines, never reward bad behavior, as it’ll only confuse them. 4. Teach Your Pup(dog) to Sit Teaching your dog to sit is one of the most basic dog commands to teach your pup, thus making it a great one to start with. A dog who knows the “Sit” command will be much calmer and easier to control than dogs who aren’t taught this simple command. Additionally, the “Sit” command prepares your dog for harder commands such as “Stay” and “Come.” Here’s how to teach your dog the “Sit” command: Hold a treat close to your dog’s nose. Move your hand up, allowing his head to follow the treat and causing his bottom to lower. Once he’s in sitting position, say “Sit,” give him the treat, and share affection. Repeat this sequence a few times every day until your dog has it mastered. Then ask your dog to sit before mealtime, when leaving for walks and during other situations when you’d like him calm and seated. 5. Don’t Underestimate the Benefits of Feeding a High Quality Food Feed your dog a high-quality diet with appropriate amounts of protein. If your dog spends most of his days lounging in your condo, don’t feed him food with a protein level that is ideal for dogs who herd sheep all day. The money that you will spend on feeding an appropriate quality food will often be money that you save in vet bills later on. I recommend you always check with your veterinarian for the right diet for your dog.