How to Train Your 1-Year-Old Dog

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For most breeds, a 1-year-old dog is considered an adult, but he still may be showing many puppylike behaviors. It's important to continue training your dog at this age as he might be testing his independence and show undesirable behaviors.

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Proper Socialization

The first step to training your 1-year-old dog is proper socialization. This is more challenging than socializing a puppy because your 1-year-old dog may have developed fears or reactivity around certain triggers. Move slowly when socializing. If your dog reacts with fear, you are moving too quickly. Keep her at a safe distance from the new stimulus and reward as she pays attention to you rather than the stimulus. If she does well at one distance, move closer. Allow her to sniff when she is ready. Reward during all socialization training.

Basic Training Tips

When training your 1-year-old dog, there are some basic steps you can take to improve success rate. One-year-old dogs have a lot of energy, so you will need to increase exercise before training sessions to improve focus. They also need consistency. If you occasionally reward behaviors, such as jumping, with attention, those behaviors will continue. Consistently ignore problem behaviors and reward behaviors you like, such as sitting. Using rewards is more effective than punishment, but remember to keep the treat as a reward, not a bribe. Don't have the treat in your hand where your dog can see it or he will learn to listen only when he sees a treat.


Commands All Dogs Should Know

To keep your dog safe, teach her to come on command every time. Teach this on leash first to prevent her from making mistakes. All dogs should know how to sit, down and walk on a leash. In addition, you should teach your dog a "leave it" or "off" command. This command allows you to teach her which items are appropriate for chewing and which are not.


Deciding on Training

If you have experience working with dogs, you may be able to train your dog alone. However, 1-year-old dogs can have a lot of energy and be more difficult to train than a young puppy. Dog training classes provide an excellent place to practice commands with your dog around other dogs. In-home training with a professional trainer allows you the chance to work on your dog's issues in your home, where training may be more useful. Regardless, comprehensive training cannot occur in an eight-week training class. Training is a lifelong commitment. You will have to do training refreshers throughout your dog's life.