If Rover is driving you crazy and destroying the house in the process, it might be time for some behavior lessons. While picking up the phone and calling a trainer might sound appealing, your budget might not allow for it. The good news? You can do all the training yourself for next to nothing, as long as you're willing to invest the time and energy into it.
Buy a dog training clicker. This is a small plastic device that sells for less than $10 online or at pet stores everywhere. A clicker is a tool for positive reinforcement. You simply carry it with you and when Rover does something you approve of, you click the device and then offer a reward. Soon Doggie will understand that certain actions make you happy and earn him a treat, and he will start repeating them more often.
Use verbal cues along with the clicker. For example, say "sit" or "wait." When Rover obeys, click and then reward the behavior. Teaching Doggie basic commands costs nothing -- except for the cost of the treats -- but it helps him understand you're in charge.
Socialize your dog. If you have a local dog park, this is a great free opportunity to teach your dog some social skills. Doggie not ready to go out into the world and meet others? Set up some play dates in a more controlled environment, such as a friend's backyard or a quiet section of the beach. Once there, keep an eye on Doggie so you can correct him when he behaves inappropriately with another dog.
Download an app for your tablet or smartphone. There are plenty of free or low cost -- $2 or less -- apps that guide you through a training program. Some have specific goals, such as helping you teach your dog commands, while others focus on behavior problems. Some apps allow you to keep track of your training progress so you know what you're doing and where to go from there.
Make your own pet deterrent by mixing one part fresh lemon or orange juice and three parts water. Or try mixing one part vinegar with five parts water. Add the mix to a spray bottle and spray furniture or other areas you want to keep doggie-free. You can also booby trap your kitchen counter by placing aluminum foil or pop cans right near the edge. Next time Doggie wants to jump up or steal something from the counter, he'll create an avalanche of things -- hopefully scaring him enough to deter him from trying again.
Places like YouTube offer plenty of training videos you can use to get ideas for free training. Look for videos that are professional and where the trainer seems to have an understanding of the dog's psychology and behavior.
An Item You Will Need
- Dog training clicker
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images