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All puppy lovers know that there are many different skills that those adorable creatures must learn if they are to successfully co-exist with us in the human world. As soon as you get a puppy this responsibility falls to you. You will quickly need to learn how to train a puppy and how to get him or her on good behavior. Of course, there are very many different techniques and philosophies that surround this aspect, but all of them have one thing in common, they go towards raising a well-mannered and even tempered puppy (unless you train them otherwise).
Choosing the kind of puppy training tips to use all comes down to what suits you, your puppy’s temperament and your particular lifestyle. Every different training method has its advantages and disadvantage. Honestly speaking no one method is necessarily better than another. In all this, there are about 10 basic skills that every dog owner should strive to teach their puppy. These include (in no particular order):
– The puppy’s name- Yes- No- Come- Sit- Walking on leash- Hygiene- Socialization- Environmental habituation- Home alone
Apart from these ten, there are several other fundamental training skills that you must employ in order to enjoy a good life with your new best friend. These include:
– Teaching him where his water and food dishes are placed- Teaching him when to eat, when to go to bed and when to go to the bathroom- Teaching him where his toys are placed
How to Teach Words for Your Puppy
The very first thing you need to know about teaching your puppy words is that dogs learn best through word-action/object association. Even though we have heard of dogs that have learned well over 1,000 words, we should not forget that dogs do not really understand the words that come out of mouth.
What they do is associate particular sounds with specific actions. Telling your dog ‘sit’ without first teaching it to associate that sound with a certain action to mean sit, is tantamount to saying the word ‘blah’ to a friend and expecting them to solve a mathematical equation. Therefore, you should know that teaching your puppy to respond in a certain way to specific cues is like teaching them a foreign language that has absolutely no equivalent in their world.
So what can you do to teach your puppy words? Repeat them. Repetition is the key to teaching your puppy words. But, you simply must condition them to associate those words with certain actions. As far as we know, dogs mostly communicate through body language. Your puppy will therefore learn to interpret your body language faster than it will your words.
If you want your dog to put his butt on the floor when you say sit, you must pronounce that word repeatedly when performing a certain action and when the dog is actually sited.
You can get the dog to perform the behavior through shaping or luring techniques. For example, you could say sit while bending your knees. After about 50-100 repetitions of this particular command and action without deviation, your dog will begin to associate that sound and your movement to mean that he or she should put their butt on the floor.
You could as well say ‘Anderson’ while the dog is sited and bending your knees and the dog will know that ‘Anderson’ and bent knees means to sit down. Our words are pretty much the same to them unless it is associated with a certain action. For that association to occur and for learning to take place, the command must be consistently repeated. That is how you teach your puppy words.
– First lure the dog into the position/ behavior that you want associated with your command.
– As soon as the dog starts getting into the position on their own, always say the words as soon as they initiate the position.
– Use a light tone to convey the command over and over.
– You will know that the dog has made the connection between the word and action when you can say ‘sit’ and he or she immediately sits.
– Train them to do this in different situation with the same consistency. This teaches them that the word is the only one to be associated with action.
– Avoid incessantly repeating the word if the dog hasn’t yet made a strong connection between the command and action. For example saying ‘sit’, ‘sit’, ‘sit’ when the dog isn’t responding will eventually lead the dog to believing that the command for putting his or her butt on the floor is ‘sit’, ‘sit’, ‘sit’!
– Avoid correcting the dog when they do not respond appropriately at first. When this happens, the dog begins to associate the command with pressure and a negative environment. They might get resistant and you may have to use an entirely different cue to teach that behavior.
Avoid Biscuit Training
Using biscuits to train your puppy, although excellent for classical conditioning, may not be exactly the best method of training. The main reason for this is because it will give your puppy undue power. If they are not hungry enough, or do not crave that biscuit, they will have no motivation to do what you want. Basically, you are letting your puppy decide when they will and won’t obey your command based on their level of desire for the biscuit.
Remember that puppies are easily excitable creatures. They might be more excited about chasing after cars down the street than coming back home to eat the biscuit that you are so frantically waving at them to get them to stop. Every puppy training manual tells you that you should be the leader; the ultimate Alfa and the absolute commander of your puppy.
If they do not see you as such, they will quickly become unruly. By biscuit training, you are basically giving them free reign on what they can do when they do not want the treat. Soon they will stop looking at you as the authoritative leader. Instead of biscuit training, you should try respect training.
Respect Training is the Most Ideal Approach to Prepare Your Puppy
If you want to learn how to train a puppy properly, you simply must learn how to establish yourself as the leader. Your dog must see you as the pack leader or he/she will not do what you want them to do. This is not something that you can play around with at all. There is not getting it ‘almost right’ here. You must be firm and consistent about teaching your dog to respect you as the leader. The best way to do this is to:
– Be firm when praising him/her. Make sure that the dog knows you own it by placing your hands firmly on it when patting it as well as when holding him/her.
– Praise the dog, but do not go on and on about it. Make it firm, warm and precise.
– When reprimanding the dog, do it quickly and fairly. Shake his collar firmly, force her into a sitting position and use leash correction fairly. Once they are corrected, reward them.
– When commanding, do so firmly and do not repeat yourself. Once the dog learns that you will only say it once or else…they will begin recognizing you as the leader.
– Always give permission, even if it is for things that the dog will do anyway like get into the car with you or go out with you for its afternoon walk. This way, they learn to seek your approval at every turn.
– Periodically do a sit-stay for about 5 minute intervals. If your dog is particularly more dominant, do a down-stay. This is an even more submissive role that will enforce your Alfa status. Should the dog break this interval, make sure to put him back on it immediately. 10 breaks should equal 10 retakes.
Puppy Training Plan
There is a simple formula to follow when training your puppy. This formula cuts across the age groups, whether the puppy is 2 months old or he is 9 months old. That formula is:
– Start with teaching him daily routines such as eating, walking, playing and napping
– Teach them praise and correction words as well as instill obedience of these words in them
– Cover crate training
– Make sure to go through housebreaking rituals and routines such as teaching them where their bathroom is and so on
– Teaching to accept being handled- Teaching them how to be gentle
– Teaching them household rules.
What you need to know is that all this begins from the moment you bring the puppy home and it should be consistent throughout their living with you. That is why respect training is so important, it is the best way for your puppy to see you as the Alfa and as such, obey the commands you give it. Again, it is all about repetition. If you want your puppy to stop pooping all over the house, build him a doggy door that leads to his bathroom. If you want them to accept being handled, firmly schedule their bathing, tooth brushing and clipping times. You decide when what happens, always.
Toilet Training for Puppy’s
Toilet training your puppy is all about structure. You need to condition him or her so that they know it is time to go at the exact same moment every single day. The best way to do this is to:
– Set an alarm clock that will remind you take your dog to the toilet every hour- Use a tether or lead every time you take them out.
– Introduce a specific cue word that they will associate with being taken out to the toilet.
– Choose one spot in the yard or box in the house for the to do their business.
– Reward them every time they get it right!
During this period, you need to be patient, consistent and avoid punishment. It might take a little time for your puppy to master this art, especially if they are very young. Puppies that are below 2 months have almost no control over their bladder.
How to Get Your Puppy’s Water Dish
You need to know that puppies are more often than not playful creatures. Especially when they see a water dish in front of them. Most puppies will either want to swim in it or tip it over. When learning how to train a puppy, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to keep this from always happening every time you try to give your puppy water.
– You can get them a metal water dish that has a rubber ring around it. This kind of bowl is not only non-skid, but also very difficult to tip over.
– Create a decoy water bowl for the puppy to play in during the day. Instead of using just one bowl, buy another bowl, a bigger one and put some water in it for play time. Leave the smaller bowl at the same place as it has always been so that your puppy can drink from it. The bigger bowl will often be more attractive to a playful puppy. You will, however, need to condition him not to play in the smaller bowl by saying no and reprimanding him slightly then rewarding him by taking him to the bigger bowl outside.
Tether Your Puppy
Your puppy is more often than not going to be a nuisance. Especially in the early stages of his training. One of the best ways to manage his behavior during this time is to use a tether.
The tether is a very short (4 ft.) cable that has sturdy snaps at both ends. This tether can be used to temporarily restrain your dog and keep him stationary while you accomplish the desired behavioral modification. It is not meant to be used as a form of punishment nor to restrain the dog for prolonged periods of time when you are not around.
Here are a few simple steps that will show you how to successfully tether your puppy:
– Slowly introduce him to the tether by attaching it to his collar. During this time, use your affirmative or positive cue words to get to slowly associate that tether with goodness.
– Once it is securely attached to his collar, click the tether and give the dog a treat. Vary the periods and distance between each click gradually so they get used to the idea.
– Always release him from his tether when he is calm. Repeat this process until the dog is comfortable with the tether.
How to Keep Your Puppy on Leash in the Yard
In most cases, if not all, you will find that the puppy tries to chew on the lease; treating it like a chew toy. To stop this behavior, there are few things you can do:
– For starters, you need to replace that behavior with a different, more acceptable one. You can get a tug rope for the dog to play with while you walk him or while he is leashed in the back yard. This way, your puppy will still get to burn off all that playful tugging energy without chewing through his leash.
– Be careful not to unwittingly reward the leash chewing behavior. Do not tug or play with the puppy when he is chewing his leash.
– Always reward good behavior that is without leash chewing. All these tips give you great insight on how to train a puppy. It will take time and patience, but with some persistence and consistency you can housetrain your puppy to be the most adorable and well behaved dog of them all.
Last updated: October 26, 2016 at 10:07 am