Training puppies is an important step in keeping them safe and out of trouble. Untrained or troublesome pets are far more likely to be given up than well-trained ones. Just like our children, we worry that our young, inexperienced pup may be put in harm’s way. There are so many situations where an untrained puppy may be inadvertently put in danger.
For their own well being, it’s vital that puppies not do things like run into the roadway or get into the many household chemicals and cleaners that we keep around the house. And one of the first safety training commands that a puppy should learn is to come when called. This is actually one of the main ways that your puppy can be kept out of dangerous situations… by you immediately removing him to safety.
Basics Of Training Puppies
Training puppies uses simple behavioral training techniques that are common in many everyday situations. Most creatures are reward driven. This simply means that a behavior that is rewarded will likely be repeated. If I get a reward for getting an “A” on my report card I’ll work harder to get more. Well, training puppies works basically the same way. Rewarding favorable behavior is the fastest way to get positive training results from your puppy.
Dogs are social creatures and as such are very eager to fit in. This is one of the reasons that lavishing praise on your puppy is one of the most effective rewards. Your puppy wants to please you! The joy that a puppy shows when being praised and petted is an experience that the puppy wants to repeat. This praise and attention, as well as a well placed doggie treat, are the basics when training puppies to behave the way you want.
Three Step Puppy Training – Yes, No, Repeat
The experts agree that positive training is the best way to proceed when training puppies. Maybe you’ve seen dogs shy away from the raised hand of their owner. This is usually a telltale sign that negative training was used and the dog is “gun-shy”. Telling a puppy “no” is not necessarily negative training. Your puppy needs to know when you’re not pleased. Sometimes for its own safety. But striking or mishandling the puppy often has lasting effects and can compromise a happy, well-adjusted dog. It may even contribute to lashing-out behavior if the dog is uncomfortable or frightened.
It’s best to define your commands so that your puppy understands clearly what is desired of him or her. If you are not clearly communicating your desire to your puppy it will be no surprise that the puppy is confused. There are many good books on training puppies that give samples of standard commands for things you may want your puppy to do. This makes it much easier for you because you don’t have to start from scratch and figure it all out on your own.
Once you give the command to your puppy, be prepared for your puppy’s reaction. If your puppy obeys, (even slightly), lavish him with praise and possibly a doggie treat. This establishes a connection in your puppy’s mind. Responding with this behavior to that command resulted in a desirable reward. This is something the puppy will want to repeat. Repetition is critically important to training puppies. So keep repeating the task until it is second nature to your puppy. The repetition process works best if it is done over a long period of time. So once your puppy knows what to do you’ll want to remind him of it from time to time to engrain it into permanent behavior.
Patience Is The Key To Training Puppies
Waiting for our puppies to repeat a desired behavior so it can be rewarded takes plenty of patience, like finding and using puppy pads at the correct moment. Some training opportunities… like answering the call of nature… are easier to train for because they repeat themselves naturally. But for behavior that is less common place for a dog requires even more patience. And the more outside the natural character of the dog the behavior is, the more patience you’ll need.
We’ve all seen dogs performing amazing tricks at shows and on television. And I think we all realize that it’s not in a dog’s natural character to jump through flaming hoops. But it shows that with patience and persistence, the trainer was able to get the dog to desire a reward strongly enough to put up with a normally uncomfortable situation. You can imagine how much patience the trainer of such a daredevil dog had. Well, our efforts to train our puppies to do the relatively simpler tasks that we require for a well-adjusted and healthy relationship with our family pup need patience as well.
It takes some puppies longer than others to catch on to what you are trying to get them to realize. And our own skill at communicating what we want our puppy to do is a major factor as well. So when our puppy doesn’t catch on right away, remember that he wants the reward… so you will always have the better bargaining chip!