Dogs learn by making positive associations. For instance, if your dog is always given their favourite treat when they sit, they will associate sitting with their favourite things.
How to Train Your Dog
Repetition is key when it comes to training your dog. In order to avoid confusion, any behaviours that you do not want your dog to repeat should be ignored. Instead, you could teach them a behaviour that you can reward. For example, a dog who jumps up for attention could learn to sit to receive attention as an alternative.
Watch our 'Introduction to Training' video guide, it's a great way to start learning the basics of training. This can change throughout the day. First thing in the morning being let out to go to the toilet is rewarding, but once that is done, the biggest reward might be breakfast. Out on a walk, when they are active, playing with toys may be the best reward for coming back to you.
Work out what motivates your dog at different times and training will become much easier. Sometimes our dogs perform a behaviour that we do not want them to repeat but it is not possible to ignore it. In this situation, you can try to distract them with another behaviour e. The behaviour that you ask for would depend on the undesirable behaviour that your dog is showing, so you should aim to ask for a behaviour that is incompatible with the undesirable behaviour.
For example, using a down command if a dog is jumping up at you. Practice in all locations you would like your puppy to behave and feel comfortable and relaxed in the future. Use these training tasks as you integrate the puppy into your life. These are times when your puppy wants something and is more likely to comply. In this way, you are training your dog all the time, throughout the day and also establishing predictable rules and routines for interactions and helping the dog to learn who controls the resources. Training your puppy prior to getting each requested necessity, helps to prevent problems.
Having your puppy sit before getting a food or treat prevents begging, while teaching your dog to sit before opening the door can prevent jumping up or running out the door. Be creative. The time you spend training your puppy now will pay off when you have an adult dog.
How to Train a Puppy
To have a well-trained dog, you need to be committedto reinforcing the training tasks on nearly a daily basis for the first year of your puppy's life. The more you teach and supervise your puppy, the less opportunity it will have to engage in improper behaviors. Dogs do not train themselves, when left to choose their behavior they will act like dogs. Training should begin in a quiet environment with few distractions. The chosen reward should be highly motivating so that the puppy focuses entirely on the trainer and the reward.
Although a small food treat generally works best, a favorite toy or a special dog treat might be more appealing. It might also be helpful to train the puppy just before a scheduled mealtime when it is at its hungriest. For difficult or headstrong puppies, the best way to ensure that the puppy will perform the desired behavior and respond appropriately to the command is to leave a leash attached and to use a head collar for additional control.
In this way, you can prompt the puppy into the correct response if it does not immediately obey, and the pressure can be released as soon as the desired response is achieved. Socialization should begin as soon as you get your puppy and often this means at 7 weeks of age.
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Puppies naturally accept new people, other species and introduction to new situations during the socialization period which occurs between 7 and 14 to 16 weeks of age. This period provides an opportunity for a myriad of introductions that will provide positive memories that last a life time. Puppies are eager, exploratory and uninhibited during this period and it is important to take advantage of this enthusiasm. Be sure to protect your puppy during this period and ensure that all experiences are positive, fun and not fear evoking.
There is a normal, natural fear period that begins around 14 to 16 weeks. During this period, a puppy may become wary and suspicious of new people, species or experiences. This is a normal adaptive process. Watch your puppy closely for signs of fear cowering, urinating, and refusal of food treats.
Avoid pushing or overwhelming your puppy during this developmental stage. Pet owners who are novices at training can begin a training program with these few simple steps. It takes repetition, time and perseverance for the puppy to predictably and reliably respond to commands in a variety of situations.
Consider only classes that use positive training techniques. However, a training class serves many functions. Trainers can demonstrate techniques and help guide you through the steps in training. They can help advise you on puppy training problems, and can help you advance your training to exercises that are more difficult. The puppy will be learning in a group situation, with some real life distractions.
And, considering human nature, the pet owner who takes his or her dog to a puppy class will be forced to practice do their homework throughout the week if they do not want to fall behind by the next class. Finally, a training class is a good place to meet and talk to other new puppy owners and see how all puppies behave. Training classes for young puppies are also an excellent way to socialize your new puppy to a variety of people, dogs, and other stimuli in a controlled environment. At the beginning of your hike, call her to come a few times and offer her something really special such as a new toy to chase or delicious treats like pieces of chicken or real steak.
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Be on the lookout for wildlife and call her before she notices them whenever possible. Once a dog has already started running after something, it is so much harder to call them to come than it is before they have started to give chase. Congratulations on your new dog, and good for you for getting her out for lots of fun, exercise and adventures. She is a very lucky dog and I wish you both many happy trails! Karen B.
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