Who hasn’t heard of dogs who master every command in doggy school, but once outside that school, won’t obey their owners any more? These dogs “walk” their owners, they bully all the family members, do anything to get attention like barking or destroying things. In fact, these dogs are controlling their owners and making their life hell.
The most important thing about tips on puppy training is positive training. This will encourage your puppy to work for you. Positive training is rewarding your puppy with food, by praising, by touching (petting) or even by playing. The thing is to find out what works for your dog. Some dogs will do anything for a treat, others like to play ball, while some dogs prefer a good rub.
Clicker training is also a positive training where you reward your puppy with a click sound, made with a small mechanical device. At first, this click sound has to be immediately followed with a food reward. After a while, you can leave away the treats, and only reward your puppy with a click when he is showing good behavior. Your puppy will associate the click with the treats and will eventually work for the click.
It is never too early to start training your puppy. A lot of dog schools don’t allow puppies unless they have a certain age and have had all their health shots. But, you can perfectly start off your basic puppy training at home. This will give you an advantage on the other puppies when you can finally join dog school.
Another way a puppy or a dog learns certain things is by experience.
For example: your dog is drawn to the bin because you have thrown away some chicken bones. He manages to pull of the lid of the bin and gets his rewards by eating the chicken bones. You can be certain, that the next time you throw away chicken bones, your dog will be on the steak out to attack your bin and enjoy what is in his eyes a lovely meal. He has learned something in a positive way: to scatter the dust bin can be rewarded with chicken bones.
But on the other hand: imagine the lid of the dust bin falling down with an enormous noise at the very moment your dog went for the bones, this overwhelming sound may scare him off right away and make him run for safety. He has learned something with a negative outcome. If he scavenges the dust bin, he will hear a tremendous sound explosion, which is a frightening experience. So, in the future, he will leave the dust bin alone.
Tips on puppy training are to filter out the wanted behavior and encourage this, whilst the unwanted behavior has to be ignored.
The basic commands like sit, down, fetch, can be learned very easily. Another tip on puppy training is repetition. It is also very important not to train your puppy when he is tired. In the very beginning, your training should always be very short, but frequently. It is better to train your puppy several times a day, but for approximately 5 to 10 minutes, than one training a day for half an hour.
Remember when you train your puppy, to be calm and relaxed. Don’t go training your puppy when you come home from work, all cooked up. Allow yourself to relax. Your puppy will pick up on your energy, and if you act excited and nervous, you will transfer this onto your pup.
As already said above, puppy training has to be a positive experience for your puppy. Your aim is to get a dog who likes to work for you. Some dog treats may come in handy. Treats can be anything from for example his daily food pellets, some small pieces of cooked chicken or cheese, or even some cooked vegetables like carrots if your dog loves this.
Also remember, that you are not only training your puppy but also you yourself. If you don’t give the right-hand signals or commands, your puppy will not understand what you ask from him and he will not carry out the command in the right way.
Some short tips on commands
Call your puppy in front of you. If he is still very little, it may be easier for you to sit down on the ground or to squat down. Keep a treat in front of his nose, let him smell it and even nibble it if necessary, but don’t give him the treat yet. Give the command “SIT” and GENTLY push the treat upwards above his head. As he wants to follow the treat, changes are big, that he will sit because his nose wants to follow the treat. Reward him by actually giving him the treat.
The early stage of the down command can be learned in an easy way. Sit on the ground and pull your legs up in a triangle, so that your legs form a little house. Call your puppy, again with a treat, but don’t give it to him yet. He should be at your left if you’re right-handed or on the right when you’re left-handed. Put the hand with the treat under your legs, and lead the puppy under your legs. When he is there, hold the treat close to the ground and give the command “DOWN”. If necessary, GENTLY push him down with your legs. When he is lying down, you give him the treat.
Some dogs like to fetch things. Gun dogs are overall experts in this. However, it is possible to learn every dog to fetch. You can use any toy, from a ball to his favorite squeaky toy to learn this trick. Get your puppy in front of you and get his attention by squeaking the toy, or dash the ball on the ground. Once you got his attention, throw the thing away from you. Give the command “FETCH” at the same time you throw away the item, but not too far in the beginning. Probably, your puppy will go after it and pick it up. The moment he picks it up, you call him back to you. You can even encourage him by squatting and calling out his name or run away in the opposite direction. When your puppy is back with you, you present him a treat in exchange for the item and at the same time you give him the command “LET GO”.