“I love words. Sudoku I don’t get into, I’m not into numbers that much, and there are people who are hooked on that. But crossword puzzles, I just can’t – if I get a puppy and I paper train him and I put the – if all of a sudden I’d open the paper and there’s a crossword puzzle – ‘No, no, you can’t go on that, honey. I’ll take
Key Takeaway: When your puppy is old enough, you can start training him.
Regardless of whether you are training the puppy on your own or taking some professional help, there are certain tips that will help you. Be affectionate, patient, consistent, and listen to your puppy.
In this chapter, let us take a look at some of the tips that you will need to keep in mind while training your puppy.
Listen to Your Puppy
You will need to learn to listen to your puppy. If your puppy seems uncomfortable while meeting another dog, any animal or a human being, don’t insist that the puppy has to say hello to them. Your dog is trying to tell you that he is uncomfortable and you will need to respect it. Forcing this issue might create bigger issues down the line.
Lots of Affection
More often than not, people are really good at showing their displeasure to their dog when they get upset. However, they tend to ignore all the good things the dog does. This is a huge mistake. Don’t do this. You should give your dog affection, praise, and attention when he does something right. He needs to know that he is a good boy. This is when you should be a little generous with affection you show.
Does the Puppy Really Like It?
Just because the bag of treats says, “dog treats”, doesn’t mean that your dog will love it automatically. Just like with human beings, dogs are selective about what they eat. So, keep your eye open and figure out the kind of things he likes and genuinely enjoys.
Tell Him What He Should Do
You can make use of the “no” command to tell your dog that he shouldn’t do something. However, this doesn’t provide your dog with much information.
Instead of just telling him no, you should tell him what you want him to do.
Dogs aren’t good with generalizations. If he greets someone by jumping onto them, then saying no wouldn’t be of much help. He might jump a little higher, move to the other side. Instead you should tell him what he is supposed to do after stopping the action he was engaged in. So, instead tell him to sit down.
That would provide the puppy with some clarity.
There needs to be consistency whenever you are training your dog. It is really important that all the family members are on the same page when it comes to training your puppy. You cannot say that something is not okay while someone else allows the puppy to do that very same behavior. The puppy will get confused.
Also, make sure that you all use the same words to communicate with the puppy.
Someone might say “off” to get him off the couch or “down” to do the same. In such a case, the dog gets really confused. You should avoid this.
Changing behavior takes a lot of time. You will need to have certain realistic expectations. It takes a while to change those behaviors that you find undesirable in the dog. Usually, the regular doggie habits are the ones that take a long time to change. These include barking, digging, and jumping to greet. It also depends on the amount of time the dog spent rehearsing such behaviors.
For instance, if your puppy was used to jumping to greet people and you let this go on for a long period of time, then you cannot expect to change such a behavior in a short period of time. It takes a while to undo these behaviors and inculcate new ones.
The diet that you give your dog is of great importance. The diet should depend on the amount of activity he is involved in.
For instance, a dog that is used to herding sheep will need more protein than a dog that’s indoors all the time. A high protein diet is usually good. Make sure that your puppy gets used to eating dog food instead of human food. Good diet is essential for the overall wellbeing of your puppy. Check with the vet and then proceed with any diet.
If your dog is exhibiting behaviors that you don’t like, there is a really strong likelihood that it was something that was reinforced before.
For instance, if your dog brings you his toy and barks at you to throw it, you throw the toy. Your dog has now learned that barking will get him what he wants. You say no to stop this and your dog starts barking even more. You might give in and throw it. This just makes your dog believe that persistence is the key.
So, instead of giving in, you can tell your dog to do something else. You can probably ask him to sit or stay quiet.
Bribery Doesn’t Work
Don’t use treat to bribe your dog. A treat should be a reward and it shouldn’t be a bribe to get him to do something. When you do this, you end up giving the dog the decision-making power. You should avoid this at any cost. Your dog will get to decide whether or not it wants to do something.
Lessons should be a learning activity for the puppy and not something he gets to choose. Your dog should want to do the things you ask of it, when you want.
Your dog should earn its freedom in the house. But make this a gradual process.
Most of the pet owners tend to give their pet all the freedom it wants. When you do this, you are giving him too much freedom and giving it too soon. This can not only lead to avoidable housebreaking accidents, but can also instill destructive behavior patterns in the puppy. If there are any unoccupied rooms, make use of a baby gate to seal it off.
The best way in which you can make sure that your dog stays safe is to keep him tethered to you. Start out by showing him those places where he can be safe and you can also keep an eye out on him.