Taking a new pet into your home can be a very rewarding and exciting experience. And we have all been there with the questions: when can we show him off to all of our neighbors and friends, how quickly can he be house trained, why can’t I take him on a walk? Most vets will recommend waiting until your new puppy has received all of his vaccinations before beginning to start socializing. This can be up to four months but you definitely don’t want to wait that long before you start teaching your puppy to adapt to his new human home.
After reading all the material on training your head is probably bursting with new, and sometimes contradictory, information. While there are various methods used in training finding what works for you and for your dog’s temperament is the most important thing. And don’t worry about combining different methods either. There is always more than one way to accomplish a task. One of the key tenets in training is to just make sure the good wanted behavior is being rewarded and not the bad unwanted behavior.
Be The Leader
The Alpha Dog concept is one that has been around for as long as animal training. While there is some controversy over how it is applied the important thing to take from it is your new puppy is looking for guidance. We have all counted on good leadership at some point whether it is at works, in sports or just recreational activities. The same is true for a puppy. They are driven to do what makes them happy and since you are the one that controls the treats and toys that makes them happy you need to be strong, stable and consistent with how these are applied.
Dogs actually communicate with each other through the use of body language. Whether it be a bow of the head, a lick of the lips or even just a wag of the tail, all of these actions mean something in the dog world. Understanding the way your dog communicates will make it easier for you to communicate with them. Keeping your commands simple and consistent will go a long way in helping your furry friend to start learning English.
Puppies also have very short attention spans, just like our children, so you want to keep your training sessions short. You don’t want to go over 15 minutes and many owners will just use 5 minute intervals. You just want to make sure to keep it fun and stress free. Once one of you becomes frustrated it is best to stop and pick up at a later time. Also keep in mind that dogs will learn only through immediate consequences. They live in the present so cannot associate a treat or scolding for a behavior they did say 5 or 10 minutes ago. Once they make the connection between good behavior and something rewarding or bad behavior and something unpleasant you will start seeing more of what you want and less of what you don’t.
In future posts we will get more in depth on techniques and tips for not just the important behaviors but also some fun ones we would like to enjoy with our new friend. Crate training and housebreaking are two major ones I get asked about a lot. We will also cover walking and the role of being the alpha dog as well as socializing skills. Just keep in mind that training your new pet can be trying at times but the reward of having a well behaved dog is worth the effort. There are always more than one way to accomplish something so be patient and find what works best for you and your new best friend. Also never be afraid to attend a class at your local pet store or ask for help from a professional trainer or behaviorist.