Tricks for Training Your New Puppy
There are two types of people in this world, (at least in my opinion) dog lovers and cat lovers.
And though cats can be trained in to doing tricks, dogs and puppies win hands down because dogs perform to please their guardians, where as cats only perform when they feel like.
So, you see, that’s the difference and also an important motivation while training pups. They seek validation and you do have plenty of love to share and this is a win-win situation for both—the pup and you.
How and when to start training are the key questions here.
The best way to start training, according to most people, including my friends who have dogs, (Maltese, Golden Retriever, Labrador) is to make them listen to the basic commands like sit, stay, down and come.
You might be wondering when to start the training? Is there a time limit? Well, the right time is as soon as you bring the pup home. There are people who have brought home dogs from shelters that were four years old and started with the basic training.
If you are getting a newborn or a few week old puppy, some people are of the opinion that it is okay to start the training a bit late because younger pups have very short attention span.
Once the dog is a few months older, you can add more tricks to the training.
Are there methods to be followed while training?
One of the most common training method is to give treats to your puppy while training. Treats can be food or a favorite toy.
Some people believe in rewarding their pets by expressing love every time they follow a command.
This is how it goes, show the treat or the toy and give your command, once your command is followed, reward your puppy. One thing to bear in mind is to show them the reward and not actually reward them till the session for that command is over.
Remember, this is your dog and it is going to be a part of your life and family. The key here is to make the training fun.
You want a certain desirable behavior from your dog, so that it is socially accepted and that means you want your dog to be loved.
And if you want that for your dog, you have to invest in loving your dog. Positively reinforce a good behavior by giving a pat and be consistent.
Be prepared to get frustrated and get stressed. But hold on, remember, dogs are very good at sensing things out of thin air. The moment you looked into their eyes and held it, the pup started bonding with you. And if you go through negative emotions, it will catch on it, or worse still, you will be passing on that energy to your pup. Therefore, while training your pup make sure to not rush things. Remember, rush leads to stress.
Key takeaways? Patience is a virtue while training. Another thing to remember is, each dog is built differently. Just like us humans, some lessons (behaviors) take longer for some pups to learn.
Introduce fun elements to your training.
Here are a few tips to train different behaviors.
First and foremost, get ready for the session by having treats ready, followed by a quiet place where there are no distractions and if you like, you can use a clicker. A simple ‘yes’ works too. Make sure to use a pat, or a ‘good dog’ as primary reinforcers if you like.
Remember these things:
A: Limit the sessions to just about for five minutes. And if you like, spread it to a few sessions through out the day.
B: Do not jump steps. Let your dog master the first step 100 percent and then proceed to the next one. Never get bored with repeating steps. Think of this training like a classroom where you are teaching newcomers!
Basic training rules:
1: Let’s say, you want your dog to learn the command ‘Come’.
Dogs have a strong sense of smell we all know, what better way to entice them than having a treat ready?
If you like, use a leash and tug at it lightly while giving the command, ‘come’ and show the treat. Once it reaches that point where you want the dog to be, give a hug and either say, ‘yes’ or use a clicker. Treat is just a lure. Not to be rewarded for every act.
Another way of rewarding your dog is to play with it after the training session. Make it into a combination of bonding and playtime.
2: Next behavior to teach would be ‘Sit’
I use the leash followed by making a motion of sitting. Then I wait to check if the pup is responding. If not, I gently nudge the leash and repeat the sitting motion.
One thing to bear in mind—no lesson or behavior is learnt in one sitting. It requires multiple sessions and it pays to be consistent in your training.
3: ‘Stay’ is another important behavior to teach your pup. Training methods for stay is just like the other basic commands and behavior training.
Your training session followed by learning time for your pup is an ongoing process and it never stops with just the basics. For sure, there will be many tricks you would be planning to teach your dog.
Keep it light, make it fun and most importantly, enjoy the ride.