Some Rules of Thumb While Training Your Puppy

As the owner of a puppy, you are probably the most overwhelming element of its little canine life, taking up the roles of its mother, father, siblings, caretaker and playmate. If you add to that list the role of ‘trainer’ then you’ve got yourself a cute, big ball of responsibility rolling your way. Training a dog, of course, requires a little more than simply giving it a command and expecting it to obey. Unfortunately, many people end up trying to train their canine companions exactly in this way. They also make a host of other mistakes that are common enough and, as such, easy to avoid as well.

The first thing you should do is head over to your nearest bookstore and get the best book on dog training you can find. If it has a picture of regal looking German Shepherds on the cover, so much the better. Probably the first thing you will learn from it is that your dog is ‘human’ too, that it has feelings and, though it does have a brain, it is not a super brain. What this means is don’t expect too much from the little pup. It’s not going to know immediately what you want to teach it and whatever it does learn will have to be repeated over and over for the lesson to truly sink in.

And remember, you need to take into consideration many different factors such as the breed, the gender and the age of the dog. You also need to be aware of how the puppy was treated before it came to you. All these aspects have a bearing on how well the puppy will respond to the kind of training methods used. But remember, if you do your research right you can teach your dog all sorts of necessary commands (heel, sit, stay, guard) as well as a few fun tricks also, like high fives! You can see that one in action here ( Some dogs, like Labradors, German Shepherds and even Cocker Spaniels, are more receptive to ‘tricks’ training than other breeds so you need to keep this in mind as well.

Concomitantly, how fast and well the puppy learns your commands definitely has a direct correlation to its intelligence. Whether it learns the commands at all is up to the trainer. Perseverance, patience and praise are crucial to this end, but the first thing you need to do is establish your dog’s trust. Always speak soothingly, calmly and firmly. Enunciate the training word clearly without being harsh or too loud – an angry tone can confuse the dog and make it timid, impeding the training process even more.

Building on that, it’s always best to keep punishment to a minimum. This applies to when you’re potty-training the dog but when training it to obey commands there is never a need for scolding. Patience and, above all, praise for when the puppy does get it right, however voluntarily or involuntarily, is of key importance. And once you’ve got the puppy house-trained and able to understand a few commands, you’ll start noticing again what a treasure that little ball of fluff has become. Remember, dogs are for life, not just Christmas!

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