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Basic puppy training – praise, correction, name, sit and chewing

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Basic puppy training – praise, correction, name, sit and chewing Empty Basic puppy training – praise, correction, name, sit and chewing

Post by Eleanor Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:19 pm

It’s recommended that training should begin almost as soon as you bring the puppy home. Active commands such as ‘sit’ should be left until the puppy has settled down into the new environment, but you can begin with the very basic things such as ‘good boy/girl’ and association training such as showing your puppy where his bed and food/bowls are.

Praise should always be one of the first things that your puppy is taught, as it’s needed in later training to confirm that the puppy has done something that you like. To teach the basic ‘good boy/girl’ (from here, I’ll refer to the puppy as a male), the most widely used method is to first associate the phrase with something good – it doesn’t matter if he hasn’t done anything especially praise-worthy yet. To do this, you can either use fuss or treats. A lot of people prefer to use a mixture, with fuss being the dominant part to avoid upsetting the puppy’s stomach with lots of treats. Say the phrase ‘good boy’ in a happy, silly voice and, at the same time, make a huge fuss of him, stroking and tickling him. If you choose to use treats, offer the treat instead of the fuss.

Name training

You’ll want to get your new puppy used to his name as quickly as possible. To do this, call out his name in a happy, silly voice and then give him plenty of praise when he looks at you. Do this a few times throughout each day and he should start to associate hearing his name with looking at you!

Chewing

Most, if not all, puppies will chew things that you’d prefer they left alone! For this reason, you should try to puppy-proof the house as much as you can, taping down wires, removing sharp or small objects and getting rid of strangling hazards.

If/when you catch your puppy chewing something he shouldn’t be chewing, firmly deliver a key word (‘leave’, for instance) and direct the puppy’s attention towards a toy instead. When the puppy turns his attention to the toy, give him plenty of praise! It’s important not to be too harsh with your keyword, as the puppy is not actually doing anything ‘wrong’ if he hasn’t been taught not to chew things yet.

Also bear in mind that you shouldn’t scold a dog – puppy or adult – for chewing something if you don’t actually catch him in the act! If you walk into a room and find that he chewed something while your back was turned, he won’t associate the scolding with what he did ages ago, so it will just confuse him.

For persistent chewers, you might consider using a bitter apple spray to discourage this undesirable behaviour.

Sit

This is often one of the first active commands people give their puppies and is usually very easy to grasp. It can be useful in a variety of situations, especially when preventing jumping up. It can also be used to keep your puppy still before the more difficult ‘stay’ has been taught.


  • Stand in front of your puppy with a treat so that his attention is on you, and then hold the treat out to the puppy so that he can sniff it.



  • Slowly move the treat away from his nose and behind his head, towards his shoulders. If your puppy’s attention is on the treat, he should follow the treat backwards with his head, which encourages him to sit.



  • As he sits down, use your preferred key word (‘sit’, for instance). Add plenty of verbal praise along with it!



  • Repeat this a few times each day. Try not to do it more than four or five times in a row for a young puppy, as this can become boring for him.


If your puppy doesn’t sit when you move the treat behind him, you can try gently putting some pressure on his lower back to encourage him to sit. Don’t use too much force though, as this could hurt or frighten your dog.

You can also teach your puppy to sit naturally by waiting until he sits down on his own, at which point you can say the key word and praise him.



Please remember that, if your puppy shows a little dominance, there is no need to establish yourself as ‘top dog’ by forcing him over onto his side and holding him down (or striking him). For a start, you are not a dog. Your dog may not be the Einstein of the dog race, but it does know the difference between a dog and a human, whether it’s through sight, smell or any other sense. Secondly, forcing a dog into submission very often causes more problems than it solves; obedience through trust has been shown to work far better than obedience through fear. People very often use the method of a forced-submission because they don’t know how else to gain the upper hand. If you’re unhappy with a behaviour your dog has displayed, remain firm and correct the behaviour; the results might not be instantaneous, but persistence usually works.  

If your puppy seems to suddenly become oblivious to corrective words such as ‘no’, it is often because you use it too often. If he’s constantly hearing ‘no’, ‘bad dog’ and ‘stop it’ he may just get used to it and tune it out. For this reason, it is important to praise good behaviour!

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Post by Caryll Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:52 pm

Great post!

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Post by Lynne Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:57 pm

Brilliant x
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Post by LyndaW Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:44 pm

Love it - well done Eleanor!
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Post by Eleanor Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:15 pm

Thank you! xx
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Post by Dave Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:13 am

good post
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Post by Eleanor Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:35 pm

Thanks happy xx
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