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Useful Tips for Training Your Puppy

Apr 9, 2008
Up until now, your puppy's training has probably consisted of a series of corrections when he erred. You've been pointing out his mistakes after he's committed them. When he jumps on the furniture, you push him off and tell him "No!" If he misses his newspapers and stains your rug, you reprimand him with a stern "No!" and rush him, belatedly, over to the newspapers.

Basically, formal training is a command and response program; you issue the commands with the proper voice inflections, gestures and demonstrations, the pup learns to respond and perform the commands. He repeats and repeats the action of the command until he learns to associate the command with the proper action. It is the old "trial-and-error" routine. Eventually, the pup learns the commands well enough to make them part of his regular behavior pattern.

DOG-AND-TEACHER RELATIONSHIP

The pup will pick up his cue from your behavior. Approach the lessons in a playful manner and the dog will respond in a similar manner. Both you and the dog should enter into the lessons with a serious intention. You are not out to make the lessons a grueling marathon of learning, but neither are you supposed to make a big game of them.

The pup is in school to learn some important lessons that will have a bearing on his future in your home and community. Show him that you will not tolerate any fooling and he'll fall into line.

You will find that the pup will definitely respond to your attitude during the training and thereafter. He will be affected by your pleasure or displeasure, as shown in your voice. Dogs are very responsive to the human voice. Your voice, then, will be the most valuable training tool. Learn to use it correctly.

There's no need to acquire the harsh or snappy voice of a drill sergeant. You will have to speak loudly and clearly, with enough firmness in your voice to show the pup you mean business. A lackadaisical or indifferent tone will simply not work. If you do use this approach, you'll soon find your pupil gazing off into the distance, his mind far away from the job at hand.

YOUR STUDENT

The young pup is very much like a young child: he would much rather play than to go school. You will have to get and keep his attention. And you will have to win his confidence. These are important reasons why there must be no distractions during the training lessons. Furthermore, since the pup has a relatively short attention span, the lessons should be kept to a minimum; fifteen minutes twice a day will be adequate.

When he knows that a certain response on his part will evoke a specific action from you, his security will be bolstered. But his response to a command must always yield the same action from you. Switching your praise technique or manner of reprimand will undermine his security, as well as confuse him.

GIVING COMMANDS

Limit your commands to the fewest words possible. Make them clear, loud and to the point. Long sentences intended to cajole the pup into doing what you want are meaningless to him. He responds to your voice tone and inflections, not your grammar and syntax. If you want the pup to sit, for example, give the command "Sit!"

Refrain from the imploring-type command: "Come on, nice doggie, sit down." In making him come to you, simply order him to "Come!" Or you can substitute his name for the word "come." That is, you can if his name doesn't have too many syllables. Short, one-syllable names, such as Jack, Duke or Buck, are more practical. This is one reason why purebred dogs with long-winded pedigree names are given short kennel or "call" names.

Soon you will have a well-behaved and obedient dog you will be proud to take anywhere. Good luck!
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