So you have added a new addition to your family! Congrats! More than likely you have questions. Well, I’m here to help! Here’s an intro to puppy training. Just for you!
First, you must teach your dog that you are a fair and consistent leader. Being a fair and consistent leader means not only telling your dog when he is doing something wrong but also when he is doing something right! Think of it this way, if all we do is correct our dog he will learn that to get our attention he must first act out by doing an unwanted behavior. You must be able to correct your dog as well as praise him. (Be sure to read previous blog “Consistency is Key”.)
Ex. Your dog is chewing on a sock, you must tell him “Off” and then tell him “Good boy, good off.” You must reward the correct behavior as well as correct the unwanted behavior. You have about one second to praise or correct your dog. (You can also redirect this behavior by giving him something he IS able to play with.)
Now, there are three ways that we unknowingly praise our dogs. I will list the ways we do this:
1. Touching with the palm of our hand
When we touch our dog with the palm of our hand we are touching him with a highly scented part of our body. If your dog is jumping up on you or your furniture, move them away with the back of your hand.
2. Eye contact
When we make eye contact with our dog we are providing him with attention whether we’re mad or happy attention is still attention. Avoid making eye contact when your dog is displaying an unwanted behavior.
3. Saying his name
When we say Spot’s name we are also offering him attention. If we need to give a correction don’t say his name. If you have to use a filler say “Puppy, off!” Dogs love hearing their names, save his name for when he is offering an acceptable behavior!
Another good rule of thumb will be to have your dog crated or gated off in a certain area if you will not be able to supervise him. When you are able to supervise it will be best for you to set up a potty training plan and have him constantly tied to you when you are doing things around your house. This way he isn’t able to get your favorite pair of shoes or and electric cable. This is called umbilical cord training and will save you many headaches. You will have a little shadow for a week or so until he’s potty trained but it’s worth it. Having his leash on at all times will also allow you to offer a leash correction if needed. (If you need guidance on crate training read my blog “Crate training 101”.)
You will also want to know the difference between “No” and “Off”.
“No” is a correction, which is typically followed by another command.
Example: “Spot, sit.” He doesn’t sit the first time so you say “No,” and repeat the command “Sit.” You can also do a leash correction with the “No”. If you’re going to use “No” as a correction you should also have a reward marker such as “Yes!”, to let your dog know when he’s doing something correct.
“Off” is not a correction it is a command. “Off” just means you don’t have to do any other behavior but STOP whatever it is that you’re doing.
Example: Spot is nipping at your hand. You say “Off.” you can also provide an instantaneous correction in this case a leash pop to make the command more effective. You can also redirect his behavior and provide an acceptable chew toy.
Good luck with your new fur babe! If you have any questions or need a customized potty training plan, you can e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment with any inquiries!