- Understand that a puppy is a puppy – not a human being and not an adult. His physical and mental limitations are much lower than that of human being. Adjust your expectations pup’s age and maturity.
- Eliminate chances for his bad behavior to show.
(A) Just as you would prep your house when you are expecting a new baby – prep your house for a 4 legged baby with baby gates, a temporary partition, obstacle he cannot overcome or bypass.
(B). Keep your dog entertained – give him mental stimulation as well as physical exercise.
(C) Keep a keen eye on the pup at all times – watch for his body language – correct him before gets in trouble. An easy way to know ahead is watch him – before he gets fixated on something divert his attention.
Yes, yes, I hear you – you have your life too and you can’t be watching him 24×7.
When the puppy is not under direct supervision, make sure to keep him in a place where he is safe and can’t get in trouble. Think of your puppy as a toddler baby – would you give your toddler full freedom in the house?
Of course not!
Provide for his needs and restrict his access to safe areas only. Chewing is a natural activity for dogs of all ages when they are bored or physically restricted.
Give a couple of chew on toys that are safe for him. It avoids bad behavior, bad habits to set in.
Remember – “Prevention is better than cure” !
Eliminating possibility for accidents and destructive behavior is the best strategy to keep your stuff undamaged while your pup is going through his “toddler troubles”.
- Dogs have their own language – and its not English!
Dogs communicate through body language.
Dogs do not understand English – they need to be exposed to our way of communication and taught. Your new puppy has no idea what a simple command “no” means.
Repeatedly and patiently correcting him with a one word command followed by a reward – is how he knows. He understands by association – when you say drop – dropping whatever he has in his mouth gets him a reward – that’s the association that he remembers.
And a pleasant one – worth for him to keep repeating each time you say ‘drop”.
- Learn about dog body language. Your dog communicates through body language. You want to understand your dog? – learn his language.
- Train with high-value treats from his standpoint. He has no value for money – hence expensive treats don’t mean a thing to him.
Watch and understand his likes and dislikes. Try a piece of chicken or turkey breast (NO CHICKEN BONES please – THEY CAN CHOKE A DOG TO DEATH), liver, cheese, etc.
Our Buster (miss him soooo much ) used to love cheese and bread. You will be amazed how hard he would work for a simple treat of his choice.
Treats used as rewards in training should be healthy, soft and something that your pup really loves. Hard treats take up valuable time from the main purpose – continuing with the lesson – hence no hard treats at this time.
Dog’s attention span is short – hence every moment is of essence during training. You have to impart the lesson when you have his attention! “Strike when the iron is hot!”.
- Positive instead of negative reinforcement works better. Be proactive – watch your dog doing the right thing – being good – reward him immediately . remember he learns by associating sequence of events.
By being proactive – you avoid scolding and avoid your puppy getting into trouble – a win win for both you and your pup. Just this one trick will pay you dividends many folds ! Rewarding him for being good reinforces this behavior as the one that gets him rewards.
- He’s a dog. Dogs don’t plan future like humans and they don’t brood over the past – they live in the “moment”. When they have your attention – eye contact – is the moment you have to impart the lesson.
- Dogs do not know bribery – Dogs do things that we reward and reinforce. Attempts to bribe a dog to change his behavior only backfire. Reinforce only dog behavior you want him to repeat or continue.
- Dogs live in the “moment”. Be quick to reward or punish for a certain behavior – result / consequence for a given behavior must happen instantaneously – few seconds later could be too late. The dog has moved on from that moment to a new moment a few seconds from the incident.
- Dog coming to you is a happy moment – so express it to him – give him praise, reward, treat, “atta boy” whatever.
- Your dog gets his energy from you. Your attitude reflects in his attitude – Keep it positive. If you are unhappy or about to get angry, your dog knows it!
12. Play with your dog every day. Make sure he gets the right amount of exercise and mental stimulation. It keeps him healthy, entertained and out of trouble. Boredom brings out the worst behavior in the dog.