Positive reinforcement is one of the best tools at your disposal, when it comes to shaping or modifying your dog’s behavior. You can use many things for reward based puppy training, such as; treats, toys or praise, or playing their favorite game, in order to instill good habits , develop good manners, and encourage your pup to repeat commands.
We all know how food-orientated most dogs are, so it will come as no surprise that dog-friendly treats work particularly well when it comes to reward based training.
The treats you choose for training should be very small (think the size of a pea, or smaller), and should be soft in texture – so they eat it fast and look for more.
A treat should be absolutely irresistible to your puppy, so feel free to experiment and learn which are their favorites. Try and keep a variety in the house, to avoid your dog becoming bored of the same kind.
Each time you give your pup a treat, it’s a good idea to also team it with verbal praise. Phrases like “good dog”, or “Yes”, said in an excited and enthusiastic tone work well.
If your dog isn’t as motivated by food treats as other puppies, you can use petting, toys or a brief play to make them feel effectively rewarded.
When your puppy is in the early stages of learning a new skill or habit, it’s important to reward their good behaviour every time. This process is known as continuous reinforcement.
In this stage, you would aim to be providing them with treats every four out of five times they nail their new
Once your puppy is reliably displaying the desired behavior, you can move on to intermittent reinforcement – continue with the praise, but gradually decrease the amount of treats you are giving them for this action.
In this stage, you would begin by reducing the treats to three out of five times, and so on – but don’t reduce them too drastically, or your fur baby may end up in a state of confusion or frustration.
It is important to note, that whilst you aim to reduce the treats, you never remove the praise.
Try and use a variable schedule when it comes to positive reinforcement, so they don’t try and trick the system – if they learn they only need to respond every second time for a treat, that is exactly what could end up happening.
By changing things up in a random fashion, your dog will learn that if they respond every time, they will eventually get the reward they want.
It is in a puppy’s best interest to live according to a schedule. When a dog comes to a new home, they need to adapt to their new life. Establishing a training schedule, incorporating potty training, feeding, playing and rest time, helps strengthen their bond with you and builds their confidence. Keeping a consistent schedule can help to avoid toilet accidents, relax more, and feeling sure of what’s to come.
The main step to establishing a new schedule for your puppy, is to consider a routine that incorporates all family members and makes the most sense for the entire household. Puppies learn from you and adapt to routine very well, so this is a great advantage.
Puppies should live on a cycle of; toilet, free time, food, water, nap time – then rinse and repeat. Puppy’s with separation anxiety may not benefit from this so please consult a trainer.
As it happens, you can teach an old dog new tricks after all. In fact, they can actually be easier to train than puppies, as they generally have more self-control. It is important to keep your dog’s mind sharp by continuing the training as they age. It also helps to encourage structure and mental stimulation that pets need.
Whether you are wanting to train a dog you have recently adopted into your home, or to train your older pet, it can definitely be done. So, here’s what you’ll need to know.
Patience is key. If the dog is a new addition to your family, you need to allow them some time for adjustment and settling in. Older dogs that were looking for a home often come with an unknown history, which can mean there are a lot of nerves around uncertain environments. This period may last from a few days to a month or even more, depending on the situation.
As soon as your dog is comfortable in the knowledge that this is their forever home, they will relax and realise they aren’t going anywhere.
Obedience classes are incredibly beneficial for dogs, just a much as they are for brand new puppies. Valuable skills can be learned here, such as good manners, sensible loose lead walking and basic commands – such a sit, stay, fetch and shake.
Whilst we recommend holding off on formalised obedience training until your dog reaches six months old, your puppy will be more than capable of learning simple tasks from around 8 weeks of age.
Teaching any trick to a dog is all about the incentive. If you have his favorite treats out, they will be putty in your hands.
If you wish to teach your dog to “shake hands”, you could start out by rewarding them for lifting one paw off the ground. You would then progress to rewarding them for lifting it higher, then for making contact with your hand, then for allowing you to hold onto their paw. The final reward would be given for them “shaking your hand”.
It is also important for them to be able to associate a word and/or action with this command – i.e. using the word “shake” or snapping your fingers each time.
Crate training can be an effective training tool for puppies and older dogs alike. It can be a journey however, and can time and effort to get your pup using the crate correctly.
If you have a new puppy or adult dog, crate training can be a great way to teach your new pet their boundaries within the house. It can also teach your dog to feel more comfortable when travelling in the car, or any other time where your dog may need to be in an enclosed area.
The crate must be big enough for your dog to stand up in, turn themselves around and lie down in. It can be made from metal, plastic or fabric – noting that if left alone in a fabric crate for extended periods, your dog may choose to try and scratch their way out.
The crate is designed to be a safe and secure space for your dog. It is in dogs’ nature to enjoy small rooms and enclosed spaces, especially when they feel somewhat unsure about a situation. ‘
Impulse control, also known as emotional self-control, is, for the most part, a learned trait for dogs. Most annoying habits that you could think of in the dog world, can be traced back to lack of self-control.
Unless otherwise trained, impatient and demanding puppies don’t grow into patient and restrained adult dogs. In order to weed out any potential bad habits that develop during canine adolescence, it is important to teach your puppy some level of impulse control.
Firstly, you must remember that to your new puppy, your home is not a familiar environment. The first few days in particular can be quite stressful for them, as everything around them is brand new. Your pup needs to get used to your household, including you and your movements as well as the surroundings – house, backyard and neighborhood. Your new friend needs to take in all the sights, smells and sounds.
The toilet training process should begin as soon as you bring your puppy home, but remember it can take a lot of time and patience to get things right.
Your dog will display signs when it needs to go. These may include;
Designate a toilet area for your pet. This may be a puppy training pee pad, or outside in the backyard. When you notice a sign that your pup needs to go, take them directly to the toilet area. This will train them to associate the feeling of needing to go, with the designated zone.
Be sure to also take your puppy to the toilet according to routine. Key times include; after they wake up from a nap, eating or having a play. Puppies can’t control their bladder for very long, so be sure to provide them with plenty of opportunities to go. Over the puppy’s life, they will of course get better at bladder control.
If your puppy doesn’t go, take them back inside and just try again later. If they do go, be sure to reward them immediately. Use encouraging words and actions, make a positive fuss, to ensure the puppy learns that it is related to going to the toilet in the right place.
Accidents do happen, and probably will. In the event of one, don’t shout or become angry. This will only teach them to be scared about going in front of you, which is definitely not the objective. Just clean it up and move on.
Play is important to puppies for a number of reasons. It’s a great way for them to learn how to socialize and develop appropriate boundaries. It’s also incredibly important for their physical and mental growth. During play time, your pup will get a dose of exercise, muscle stretching, and agility training. They will also work out their mental muscles, learn to obey commands, and develop their communication skills.
The best kind of toys to surprise your new puppy with are;
Obedience training is designed to teach your pet exactly what their role is within the family unit and in a larger sense, the world. During this training, they will develop the skills they need in order to have successful interactions with other dogs as well as the people inside and outside of your home.
Dog training is the first important step to instilling healthy behaviors. It often commences with simple commands, but later on, will be trained more specifically – such as crate training or sitting patiently without making any noise during family dinner time.
One of the best things about training your puppy within the home, as opposed to a puppy training class, is that you can personalise the training to your lifestyle. Whilst there’s no right or wrong place to start, it’s beneficial to begin puppy training early on, to teach your dog how to listen to you and encourage good behavior.
All in all, there are so many different training methods and theories when it comes to man’s best friend – so it’s important to find the one that works best for you and your fur baby. Here are some other proven methods of dog training, that may also be worth looking in to;
Time to begin training and teach your puppy some new tricks – and stock up on plenty of treats!
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