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training your puppy

Well Trained YorkieIt's essential for puppy and dog parents like you to know certain basic factors that determine your relationship with your dog and can go a long way in training him effectively.

Before you begin training your puppy, it is absolutely essential that you build a loving bond with him. This is important as it helps you to understand his needs and instincts and also allows your puppy to have complete trust in you. This is a crucial step in the training for it gives the future adult dog an ingrained frame of reference that is easy to remember. Just like Pavlovs' dog would begin to salivate at the sound of a bell, a dog trained with love will wag it's tail at the mere sound of the masters voice.

Let us see how.......

How To Bond With Your Dog

Building an empathic bond with your dog is the first and the most crucial step involved in training him successfully. As soon as you bring your puppy home, you must first try to develop a caring and loving relationship with him in order to win his trust and confidence.

When dogs are secure in the knowledge that they belong to the family, they are more likely to respond better to their owners' training commands. Just like with any relationship, there must be mutual trust and respect between you and your dog.

Trust takes time to develop and respect comes from defining boundaries and treating any breach of those boundaries with firmness and fairness.

Without enforceable limitations, respect can’t be developed. And when there is no respect, building a bond with your Dog is almost impossible.

4 Golden Rules To Building A Relationship With Your Dog :

  • Spend quality time together;
  • Take him out in the world and experience life together;
  • Establish and promote a level of mutual respect; and
  • Develop a way of communicating to understand each other's needs.

Building a bond with your Dog will not only help you manage him better but will also make your Dog calm, quiet and an extremely well-adjusted pet.

Love Your Dog and He Will Love You back

Once you're successful in building a bond with your Dog, you can rest assured that training him and teaching him new and clever tricks will be a cakewalk.

How Your Dog Learns...

Your Dog's learning period can be divided into five phases:

The Teaching Phase - This is the phase where you must physically demonstrate to your Dog exactly what you want him to do.

The Practicing Phase - Practice makes Perfect. Once a lesson is learnt, practice with your Dog what you have just taught him.

The Generalizing Phase- Here you must continue practicing with your Dog in different locations and in an environment with a few distractions. You can take your Dog out for a walk, or to a nearby park and command him to practice whatever you've taught him. Practicing the learned lessons in multiple locations and in the presence of small distractions will help him learn and retain lessons better

The Testing Phase - Once you're sure that your Dog has achieved almost 90% success....he responds correctly almost every time you give a command, you must start testing his accuracy in newer locations with a lot of distractions.

Example: Take him to the local shopping mall and ask him to obey your command. He may not come up with the correct response the very first time you do this, but you must not lose hope. The idea is to test your dog to see how he responds in an environment which is new to him. Set-up a situation where you are in control of the environment and your dog.

There are only 2 possibilities:

  • Your dog succeeds!!! (Trumpets please!)
  • In case your dog fails, re-examine the situation. Review and/or change your training. Then try testing again.

Keep on testing until he succeeds. Follow the rule of the 3 Ps – patience, persistence, praise.

Internalizing Phase - Finally, comes the extremely rewarding phase where your dog does everything he is taught to do even without your commands.

Remember:

  • Never scold your dog if he fails. It's not his fault. You have failed as a trainer!
  • You must be patient and persistent for your efforts to show rewards.
  • Appreciate and love your dog when he does it right! A little encouragement will work wonders for your dog.
  • Dog training is easy when you do it right.

Now on to some more advanced training rules....

Why Won't My Dog Listen To Me???

This is a common question that most first-time Dog owners ask me. Before I answer your question, let me ask you a few instead:

  • Do you use cookies, collars, head halters or clicker training to make your dog listen to your commands?
  • Do you raise your voice every time you want your dog to listen to you?
  • Does your dog always come or sit on command - anytime and anywhere you want him to?

If your answers are mostly in the negative, its time you seriously reconsider your role as a sincere dog trainer and/or an alpha pet parent.

Get Your Dog To Listen To You!

Before you begin any training, you must first establish yourself as the "ALPHA dog" of your family. Your dog must know that you’re the leader of the pack and it is YOU  who is in charge. This is most easily done from the puppy stage, under a year of age. With older dogs this may take some time, remember the 3 P's!

Here is a list of simple DO's and DONT's that you must follow to be the Alpha:

  • Always go out or come in through the door first - remember you are the leader;
  • Always eat first - give your dog something to eat only after you've finished your meal, and don't feed your dog from the table, or on your bed;
  • Don't let your dog lick your face, it means you are submitting to him;
  • Don’t circle around your dog when he is lying on the floor - make your dog move out of your way instead;
  • Don't let your dog set the rules - feed and pay attention to him when you think fit and not whenever he demands;
  • Don’t permit your dog to sleep with you in your bed - demarcate his sleeping area clearly.

Once you successfully established yourself as the Alpha, training your dog and making him listen will be a lot easier than you can imagine. Remember, if your dog does not learn to "listen", all your training efforts will be in vain!

Does your dog know his name? Does your dog look at you whenever you call him by his name? This is the first and the most critical step involved in dog training If your dog doesn't respond to his name, you cannot have his attention for teaching him any other commands.

To make sure that your dog recognizes his name, take a treat in your hand and hold it away from your body. Call your dog's name. He is most likely to look at the treat in your hand. Continue calling his name until he turns and looks at your eyes. Give him the treat immediately. Repeat this exercise by holding the treat in the other hand. Once you're sure that your dog has learnt to recognize his name, just call his name and reward him for looking at you by petting or with a hug.

You must understand that dogs respond far better to positive reinforcement than they do to coercion or force. When you love your dog they automatically want to please you and makes training a fun and simple exercise.

Housetraining

Housetraining a puppy or adult dog is such an essential issue for its owner that even a single exclusive tip turns out to be extremely helpful. The first step in making your Dog fit for polite company would be to potty train him. Some see this training as a hassle and some as a challenge.

For me, it is part of bringing up a pet.

There are a few things you need to know before you actually start potty training a puppy or adult dog. I enumerate these below:

  • You need to understand your dog's body language. Watch for signs that will indicate to you when your pet wants to eliminate.
  • If you own puppies, remember that they need to go potty at fairly frequent intervals - as soon as they wake up, after short naps, after play-time, after meals, before and after being crated and finally, before retiring for the night.
  • Take your Dog for walks at the time that he usually does his potty. Take him out to the yard and then to the same place there every time he needs to answer nature's call.
  • Praise your Dog after he eliminates at the right place. Some Dog owners even give treats to their dogs. But remember to do this every time he does it right. He will relate the rewards to his having "done it right" and zero in on the spot where you want him to defecate regularly.
  • With time, you can try signal training. This is so that you know when your doggie wants to go. You can hang a bell at his level near the door and teach him to push it with his nose or pat it with his paw on his way out.
  • Until your dog has been fully potty trained keep him under strict vigilance. Do not let him roam around the house freely.
  • Use a crate. A crate-trained dog is usually very happy to get his own den. The advantage of crating is that dogs do not soil the place where they sleep. So, he will naturally not eliminate inside the crate.
  • If you have a small dog and if you live in a high-rise building or in a place that does not have a proper backyard, you can try litter pan training. What you do is create a space for your pet to eliminate in your house itself.
  • Use positive reinforcements while housebreaking puppies or adult dogs. Do not scold or hit him as you will gain nothing by doing that. He will only associate punishment with your return from outside. If you catch him in the act, a stern 'NO' or 'FREEZE' will do. It will startle the dog enough for him to stop pooping.
  • Be prepared to return to a soiled home if you are keeping your dog home alone for more than 5 hours as separation anxiety is quite common among home - alone dogs.
  • Accidents will happen. It is unusual for a trained adult dog to work against its house training. But medical problems or health disorders may lead to sudden accidents.
  • Many dogs mark their territory. These can be a leg of a table or a particular wall. Intact male and female dogs mark their territories by urinating. Use deodorizers to spray on the places where your dog has marked.
  • If you are patient and are ready to accept that house training a dog takes time, even months sometimes, you will end up having a good housetrained dog.

Now we will move on to how to potty train puppies and adult dogs.

Potty Training A Puppy:

Irrespective of breeds, housetraining a puppy is considered to be one of the biggest challenges by dog owners. If you think housetraining your puppy simply involves a steady supply of old newspapers, then think again.

A puppy does not develop full control over his bladder until it is over 4 or 5 months old, sometimes as long as a year. Since they are growing and developing rapidly at this time, puppies eat more, burn more calories and need to eliminate more frequently than an adult dog.

After each nap, meal, drink or play, take your puppy to his designated area (indoors or outdoors, wherever you have decided) and stay there until it eliminates. Then bring him to his crate.

Repeat this situation everyday until he has developed a habit out of it.

Potty Training An Adult Dog:

The best way to housetrain an adult dog is to begin all over again.

Observe him very closely. Maybe even maintain a diary of where he goes and when. Whether he is pooping when you are home or only when you are outside; whether you can time yourself to be home when he feels the need to go outside.

You can try dog crates, but be careful to introduce him gradually to them.

Remember, commitment, consistency and intelligent use of positive reinforcement will make you the owner of a perfectly housetrained dog. Don't expect miracles. You will only be disappointed.

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