The fabulous foundation that you and your pup have begun requires continued consistency to make it stick.
The consistent dog training effort you put in now with your pup will pay off in MEGA DIVIDENDS as your pup grows into the dog you desire him to be.
Conversely, the bad habits that you decide to allow now will also be felt for the rest of your life together.
Embrace short training sessions. This is critical, especially with puppies and immature dogs who have very short attention spans. You want to stop before your pooch loses interest. Always end on a positive note. No DRILL & KILL!!! Set your pooch up for success when you are working on a behavior. If things aren’t going as you had hoped and you and your pooch is getting frustrated–STOP that session. Some pooches are ready to roll first thing in the morning, others slowly emerge and warm up as the day unfolds. (Sounds just like us, huh!) so try to use the best times for your little one to learn. Give me those frequent sessions, like 5 short sessions a day, and not more than 5 minutes each session. Give those sessions to your and your dog all day long rather than one hour class on a Saturday! “Capture” and reward behaviors whenever you can. Is your puppy running to greet you? Say, “Fiona, Come!” and reward her lavishly when she gets to you.
Walking down the hallway and your puppy comes along with you at your side? Label it “Let’s Go” and reward it!
I utilize opportunities as part of everyday life to reinforce behaviors I want in my pups!
I keep working on your puppy’s name recognition too by brightly saying her name and rewarding her interest and attention with a delicious treat, a few moments of the kind of petting she likes best (belly rubs, neck massage, a nice scratching session at the top of her tail) and/or warm praise.
Use your everyday routines to remind you to practice with your puppy. Going to the end of the driveway to get the mail? Bring your puppy on her leash. The simple act of opening a door is an opportunity to sit nicely and wait! It also gives you the opportunity to reward her for focus (eye contact to you). THEN she gets to practice nice walking with you all the way to the mailbox and back (with some cued sits, downs, eye contact, etc. along the way). When you get back to your door, you have ANOTHER chance to have your puppy sit to await the invitation to go through the door. Then, she can offer a polite sit on the other side of the door! Wasn’t that a peaceful little training session? Look at all the things it included as well as some nice exposure to a brief trip outdoors where the pup may have seen pedestrians, vehicles, birds, squirrels, airplanes overhead, etc. to give you a chance to reward her for calmly noticing things and turning her attention back to you.
Consistency: Don’t ever give a command that you are not willing to enforce. The quickest way to ruin good training is to not follow through. Your pooch finds comfort and balance when you supply them with a consistent and clear message. With consistency, you will be on your way to having a happy and reliable companion. Say what you mean and mean what you say….the first time. And you don’t have to be mean to MEAN IT.
Patient & Positive: Helping your dog JUST Be is the best thing you can teach your dog. Be consistently patient and positive with your pooch. Your pooch really does want to please you, so don’t take any behavior personally. Be patient while your pooch is trying to figure out what you’re trying to communicate to them. Be positive with praise and rewards when there is progress on any behavior you are working on. Responding negatively or in a frustrated manner can unwind all the success and progress you’ve made over the previous days, weeks and months.
Human’s Touch, Tone & Timing; Your energy needs to be Calm, Composed and Clear. Remember you really are speaking “Dog” when you aren’t speaking at all!! You are the leader of your pack and you need to communicate that quiet, calm, composed energy when working with your pooch. Your timing is essential to help your pooch really understand what exactly it is you are trying to say! You also must correct the behavior in the act of a misbehavior; making a correction after the fact is of little or no value. Your tone of voice in praise, correction and commands is another important element to success. Praise is a positive tone with quiet energy and an upbeat tone. Correction is a firm “No” or “Chht”. Commands are a neutral tone with an intentional energy.
Respect of Space & Safety: Always expect your pack to respect your space, how they come say Hi to you, at doors and everywhere! When you invite them into your space–that’s good. You decide when they come, how they come and how they are to act when they come into your space. For example, when pooch comes running up to see you when you step outside to visit him, does he get to jump on you and excitedly lick you all over? NO! I would rather the pooch comes running up, sits quietly and waits for your welcome and gentle praise. When with other dogs, know that the BEST thing you can do for your dog is socialization. The most dangerous thing you can do for your dog is socialization. BE WISE with who your dog is with at all times. BE CAREFUL!
When your pup is out of their crate or confined space, keep looking for teachable moments and opportunities as you move through your day with your dog! Remember, my motto is: “We train our dogs as we live our daily lives.”