The foundation of any kind of puppy training relies on Positive Reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is a process in which a dog gets something he loves in return for any desired behaviour.
This means that whenever your dog shows behaviour that you would like to see more from him, you reward him with something he loves. This “something” can be your dog’s favourite treats, chew toys or even a lot of love.
If you are a first-time owner or not an expert in training dogs, I would recommend you to use Treats for rewarding the good behaviour shown by your pet dog. But you can still train your puppy without using treats.
Don’t think you are bribing your dog, you are just providing him value for the good things he shows. Do not use any kind of punishment or yell at your dog if he is not showing the desired behaviour.
Patience and Consistency is an important quality for you to have if you want to train your puppy for any kind of command. It can take a good amount of time and effort from your side, so be prepared for it.
Before you start to train your puppy, here are some things you shall keep in mind:
- You can start training a puppy after he’s around 6-8 weeks old.
- Keep short 5-10 minute training sessions.
- Try to end sessions on a high note, this means that you should try and reward your puppy at the end of every training session.
- Do not let your puppy get bored or distracted.
How to Teach a Puppy to Come (Recall Command)
This has to take place indoors or in a quiet place with no distractions. Instruct your dog to “Come” to you by saying “Come” or his name and give him a treat for looking at you.
He doesn’t have to do anything but just look at you when you are instructing him to “Come”. This will encourage him to listen to you by paying attention to you.
Now, drop a treat on the floor and as soon as he finishes eating that treat, call his name again. If he looks at you when you call him, give him another treat.
Repeat this whole process a couple of times and then start tossing the treat a little farther away so that he can turn around to face you.
Toss the treat on the ground and then take a few steps away from your puppy while calling his name. He will come after you as dogs enjoy chasing people. Allow them to catch you and when they catch you, praise your puppy with a lot of verbal praises, physical rubbing, and treats.
Continue playing these games and increase the distances if your puppy is chasing you when you call him by his name. When your puppy comes to you, do not grab him. Try to reward your dog anywhere he listens to his name or responds to it.
Here’s a video which will help you with Recall command:
How to Teach a Dog to Walk on a Loose Leash
“Heel” means when your puppy is walking with his head even with your knee while you hold the leash loosely. The objective here is to make your dog walk beside you in a relaxed manner with a loose leash without pulling it.
Choose one side. Either you can allow your puppy to move to your left or right. Zig-zag movement should not be allowed. Also, always use the same cue command.
Firstly, make sure your puppy is comfortable wearing the leash. Some puppies even start biting the leash. This biting the leash behaviour needs to be stopped. Give treats to your puppy whenever you put on the leash.
Now, stand next to your dog with the loose leash in a loop. If he is sitting or standing next to your leg, reward him with tasty treats. Take a step further and if your dog follows your leg, reward him again.
Continue giving the treats to your puppy if he keeps on following you. If he goes forward to you, just stop and call his name and wait for him to come to you. If he does, reward your puppy with treats.
Gradually start giving the treats after every other step or after every third step. Allow your dog to sniff around and smell. When they are done, give a cue command like “Let’s go” and reward your puppy for walking back again with you.
If you find yourself being pulled around by a large puppy, a no-pull harness can help. There is a great article on choosing a no-pull dog harness over at the Fuzzy Rescue website, that you may find useful.
Hope these training tips help you as you begin the rewarding journey of being a dog owner. But remember if you face any problems during training, don’t give up, you can simply seek the advice of a professional trainer to discover where you might be going wrong.