Spring is finally here, and for many families, this is a popular time to get a puppy. To help you successfully train your puppy, here are our top five tips, based on our experience training and successfully placing over 123 dogs this year alone:
- Be vigilant. You can use the world around you as reinforcement. Every interaction you have with your dog is a learning opportunity. By giving your dog praise, touch, opportunities to play games, walks and more your relationship will only strengthen. Keep your relationship strong by paying attention to opportunities for praise and/or correction.
- Positive affirmation. While you might feel like you’re saying “no” a lot to deter your puppy from picking up bad habits, it’s important to reward them for good behavior. Make sure you give your dog lots of attention when they are doing the right thing.
- Be direct. There is nothing inherently wrong with telling your dog “no,” but you have to direct what “no” means to your dog. Instead of telling your dog “no,” tell them what you want them to do. For example, if your dog jumps up on someone to say hello, instead of saying “no,” ask the dog to “sit” and be consistent with your commands. Speaking of…
- Consistency. Whenever you’re training your dog, it’s important to get anyone who interacts with them on the same page. If you are telling your dog “off” when they jump on the couch and someone else is saying “down” while another person often cuddles with them on the couch, how is the dog going to learn what to do? Consistency will be the key to your success.
- Learn to listen to your dog. If your puppy appears to be uncomfortable meeting another dog, animal or person, don’t insist that they say hello. The puppy is telling you that they aren’t comfortable for a reason, and you should respect that. Forcing a meeting may create a tense situation.
By Sam Ziegenmeyer, Breeding Program Manager
Training is absolutely essential to the likelihood of a Future Leader Dog becoming a Leader Dog. Help us continue to provide excellent Leader Dogs by donating or volunteering.