Table of contents
- Top five puppy training methods
- What to do when puppy training isn’t working
- The most important thing to remember
Article at a glance
- Different puppies may respond to different training methods
- Treats and praise can be important parts of every training process
- You have to train yourself as well as your puppy
- Do not get frustrated and seek professional help when needed
Puppy training is what most new pet owners dread the most. Sometimes it feels like a breeze, and sometimes it feels like your puppy will never learn.
Like humans, all dogs are different. They have different personalities that make it easier to train them and that make them more or less responsive to training styles. Finding what works for your puppy might take some time – and some patience.
And an owner, you will probably have to make some sacrifices during puppy training. You may have a very vocal puppy at night, and you’ll need to be prepared to not give in when he/she is howling for attention.
Top five puppy training methods
- Clicker training
- Positive reward training
- Repetition training
- Control training
- Behavioral training
Clicker training is an interesting option when it comes to puppy training. In essence, you teach your puppy that the sound of the clicker is a positive reinforcement, and you do this by using the clicker every time the puppy behaves in a desired fashion then simultaneously giving a treat.
Over time, the puppy starts to associate the sound with a positive reward. Dogs will repeat behaviors that they are rewarded for, so this is a great way to train your puppy.
Why use the clicker and not just the treat? The clicker is an immediate sound response to the desired behavior your puppy shows. This allows you to “mark” the good behavior and then give the treat, so there is no confusion. When you use only a treat, it might take you a minute to get it out of your pocket, and the puppy may not know exactly what you are rewarding.
Positive reward training
Without a clicker, positive reward training is still a great way to train your puppy. While you can use treats as a primary way to let your puppy know when he’s been good, you can also lavish him with pats and praise.
Positive reward training means focusing on the things your puppy does well and ignoring the undesirable behaviors.
If you’re wondering why yelling at your puppy when he’s doing something bad isn’t a part of this training, it’s because attention is what your puppy is after – good or bad. When you acknowledge something bad with a response, you run the risk that you’ve actually given your puppy what it’s looking for, and that’s your attention.
Along with a reward system is the use of repetition in puppy training. This doesn’t always have to come with a treat or a positive reinforcement, it’s more about creating memory through repetition.
Think about it this way: if you want your puppy to go to his space every time the doorbell rings, you must take him over there every time the doorbell rings. This behavior will be doubly enforced if you can reward your puppy with treats or praise, but repetition alone will start the process.
Control training is not about using control methods in puppy training; it is about teaching your puppy impulse control. It’s natural for a young dog to get very excited when something new or desirable is happening. Teaching your puppy control is a very important part of teaching manners.
Control training often happens after some of the basics. When your puppy already knows how to sit, for example, you can use that cue as the command to interrupt erratic behavior. Asking for the sit command before going for a walk, giving a treat, putting down food, or meeting new people, helps your puppy learn that he/she must control their responses.
In the scheme of puppy training, behavioral training is one of the most complex methods of training that takes place at home. Everything you do with your puppy is technically behavioral training, so this can make or break how much progress you make.
Your puppy is taking cues from you all the time. Dogs are pack animals, and they look to their leader for pretty much everything.
Behavioral training involves both you and your puppy and the awareness that some problems seen in adult dogs are directly the result of an owner’s habits.
If you pick up your keys from the exact same spot every time you leave the house, your puppy will pick up on this. The movement of the keys becomes a symbol that you’re about to leave, and if your puppy has separation anxiety, this can be a trigger.
Behavioral training might mean more for you than for your puppy! You will need to have total awareness of your habits and how they impact an impressionable dog.
What to do when puppy training isn’t working
If you are a first-time puppy owner and things don’t seem to be going your way, or if you’ve encountered a puppy that just doesn’t seem to respond like others, don’t lose hope.
Sometimes the insight of a professional can make a big difference in how your puppy training improves, and you can decide just how much intervention you need. It may turn out you want your puppy to attend regular classes.
Classes are a great way to learn from an expert if you plan to have more dogs down the road.
The most important thing to remember
When it comes to house training and puppy or puppy behavior training, the most important thing is to remember not to get frustrated.
Puppies are like children, except they have an even larger learning curve when it comes to words and comprehension. Getting angry at your puppy doesn’t make him/her respond more. In fact, it might make them respond less.
Be patient. Remember rewards and repetition. Get help when you need it. There is no reason why puppy training can’t be stress-free for everyone.