I often get asked how my pup can do so many tricks and how he always on his best behavior. It’s something I’m proud of because he’s worked hard and deserves the praise. Well, maybe I should take that back. Sure he worked hard on that flawless spin, but if most owners followed a couple simple tips, then their dog too can easily knock out a gorgeous display of tricks and good behavior.
As long as you follow three fairly easy tips, training and good behavior is a cakewalk.
The first rule is do not raise your voice or ever get mad. It will just backfire and discipline by aggression is not only terrible, it’s simply not needed.
- The second rule is only give treats when they have done a rewardable act.
- Watch how you reward – this is difficult because you can easily reinforce a negative behavior just by simply acknowledging it.
These three tips should be applied throughout the day, but if you don’t know how to apply them they won’t do you a lot of good.
Rewarding good behavior
Alright, before we move on let’s address treats. I know it’s hard, but you really shouldn’t give treats to dogs unless they’ve “worked” for it. I know, dogs are like children to us and we want to love them by giving tasty treats just for being their cute selves. But giving treats for no reason is a quick way to kill early training and good behavior.
If you only give your pup treats when they have done a praisable act, it really helps reinforce the reward. They only come to expect food when they’ve done something good.
Some owners have success with only verbal praise and toys, and it’s a good idea to try, but I want to stay realistic. I’ll also be even more realistic and say it’s OK to give treats just because.
However, try and stay strong for the first two years at least, especially the first because it will pay off wonderfully for the next 10+ years.
Don’t get mad: housebreaking 101
Housebreaking is usually the first thing you will ever train your dog to do, and it’s going to put your rules to the test.
Accidents are going to happen and when they do, remember the firs tip, you don’t scold the pup! You simply take them outside! I have seen this work on so many dogs and it’s so simple.
Every time they have an accident, just take them straight outside, and that alone will potty train them. You can give a firm ‘no” if you catch them in the moment, but that’s all you’ll need.
However, you’re going to speed up the housebreaking process by applying tip two. If they end up going outside, even if they just squat, give them a treat as fast as you can.
This method works wonderful, and puppies can be almost, if not completely housebroken within 2-3 weeks after you first bring them home. Remember the third tip and watch how you react verbally and physically.
Going for walks
Some dogs just can’t handle themselves when they get to go for a walk. Just the word “walk” spoken aloud turns them into a tornado. This is my dog, but he’s a piece of cake to walk once we are outside.
What you want to do first is try teaching them to walk properly without giving treats. Every time they pull on the leash you immediately stop and have them sit. Once they have taken a seat, you can give light praise and start walking again. Often, this is enough of a reward on its own, so give it a shot before introducing treats.
It’s all about the tricks
Tricks are the key to good behavior.
If you’ve been following my advice you can start teaching tricks fairly early – 10 to 15 weeks of age is often a good age, but some can learn sooner. If you see that the puppy is responding to housebreaking, then it’s probably a good time to start. Simply start with sit, stay, lay down, shake, and keep those in a rotation until they have them down pat.
Let’s look at the most important trick for conditioning good behavior: stay. It’s fairly easy to get them to stay, and it’s great for reinforcing good behavior, and teaching a hyper pup how to calm down. Cannabidiol oil also helps to control the dog’s behavior.
After you get them to stay in place, you can place treats in front of them and have them wait. You can also do this when you feed them. When giving treats, you’ll want to aim for 30-60 seconds as your main goal. I know that seems long, but it’s needed. You should also attempt to walk slowly away until you’re no longer in their view.
I think doing this is the sole reason I can leave food well within the reach of my pup, and go to bed only to walk down the stairs in the morning to see it still on the coffee table. Now that is good behavior!
What a breeze
See, not too hard right? Remember, good behavior starts with the owner, and as long as you can stick to it, then your pup will as well. For more information on training tips, and other great info make sure to click here.