Video: Separation Anxiety in Dogs

One of the most common problems a canine behaviorist handles is separation anxiety. It is easy to become frustrated when your dog has separation anxiety, and that frustration can be sensed by your dog making the situation that much more difficult.

SEPARATION ANXIETY

What is separation anxiety, exactly? Separation anxiety is often thought to be simply as a dog who becomes upset when their guardian leaves the house. This is not always the case, though. A dog can experience separation anxiety, in severe cases, by their guardian just leaving the room.

SYMPTOMS OF SEPARATION ANXIETY

Separation anxiety has a variety of symptoms but most commonly involves:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Excessive vocalization (whining, barking, howling)
  • Chewing items in the house
  • Urinating/defecating in the house
  • Scratching the walls and floor in an attempt to escape
  • Depression-like behavior

Training Tips: 22 Great Ideas To Help You Train Your Dog in 2020

Training your dog should be fun! But it can also be quite challenging. Especially if your dog is young, bouncy and strong!

I’ve selected some helpful tips for you below.

I’d like to help as many people as I can and so I’ve also set up regular tips by email which will answer many of your questions.

Okay! Now for some tips you can start working on right away.

Sometimes the simplest tip can make the biggest difference to the pleasure you get from training your dog.

Here are some of my favorites, together with a few important rules that will help you have more fun with your Labrador.

#1 Build a dog training habit

Training a dog takes time and needs to be done regularly.

Like any other demand on your time, you are most likely to stick with it, if you make your dog training sessions a daily habit.

Habits are hard to make, but hard to break. So making good habits is always worthwhile.

Motivating yourself

Pick a time to start when your motivation is high!  A New Year, a new month, a birthday.. these are often powerful motivators for us.

Rewarding your dog is good, but you need to reward yourself after each training session too – spend five minutes doing something YOU really enjoy.

#2 Getting started

Link your dog training sessions to something else you do every day. Sessions don’t need to be long, especially in the beginning.

Getting the habit going should be your priority. And experts reckon it takes from 30 to 60 days of daily commitment to get a habit well established.

Five minutes training after the school run each day, or when you get home from work, will work wonders if you do it religiously every day.

Later, when the habit is well established you can skip a day if you need to, or train for longer if you want to. But in the beginning, aim for short sessions every day.

#3 Choose the right rewards

Choosing the right treat for the skill you are training today, is critical.  And your ability to make the right choice will improve with practice.

The most important factors which will influence your choice will be

• Preference
• Distractions
• Hunger

Each of these factors work together and against each other.  If your dog prefers roast chicken to sausage,  you may still find training with sausage is effective, until you increase the distractions around him.

Then you may need to switch to chicken for a while.

Unless of course he is very hungry indeed, in which case sausage may work just fine!

Special or unusual foods often make better training treats.  If your dog gets kibble for every meal, kibble is not going to cut the mustard.

Not unless he hasn’t eaten for 48 hours.

While it makes sense not to try and train a dog that has just ‘stuffed his face’ we don’t want to starve our dogs. So when distractions are increased, we may need to offer better treats for a while.

#4 Learn to use an event marker

An event marker is one of the most useful dog training tools you will ever possess.

This is because it is so easy to reward the dog at the wrong time and reinforce the wrong behavior, and an event marker avoids this problem completely.

Your event marker makes a distinctive sound that lets the dog know exactly what the reward is for. The most common event marker is a clicker, but you can also use a word.

Using an event marker is a skill.  It does not come naturally and you will need to improve your timing and co-ordination.

You can practice by watching a TV programme and ‘marking’ a specific type of behavior,  such as an arm lift or a smile.  Practice on your kids, or your cat!

Just don’t use it around your dog, until you have mastered the skill of clicking when you observe a change in behavior, with a reasonable level of competence.

It won’t take you long, and you will continue to improve after you have started training your dog.

#5 Start easy

It ought to go without saying that easy tasks need to be learned before hard ones.

The reason many people fail with this, is because they don’t realize what is easy for a dog and what is hard.

It’s common for people to think a dog is being naughty if he obeys the word sit in your back yard, but won’t obey the word sit at the dog park. The truth of course is that sit is much harder for your dog where there are distractions.

The right short term goal is one that stretches your dog just a little, but that is attainable within a training session or two.

#6 Pick the right goals for your dog

Modern dog training methods focus on training good behaviors IN rather than training bad behaviors OUT.

Thus we train dogs to SIT to be petted rather than trying to STOP them jumping up.

This makes sense because there are often many different ways for a dog to be bad, and usually just one way for him to be good.

Whatever you are trying to teach make it easy for yourself and figure out what that ONE way is.

Decide what you want the dog TO DO, not which of the many alternatives you don’t want him to do.

#7 Sandwich the hard stuff!

Sandwiches are very important in dog training, though maybe not the sort of sandwiches you had in mind.

Memory is a funny thing.  We tend to remember things best if they happened at the beginning or the end of a particular event or time period.

Sandwiches can help you to keep your Labrador’s confidence high, whilst ‘stretching’ him just a little bit more each time you train.   And no,  we are not talking about edible sandwiches here!

This is about sandwiching the hard tasks between two easy ones.

Each time you challenge your dog,  it is a really good idea to ‘sandwich’  the most challenging or stretching thing you ask him to do,  in between two simpler versions of the same task.

Yesterday your dog sat perfectly still for 10 seconds,  ten yards away from you. Today you want him to sit for 15 seconds at the same distance.  Here is what I would do.
• Sit 1: 6 seconds
• Sit 2: 15 seconds
• Sit 3: 3 seconds

The sandwich ensures that the dog begins and ends with success. It gives him confidence and helps him to remain stoic about the extra time you have added on in the middle.

I use sandwiches a lot in dog training. They are a great way to ‘set the dog up to win’.

#8 Avoid punishing your dog

Several studies have shown that punishment, even mild punishment, interferes with learning.

It causes some dogs to shut down so they cannot learn and appear increasingly stupid.

And it causes some dogs to become ‘hard’ so that increasingly harsh punishments are required to get the same results.

Using punishment also impedes your ability to become more skilled in positive reinforcement training – and thus increases the likelihood that you will resort to punishment in the future.

Most worryingly, punishments of any kind have been shown to increase the risk of a dog becoming aggressive.

A punishment is anything that diminishes behavior – you don’t need to frighten or hurt your dog to be punishing him. It really is an outdated dog training tool and best avoided.

#9 Teach your dog to work for food

There are lots of ways to reward a dog without food, from affection to games and access to activities that are intrinsically attractive to most dogs such as hunting scent.

Food however, is supremely useful, especially in early training.

If you dismiss the use of food you are doing the equivalent of trying to train a dog with one hand tied behind your back.

Some dogs that have not been used to food rewards, ignore them to begin with.

But you can teach any dog the useful skill of working for edible rewards. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity with your dog.

#10 Manage your dog outdoors

Some dogs can become a problem outdoors if they are not properly supervised.

There are dogs that can just be allowed to trot along on a walk, without any intervention from their owner, and that never become a problem.

dog-training-tips-outdoorsBut for many young dogs, a certain amount of management on a walk, can make the difference between a dog that is a pleasure, and a dog that is a nightmare on walks.

Running off, pestering other people and chasing wildlife are common activities in young labradors that are not well supervised outside.

Managing your dog means engaging him in games, and activities at intervals during the walk to keep him focused on you and responsive to you.

#11 Do the recall challenge test!

Recall is so important and recall outdoors can be very challenging.

One thing that can really help you, is teaching your dog how to recall away from really tasty or attractive things, at home where you can control the outcome.

Try this recall challenge test

Place some tasty treats in a bowl.  Little lumps of meat or cheese is fine,  or you can use pieces of your dog’s kibble.

Let the dog see what is in the bowl, but don’t give it to him.

Now place the bowl on a raised work surface where the dog can see but not reach it.

Whilst the bowl has his full attention,  walk to the other side of the room and give a single recall command.

What does your dog do?

Does he rush to you and then back to the bowl again? If so, perfect.

Go with him to the bowl, give his a piece of the food from the bowl and congratulate yourself.

Your dog has already learned to look to you for the good things in life.  This is a great basis for training and teamwork.


Time to teach?

Many dogs however, will simply be unable to tear themselves away from the bowl, and will gaze lovingly at it whilst trying to ‘wish’ the contents into their tummies.

Some will bounce up and down in the hopes of defeating gravity.

These dogs have not yet grasped the idea that they can get you to help them.

It’s time to teach your dog that you are the provider of all good things.
You can ‘capture’ or ‘shape’  this new skill.

Capturing

After giving your single recall command, you can wait the dog out. Stay where you are and wait for him to give up his futile quest for the food.

You can encourage him to you with squeaky noises if you wish, but don’t repeat your recall.

When he eventually comes to you, tell him ‘GOOD’ and immediately go with him to the bowl and give him a piece of the food.

Repeat the process until he is rushing to you each time you call.  Give him a piece of food each time.

Shaping

If you wish, you can ‘shape’ the recall away from the food.  Instead of waiting for the dog to come right to you, you can reward him for just glancing in your direction.

When he is repeatedly looking at you to earn his reward, you can ask him to turn towards you, then eventually to take a step towards you, and so on.

Finish up with asking for a full recall before he gets his reward.

Expanding the concept

Recalling away from a ‘nice thing’ is so important that it is worth spending some time on this useful concept.

You can teach your dog to recall away from people, and even other dogs, all in the comfort of your home.

It is a good idea to do this before taking these exercises outdoors.

You can find many examples of these, and other recall exercises in my book  Total Recall

#12 Train for distractions

Don’t assume your dog will generalize what he learns at home, to the very different situations he encounters in new locations. He won’t.

Retrain all the skills your dog has learned at home, in each new environment he encounters.

Proof his recall, his loose leash walking, and other basis skills, against the presence of other dogs and people.

The time spent on this stage of training is worth its weight in gold.

#13 Use a training lead

We couldn’t make a collection of modern dog training tips without including the all important training lead or line.

When you first train your dog in the presence of distractions you need to prevent him helping himself to rewards – such as playing with other dogs – if he doesn’t obey you.

The training lead is your friend, because it helps you prevent the dog grabbing these ‘rewards’ after being naughty. It puts you where you should be, in charge of all rewards.

The best way to do this, is to have your dog drag a training line until you are confident he has understood your commands apply when there are ‘other dogs around’ or when he is ‘on the beach’ or ‘at the dog park’.

The new biothane training lines are light, tangle resistant, and easy to clean.

Always attach your dogs training lead to a well made harness.

#14 Fake it till you make it

How do you teach your dog not to jump at old ladies, steal ice creams from children, or not to run off every time he sees another dog in the distance?

It is not as if these things happen every single day. So how to you train for them?

The answer is you need to fake it!

Setting up fake training scenarios at home and in public places is a vital part of successful dog training. And it requires two things:

  • A friend
  • A training lead

You will need a friend, or friends to help you set up your fake scenarios. You cannot do this on your own.

If your dog behaves badly when other people are around, you can use a friend to set up the kinds of situations where he goes wrong, in easy stages, so that he can learn how to cope. I will give you an example in a moment.

If your dog behaves badly around other dogs, you will need a friend with a dog, so that you can practice how to behave near other dogs.

Using a training lead is a great way to prevent your dog helping himself to rewards after he has been ‘bad’.

The kinds of rewards that dogs commonly take for themselves are ‘games with other dogs’, ‘running up’ to strangers and ‘jumping’ on them, joining in children’s games uninvited, chasing leaves, and so on.

Anything that your dog enjoys doing can be used by him, as a reward.

An example of a fake it till you make it!

Here is an example of a fake scenario to help a dog that will not walk nicely on a lead past other dogs.

You cannot attempt this until your dog will walk nicely on the lead at home and where there are no other dogs around.

You will need a friend with a dog that will sit and stay calm whilst on a lead.

If your friend is training her dog too, you can take turns to be ‘the distraction dog’.

If you have a large garden you can do this at home, otherwise you will need to go to an open space early in the morning or when the weather is bad, in order to avoid other people distracting your dog.

Seated distraction dog

Ask your friend to sit her dog next to her, and 20 to 30 feet away from you. This is the seated distraction dog.

Now you need to behave as though the other dog is not there. And to practice lead walking up and down, well away from your friend and her dog. Do not approach them. If you are training with treats use some very tasty and special ones here.

Walk in a neat circle or square, walk up and down an imaginary line, stop and start, ask your dog to sit every now and then. Keep him focused and concentrating on you.

When he is successful and only then, you can move 10 feet nearer to your friend and repeat. Gradually work your way nearer until your dog can heel in a square around and close to your friend.

Now move right back to thirty feet away.

Moving distraction dog

This time, have your friend walk her own dog around in a small area 30 feet away, whilst you do the same with your dog. Each dog must focus on his own handler, and not on the other dog.

Gradually, as the dogs succeed, bring them closer together until eventually you can have one dog making a small circle inside the circle made by the larger dog. Have the two dogs moving in opposite directions so they have to walk past facing each other.

Vary the drills and keep practicing. Try walking up and down an imaginary line with you and your dog on one side, and your friend and her dog on the other.

Reduce the space between the dogs until they almost brush past one another without breaking focus on their handlers.

Taking your time

Getting to this point takes time. Depending on the dogs it will take several sessions.

These kinds of exercises can also be practiced in a good training class. Check out the APDT website for training sessions in your area.

Diluting distractions

You can see that the principle here is to ‘dilute’ the power of the distraction to begin with. Often diluting a distraction means moving it further away, or moving your dog further away from it.

Remember, no dog is going to cope with huge distractions without this kind of preparation. You have to fake it, to make it!

#15 Film yourself

It is often impossible to spot flaws in your own performance or to figure out what you are doing wrong, without some kind of feedback or perspective.

The advent of smartphone have transformed this aspect of dog training, because a great way to get this feedback and perspective is to film yourself.

You can easily do this with a smart phone and a gadget for steadying it. I use a GorillaPod, which can act as a miniature tripod or be wrapped around a branch or rail.

#16 Plan for problems

This is about anticipating trouble. Because trouble WILL happen.

Don’t assume you have a field or the beach to yourself just because it is early in the morning.

Do assume another dog will come bowling up at any minute to interrupt you and PLAN what you are going to do when he does.

Don’t go out without your ‘training lead’ or any of the rewards you need to have ready when your dog is successful.

Be prepared for every eventuality!

#17 Drop your standards

“What’s that?” you say. “DROP your standards!” “Have you gone mad?”.

Nope, I haven’t gone mad. Dropping standards, or lowering the demands you make on the dog during training is very important at certain times.

You do it whenever you add or increase a second factor of difficulty. Here’s an example:

You want your dog to sit and stay when you walk ten yards away from him.

Assuming you have already taught your dog to sit and stay AT YOUR SIDE for two minutes (some people unwittingly skip this bit) the next task is adding distance.

Moving away from your dog makes the sit stay harder for him.

So you need to make the duration of the task much easier to begin with – forget two minutes – make it ten seconds. Or less.

Build up duration back up at ten yards. When you increase distance again, drop the duration again.

If you add a third factor of difficulty – other dogs for example – drop the duration AND the distance.

#18 Find a positive trainer

It is entirely possible to train a dog yourself without ever visiting a professional dog trainer or attending a puppy class.

find-the-right-trainerIn fact, if you can’t find the right class or the right trainer you are probably better off figuring things out for yourself. Or taking one of our online training courses.

An old fashioned, punitive trainer can do untold harm to a puppy.

Having said that, help from a good positive reinforcement trainer is invaluable and will make training your dog much easier.

#19 Find the right information

This tip is not quite so important, because you are here, after all! There is a mountain of information on this website to help you.

Of course, we are not the only source of great dog training tips and information around. So it can be useful to know when the information you have found is going to help you and your dog.

There are a few clues that you have landed on the wrong kind of page.

If you are reading about the need to ‘dominate’ your dog or be the ‘pack leader’ you have probably landed on a website with outdated dog training information on it.

‘Correcting’ a dog is simply a euphemism for mild punishment, and ‘respect’ is often a euphemism for fear. Anyone states that you need to show your dog who is the boss, is probably not very knowledgeable, or has not kept up with their professional development as a dog trainer.

This kind of information is becoming less common, but you are bound to come across it from time to time.

#20 Join a support network

There are some excellent support networks online.

The Labrador Site has a forum where many Labrador owners give up their time to help others with dog training and behavior issues.

The Dogsnet Training Center also has a private forum for training course students where you can get help from me and my team.

A listening ear and advice from others who have been where you are now can go a long way.

#21 Practice, practice, and don’t give up

Dogs only learn through the consequences of their actions and typically need to repeat those actions and experience those consequences several (sometimes many) times in order to learn from them.

Sometimes we forget that we need to practice to get good at something.

If you want your dog to be good at recalling from other dogs, he needs to practice recalling away from other dogs.

There’s no way around this.

obedience-among-other-dogsPracticing desirable behaviors using fake set-ups like the one described above, is an essential part of any dog training program.

Fake training scenarios help you to practice recall,  heel and other basic commands in at home and in public, in a way that you can control.

This enables you to ‘proof’ your dog’s commands against the distractions which will inevitably arise in the real world.

Don’t give up because it is sometimes difficult to find people to help you do this. Be persistent. This is what separates well-behaved dogs from naughty ones.

Find ways to practice and pester people to help you.

It’s important. Especially when it comes to recall. Your dog’s life could depend on it.

#22 Enjoy your dog training

My final tip is to take deliberate steps to ensure you are having fun.

If you are not enjoying training your dog you MUST take action!

This is because your dog will know and because you simply won’t stick at it if it isn’t fun.

If you are not enjoying it, try something different

  • Check you are using the right methods
  • Try a different skill
  • Teach a silly trick
  • Watch a youtube training video
  • Just take your dog for a walk and start training again tomorrow
  • Make your lessons easier for the dog
  • Train at a different time of day
  • Join an online course
  • Read a good training book
  • Start over with puppy stuff
  • Join a forum or find a trainer

Just don’t try to battle on alone.

This also applies to classes – don’t keep going if it isn’t fun. Modern dog training is a pleasurable experience. There will be ups and downs, but generally speaking you and your dog should be enjoying yourselves.

If you are not, then get some help – joining the forum would be a good first step.

How about you?

Do you have any dog training tips to share with other readers? Drop your comments into the box below.

About Pippa

Dog Training Tips was brought to you by Pippa Mattinson.


Pippa is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and creator of the Dogsnet Online Training Program.

You can get regular training tips from Pippa by email, using the box below

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Dog Training – Obedience Training for Dogs

Many people can’t imagine life without dogs. We admire and adore them for their loyalty, unconditional affection, playful exuberance and zest for life. Nevertheless, dogs and people are very different animals. Although officially “man’s best friend,” dogs have some innocent but irksome tendencies-like jumping up to greet, barking, digging and chewing-that can make it downright difficult to live with them! To make the most of your relationship with your dog, you need to teach her some important skills that will help her live harmoniously in a human household.

Learning how to train your dog will improve your life and hers, enhance the bond between you, and ensure her safety-and it can be a lot of fun. Dogs are usually eager to learn, and the key to success is good communication. Your dog needs to understand how you’d like her to behave and why it’s in her best interest to comply with your wishes.

How Should You Do It?

If you ask around, you’ll get all kinds of advice about training your dog. Some people will tell you that the key is to use a “firm hand”-to make sure your dog doesn’t think she can get away with naughty behavior. Some people argue that you should only use rewards in dog training and avoid punishing your dog in any way. Some people insist that all you have to do is “be the alpha dog,” assert your status as the dominant leader of your “pack.” It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the glut of differing opinions out there.

Regardless of which method and techniques you use, effective dog training boils down to one thing-controlling the consequences of your dog’s behavior. If you want to influence the way your dog behaves, you need to:

  1. Reward behaviors you like.
  2. Make sure behaviors you don’t like aren’t rewarded.

Understand How Your Dog Learns

One of the most frequent complaints of pet parents is that their dogs “just won’t listen.” But put yourself in your dog’s shoes for a moment. If someone was constantly chattering away in a foreign language that you’d never heard before, how long would you pay attention? Probably not for very long-because you simply wouldn’t be able to understand what the foreign speaker was trying to communicate.

Continued

To communicate clearly and consistently with your dog, you need to understand how she learns. Dogs learn through the immediate consequences of their behavior. The nature of those consequences determines how they’ll behave in the future. Dogs, like other animals (people included), work to get good things and avoid bad things in life. If a behavior results in something rewarding-like food, a good belly rub, playtime with dog buddies or a game of fetch with her pet parent-your dog will do that behavior more often. On the other hand, if a behavior results in an unpleasant consequence-like being ignored or losing things she finds rewarding-she’ll do that behavior less often.

If You Like the Behavior, Reward It

Some training methods use punishment, like leash corrections and scolding, to discourage dogs from doing everything except what you want them to do. Other methods cut right to the chase and focus on teaching dogs what you do want them to do. While both tactics can work, the latter is usually the more effective approach, and it’s also much more enjoyable for you and your dog. For example, you can easily use treats, games and praise to teach your dog to sit when people approach during walks in the neighborhood. If your dog is sitting, she won’t be dragging you toward the people, jumping up when they get close enough, mouthing on their arms and legs, and so on. That’s pretty efficient training-no pain or intimidation needed. Alternatively, you could grab your dog’s leash and jerk her to the ground every time she jumps up to greet people, and you’d most likely get the same effect in the end-no more jumping up. But consider the possible fallout:

  • Your dog might decide that people are scary since she gets hurt whenever she tries to greet them-and she might try to drive them away by growling or barking the next time they approach.
  • Your dog might decide that YOU are scary since you hurt her whenever she tries to greet people.

Continued

If you can teach your dog polite manners without hurting or frightening her, why not do it? Rather than punishing her for all the things you don’t want her to do, concentrate on teaching your dog what you do want her to do. When your dog does something you like, convince her to do it again by rewarding her with something she loves. You’ll get the job done without damaging the relationship between you and your best friend.

If You Don’t Like the Behavior, Take Rewards Away

The most important part of training your dog is teaching her that it pays to do things you like. But your dog also needs to learn that it doesn’t pay to do things you don’t like. Fortunately, discouraging unwanted behavior doesn’t have to involve pain or intimidation. You just need to make sure that behavior you dislike doesn’t get rewarded. Most of the time, dog motivations aren’t mysterious. They simply do what works! Dogs jump up on people, for example, because people pay attention to them as a result. They can learn not to jump up if we ignore them when they jump up instead. It can be as simple as turning away or staring at the sky when your dog jumps up to greet or play with you. As soon as she sits, you can give her the attention she craves. If you stick to this plan, your dog will learn two things at once. Doing something you like (sitting) reliably works to earn what she wants (attention), and doing things you don’t like (jumping up) always results in the loss of what she wants.

Control Consequences Effectively

As you teach your dog what you do and don’t want her to do, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Consequences must be immediate Dogs live in the present. Unlike us, they can’t make connections between events and experiences that are separated in time. For your dog to connect something she does with the consequences of that behavior, the consequences must be immediate. If you want to discourage your dog from doing something, you have to catch her with her paw in the proverbial cookie jar. For example, if your dog gets too rough during play and mouths your arm, try saying “OUCH!” right at the moment you feel her teeth touch your skin. Then abruptly end playtime. The message is immediate and clear: Mouthing on people results in no more fun. Rewards for good behavior must come right after that behavior has happened, too. Say a child in a classroom answers a teacher’s question correctly, gets up from his desk, sharpens his pencil and then punches another kid in the arm on the way back to his seat. Then the teacher says, “Good job, Billy!” and offers him a piece of candy. What did Billy get the candy for? Timing is crucial. So be prepared to reward your dog with treats, praise, petting and play the instant she does something you like.
  • Consequences must be consistent When training your dog, you-and everyone else who interacts with her-should respond the same way to things she does every time she does them. For example, if you sometimes pet your dog when she jumps up to greet you but sometimes yell at her instead, she’s bound to get confused. How can she know when it’s okay to jump up and when it’s not?

Continued

Be a Good Leader

Some people believe that the only way to transform a disobedient dog into a well-behaved one is to dominate her and show her who’s boss. However, the “alpha dog” concept in dog training is based more on myth than on animal science. More importantly, it leads misguided pet parents to use training techniques that aren’t safe, like the “alpha roll.” Dogs who are forcibly rolled onto their backs and held down can become frightened and confused, and they’re sometimes driven to bite in self defense.

Keep in mind that ditching the “alpha dog” concept doesn’t mean you have to let your dog do anything she likes. It’s fine to be the boss and make the rules-but you can do that without unnecessary conflict. Be a benevolent boss, not a bully. Good leadership isn’t about dominance and power struggles. It’s about controlling your dog’s behavior by controlling her access to things she wants. YOU have the opposable thumbs that open cans of dog food, turn doorknobs and throw tennis balls! Use them to your best advantage. If your dog wants to go out, ask her to sit before you open the door. When she wants dinner, ask her to lie down to earn it. Does she want to go for a walk? If she’s jumping up on you with excitement, wait calmly until she sits. Then clip on the leash and take your walk. Your dog will happily work for everything she loves in life. She can learn to do what you want in order to earn what she wants.

Training New Skills

It’s easy to reward good behavior if you focus on teaching your dog to do specific things you like. Dogs can learn an impressive array of obedience skills and entertaining tricks. Deciding what you’d like your dog to learn will depend on your interests and lifestyle. If you want your dog to behave politely, you can focus on skills like sit, down, wait at doors, leave it, come when called and stay. If you want to enhance your enjoyment of outings with your dog, you can train her to walk politely on leash, without pulling. If you have a high-energy dog and would like outlets for her exuberance, you can teach her how to play fetch, play tug-of-war or participate in dog sports, such as agility, rally obedience, freestyle and flyball. If you’d like to impress your friends or just spend some quality time with your dog, you can take her to clicker training or trick-training classes. The possibilities are endless! Please see the following articles to find out more about what you and your dog can learn to do together: Teaching Your Dog Not to Jump Up on People, Teaching Your Dog to Come When Called, Teaching Your Dog Not to Pull on Leash, Teaching Your Dog to Play Tug-of-War, and Teaching Your Dog to Play Fetch.

Continued

Training Tips

After you decide on some new skills you’d like to teach your dog, you’ll be ready to start training. To maximize her learning potential and make sure you both enjoy the training experience, keep the following basic tips in mind:

  • When teaching new skills, keep training sessions short and sweet Like kids, dogs don’t have long attention spans. There’s no hard-and-fast rule, but an ideal average training session should last 15 minutes or less. Within that session, you can work on one skill or switch between a few different skills. To keep things interesting, try doing 5 to 15 repetitions of one behavior and then doing 5 to 15 repetitions of another behavior. You can also practice new skills and keep old ones polished by doing single repetitions at convenient times throughout the day. For example, before giving your dog a tasty new chew bone, ask her to sit or lie down to earn it.
  • Quit while you’re ahead End training sessions on a good note, with a skill you know your dog can do well, and be sure to stop before either one of you gets tired, bored or frustrated.
  • For dogs, English is a second language Dogs aren’t born understanding English. They can learn the significance of specific words, like “sit” and “walk” and “treat,” but when humans bury those familiar words in complex sentences, dogs sometimes have difficulty understanding. They can also get confused when people use different words for the same thing. For example, some people will confuse their dogs by saying, “Fluffy, down!” one day and “Sit down, Fluffy!” another day. Then they wonder why Fluffy doesn’t respond the same way every time. When teaching your dog a cue or command, decide on just one word or phrase, and make sure you and your family use it clearly and consistently.
  • Take baby steps Dogs, just like people, learn best when new tasks are broken down into small steps. For example, you can’t go out and line dance unless you learn all of the individual steps first! When teaching your dog a new skill, begin with an easy first step and increase difficulty gradually. If you’re training your dog to stay, start by asking her to stay for just 3 seconds. After some practice, try increasing the duration of her stay to 8 seconds. When your dog has mastered an 8-second stay, make things a little harder by increasing the time to 15 seconds. Over the next week or two, continue to gradually increase the duration of the stay from 15 seconds to 30 seconds to a minute to a few minutes, etc. By training systematically and increasing difficulty slowly, you’ll help your dog learn faster in the long run.
  • Work on only one part of a skill at a time Many of the skills we want our dogs to learn are complex. For instance, if you want to train a solid sit-stay, you’ll need to work on teaching your dog that she should stay in a sitting position until you release her (duration), she should stay while you move away from her (distance), and she should stay while distracting things are going on around her (distraction). You’ll probably both get frustrated if you try to teach her all of these things at the same time. Instead, start with just one part of the skill and, when your dog has mastered that, add another part. For example, you can work on duration first. When your dog can sit-stay for a few minutes in a quiet place with no distractions while you stand right next to her, start training her to stay while you move away from her. While you focus on that new part of the skill, go back to asking your dog to stay for just a few seconds again. When your dog can stay while you move around the room, slowly build up the duration of the stay again. Then you can add the next part-training in a more distracting environment. Again, when you make the skill harder by adding distraction, make the other parts-duration and distance-easier for a little while. If you work on all the parts of a complex skill separately before putting them together, you’ll set your dog up to succeed.
  • If you run into trouble, go back a few steps If you’re training your dog to do something new and you stop making progress, you may have increased the difficulty of the skill too quickly. Similarly, if you’re practicing a behavior your dog hasn’t performed in a while and she seems a little rusty, she may need some help remembering what you want her to do. If you run into training challenges like these, just refresh your dog’s memory by making the skill a little easier for a few repetitions. Go back to a step that you know your dog can successfully perform, and practice that for a while before trying to increase difficulty again.
  • Practice everywhere, with everyone If you learn that two plus two equals four in a classroom, you’ll take that information with you wherever you go. Dogs, however, learn very specifically and don’t automatically apply their knowledge in different situations and places as well as people do. If you teach your dog to sit on cue in your kitchen, you’ll have a beautifully kitchen-trained dog. But she might not understand what you mean when you ask her to sit in other locations. If you want your dog to perform new skills everywhere, you’ll need to practice them in multiple places-your home, your yard, out on walks, at friends’ houses, at the park and anywhere else you take your dog.
  • Use real rewards Be sure to reward your dog with things she truly finds rewarding. Some dogs will happily work for dry kibble when training in your living room but ignore it if you’re training in the park. Because the park’s a more distracting environment, paying attention there is a harder job for your dog. Pay her accordingly by using a reward worth working for, like small pieces of chicken or cheese, or a chance to run off-leash at the dog park with her buddies. Also keep in mind that what your dog considers rewarding at any given time may change. If she’s just eaten a big meal, a scratch behind the ears or a game of tug might be most rewarding. If she hasn’t eaten in a while, she’ll probably work enthusiastically for tasty treats.
  • Be patient Training your dog will take time and effort-but it can be a great deal of fun for you and for her. And your hard work will pay off. With patience and persistence, you and your dog can accomplish great things.

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An Ounce of Prevention

If your toddler was repeatedly sticking her fingers into open electrical outlets, what would you do? Would you sit her down and try to explain why that’s not a good idea? Would you smack her every time she did it? Nope, you’d probably buy some outlet covers. Voilà! Problem solved. Prevention is sometimes the best solution. When training a dog, the easiest way to deal with a behavior problem might be to simply prevent the undesired behavior from happening. If your dog raids the kitchen trash can, you could spend weeks training a perfect down-stay in another room-or you could move the trash can to a place where your dog can’t get to it. Prevention is also important if you’re trying to train your dog to do one thing instead of another. For example, if you want to house train your dog, she’ll learn fastest if you use a crate to prevent her from making mistakes inside while you focus on training her to eliminate outside.

Let Your Dog Be a Dog

Many behavior problems can be prevented by providing “legal,” acceptable ways for your dog to express her natural impulses. There are some things that dogs just need to do. So rather than trying to get your dog to stop doing things like chewing, mouthing and roughhousing altogether, channel these urges in the right direction. Increased physical activity and mental enrichment are excellent complements to training. Please see our articles, Enriching Your Dog’s Life, Exercise for Dogs and How to Stuff a KONG® Toy, to learn more.

Finding Help and More Information

If you’d like to learn how to train your dog or if your dog has a behavior problem you’d like to resolve, don’t hesitate get help from a qualified professional trainer or behaviorist. To learn more about locating the right expert for you and your dog, please see our article, Finding Professional Help. Many Certified Pet Dog Trainers (CPDTs) and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAABs or ACAABs) offer telephone consultations, in-home private consultations and training sessions, and group classes.

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There are also a number of excellent books and DVDs to explore. Here are some of our favorites:

  • The Power of Positive Training by Pat Miller (and other books by her)
  • Dog Talk: What Your Dog Wants You to Know by Amber Drake
  • Maran Illustrated Dog Training
  • Dog-Friendly Dog Training by Andrea Arden
  • The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
  • How to Teach a New Dog Old Tricks by Ian Dunbar, PhD
  • Take a Bow-Wow! video series by Virginia Broitman and Sherri Lippman
  • New Puppy, Now What? DVD by Victoria Schade
  • Clicker Magic DVD by Karen Pryor

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Tips for Housetraining Your Puppy

House training your puppy is about consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement. The goal is to instill good habits and build a loving bond with your pet.

It typically takes 4-6 months for a puppy to be fully house trained, but some puppies may take up to a year. Size can be a predictor. For instance, smaller breeds have smaller bladders and higher metabolisms and require more frequent trips outside. Your puppy’s previous living conditions are another predictor. You may find that you need to help your puppy break old habits in order to establish more desirable ones.

And while you’re training, don’t worry if there are setbacks. As long as you continue a management program that includes taking puppy out at the first sign he needs to go and offering him rewards, he’ll learn.

When to Begin House Training Puppy

Experts recommend that you begin house training your puppy when he is between 12 weeks and 16 weeks old. At that point, he has enough control of his bladder and bowel movements to learn to hold it.

If your puppy is older than 12 weeks when you bring him home and he’s been eliminating in a cage (and possibly eating his waste), house training may take longer. You will have to reshape the dog’s behavior — with encouragement and reward.

Steps for Housetraining Your Puppy

Experts recommend confining the puppy to a defined space, whether that means in a crate, in a room, or on a leash. As your puppy learns that he needs to go outside to do his business, you can gradually give him more freedom to roam about the house.

When you start to house train, follow these steps:

  • Keep the puppy on a regular feeding schedule and take away his food between meals.
  • Take puppy out to eliminate first thing in the morning and then once every 30 minutes to an hour. Also, always take him outside after meals or when he wakes from a nap. Make sure he goes out last thing at night and before he’s left alone.
  • Take puppy to the same spot each time to do his business. His scent will prompt him to go.
  • Stay with him outside, at least until he’s house trained.
  • When your puppy eliminates outside, praise him or give him a treat. A walk around the neighborhood is a nice reward.

Using a Crate to House Train Puppy

A crate can be a good idea for house training your puppy, at least in the short term. It will allow you to keep an eye on him for signs he needs to go and teach him to hold it until you open the crate and let him outside.

Here are a few guidelines for using a crate:

  • Make sure it is large enough for the puppy to stand, turn around, and lie down, but not big enough for him to use a corner as a bathroom.
  • If you are using the crate for more than two hours at a time, make sure puppy has fresh water, preferably in a dispenser you can attach to the crate.
  • If you can’t be home during the house training period, make sure somebody else gives him a break in the middle of the day for the first 8 months.
  • Don’t use a crate if puppy is eliminating in it. Eliminating in the crate could have several meanings: he may have brought bad habits from the shelter or pet store where he lived before; he may not be getting outside enough; the crate may be too big; or he may be too young to hold it in.

Signs That Your Puppy Needs to Eliminate

Whining, circling, sniffing, barking, or, if your puppy is unconfined, barking or scratching at the door, are all signs he needs to go. Take him out right away.

House Training Setbacks

Accidents are common in puppies up to a year old. The reasons for accidents range from incomplete house training to a change in the puppy’s environment.

When your puppy does have an accident, keep on training. Then if it still doesn’t seem to be working, consult a veterinarian to rule out a medical issue.

Do’s and Don’ts in Potty Training Your Puppy

Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind while housetraining your puppy:

  • Punishing your puppy for having an accident is a definite no-no. It teaches your puppy to fear you.
  • If you catch your puppy in the act, clap loudly so he knows he’s done something unacceptable. Then take him outside by calling him or taking him gently by the collar. When he’s finished, praise him or give him a small treat.
  • If you found the evidence but didn’t see the act, don’t react angrily by yelling or rubbing his nose in it. Puppies aren’t intellectually capable of connecting your anger with their accident.
  • Staying outside longer with puppy may help to curb accidents. He may need the extra time to explore.
  • Clean up accidents with an enzymatic cleanser rather than an ammonia-based cleaner to minimize odors that might attract the puppy back to the same spot.

5 Simple Commands You Should Teach Your Puppy

Contents

  1. How To Teach A Dog To Come
  2. How To Teach a Dog Loose Leash Walking
  3. How To Teach a Dog To Sit
  4. How To Teach a Dog To Stay
  5. How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down

Getting Started

To start off on the right foot (and paw!) with your pup, he’ll need to know what you expect from him. This will make him feel secure in his ability to meet the goals laid out for him going forward.

The foundation of dog training should be based on positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is the process of giving a dog (or person!) a reward to encourage the behavior you want, like getting a pay check for going to work. The idea is not to bribe the behavior but to train it using something your dog values.  Avoid using punishment such as leash corrections or yelling. Punishment can cause a dog to become confused and unsure about what is being asked of him.  It is important to remember that we can’t expect dogs to know what they don’t know – just like you wouldn’t expect a 2-year-old child to know how to tie his shoes. Patience will go a long way in helping your new puppy learn how to behave.

Reinforcement can be anything your dog likes. Most people use small pieces of a “high value” food for training treats — something special — such as dried liver or even just their kibble. Lavish praise or the chance to play with a favorite toy can also be used as a reward. Dogs must be taught to like praise. If you give the dog a treat while saying “Good dog!” in a happy voice, he will learn that praise is a good thing and can be a reward. Some dogs also enjoy petting. Food is often the most convenient way to reinforce behavior.

Puppies can begin very simple training starting as soon as they come home, usually around 8 weeks old. Always keep training sessions brief — just 5 to 10 minutes —and always end on a positive note. If your puppy is having trouble learning a new behavior, end the session by reviewing something he already knows and give him plenty of praise and a big reward for his success. If your puppy gets bored or frustrated, it will ultimately be counterproductive to learning.

How To Teach A Dog To Come

teach dog to come

teach dog to come

You’ll want to begin training a recall (come when called) in a quiet area and indoors. Sit with your puppy and say his name or the word “come.” Each time you say “come/name,” give your puppy a treat. He doesn’t have to do anything yet! Just repeat the word and give a treat. Easy!

Next, drop a treat on the floor near you. As soon as your puppy finishes the treat on the ground, say his name again. When he looks up, give him another treat. Repeat this a couple of times until you can begin tossing the treat a little further away, and he can turn around to face you when you say his name. Avoid repeating your puppy’s name; saying it too often when he doesn’t respond makes it easier for him to ignore it. Instead, move closer to your puppy and go back to a step where he can be successful at responding to his name the first time.

Once your puppy can turn around to face you, begin adding movement and making the game more fun! Toss a treat on the ground and take a few quick steps away while calling your puppy’s name. They should run after you because chase is fun! When they catch you, give them a lot of praise, treats or play with a tug toy. Coming to you should be fun! Continue building on these games with longer distances and in other locations. When training outside (always in a safe, enclosed area), it may be helpful to keep your puppy on a long leash at first.

When your puppy comes to you, don’t reach out and grab him. This can be confusing or frightening for some dogs. If your puppy is timid, kneel and face them sideways and offer him treats as you reach for the collar. Never call your dog to punish! This will only teach him that you are unpredictable, and it is a good idea to avoid you. Always reward your dog heavily for responding to his or her name, even if they have been up to mischief!

Further Reading

How To Teach a Dog Loose Leash Walking

teach a dog to heel

teach a dog to heel

In competition obedience training, “heel” means the dog is walking on your left side with his head even with your knee while you hold the leash loosely. Puppy training can be a little more relaxed with the goal being that they walk politely on a loose leash without pulling. Some trainers prefer to say “let’s go” or “forward” instead of “heel” when they train this easy way of walking together.

Whatever cue you choose, be consistent and always use the same word. Whether your puppy walks on your left side or your right side is completely up to you. But be consistent about where you want them so they don’t get confused and learn to zig zag in front of you.

First, make sure your puppy is comfortable wearing a leash. This can feel strange at first, and some puppies may bite the leash. Give your puppy treats as you put the leash on each time. Then, stand next to your puppy with the leash in a loose loop and give him several treats in a row for standing or sitting next to your leg. Take one step forward and encourage him to follow by giving another treat as he catches up.

Continue giving treats to your puppy at the level of your knee or hip as you walk forward. When he runs in front of you, simply turn the opposite direction, call him to you, and reward him in place. Then continue. Gradually begin giving treats further apart (from every step to every other step, every third step, and so on).

Eventually your dog will walk happily at your side whenever he’s on his leash. Allow your dog plenty of time to sniff and “smell the roses” on your walks. When they’ve had their sniffing time, give the cue “Let’s Go!” in a happy voice and reward them for coming back into position and walking with you.

How To Teach a Dog To Sit

teach dog to sit

teach dog to sit

There are two different methods for showing your puppy what “sit” means.

The first method is called capturing. Stand in front of your puppy holding some of his dog food or treats. Wait for him to sit – say “yes” and give him a treat. Then step backwards or sideways to encourage him to stand and wait for him to sit. Give another treat as soon as they sit. After a few repetitions, you can begin saying “sit” right as he begins to sit.

The next option is called luring. Get down in front of your puppy, holding a treat as a lure. Put the treat right in front of the pup’s nose, then slowly lift the food above his head. He will probably sit as he lifts his head to nibble at the treat. Allow him to eat the treat when his bottom touches the ground. Repeat one or two times with the food lure, then remove the food and use just your empty hand, but continue to reward the puppy after he sits. Once he understands the hand signal to sit, you can begin saying “sit” right before you give the hand signal.

Never physically put your puppy into the sitting position; this can be confusing or upsetting to some dogs.

Further Reading

How To Teach a Dog To Stay

A puppy who knows the “stay” cue will remain sitting until you ask him to get up by giving another cue, called the “release word.” Staying in place is a duration behavior. The goal is to teach your dog to remain sitting until the release cue is given, then begin adding distance.

First, teach the release word. Choose which word you will use, such as “OK” or “free.” Stand with your puppy in a sit or a stand, toss a treat on the floor, and say your word as he steps forward to get the treat. Repeat this a couple of times until you can say the word first and then toss the treat AFTER he begins to move. This teaches the dog that the release cue means to move your feet.

When your dog knows the release cue and how to sit on cue, put him in a sit, turn and face him, and give him a treat. Pause, and give him another treat for staying in a sit, then release him. Gradually increase the time you wait between treats (it can help to sing the ABC’s in your head and work your way up the alphabet).  If your dog gets up before the release cue, that’s ok! It just means he isn’t ready to sit for that long so you can make it easier by going back to a shorter time.

Once your dog can stay in a sit for several seconds, you can begin adding distance. Place him in a sit and say “stay,” take one step back, then step back to the pup, give a treat, and your release word. Continue building in steps, keeping it easy enough that your dog can stay successful. Practice both facing him and walking away with your back turned (which is more realistic).

Once your dog can stay, you can gradually increase the distance. This is also true for the “sit.” The more solidly he learns it, the longer he can remain sitting. The key is to not expect too much, too soon. Training goals are achieved in increments, so you may need to slow down and focus on one thing at a time. To make sure the training “sticks,” sessions should be short and successful.

Further Reading

How to Teach a Dog to Lay Down

down step 2

down step 2teach dog to go down step 1teach dog to go down step 1
“Down” can be taught very similarly to “sit.” You can wait for your dog to lie down (beginning in a boring, small room such as a bathroom can help) and capture the behavior by reinforcing your dog with a treat when he lies down, giving him his release cue to stand back up (and encouragement with a lure if needed) and then waiting for him to lie down again. When he is quickly lying down after standing up, you can begin saying “down” right before he does so.

You can also lure a down from a sit or stand by holding a treat in your hand to the dog’s nose and slowly bringing it to the floor. Give the treat when the dog’s elbows touch the floor to start. After a few practices, begin bringing your empty hand to the floor and giving the treat AFTER he lies down. When he can reliably follow your hand signal, begin saying “down” as you move your hand.

Just like with sitting, never use force to put your dog into a down.

And Remember …

Keep training sessions short and fun. End each session on a positive note. If you feel your dog is having a difficult time learning or being “stubborn,” evaluate the speed of your training and the value of your rewards. Do you need to slow down and make the steps easier, or does your dog need a bigger paycheck for a harder exercise?

The “Basic 5” commands will give your puppy a strong foundation for any future training.

And just think, if you and your puppy continue to work hard—and have fun—at training, someday you may become obedience champs!

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Potty Training Your Pup

There’s no doubt about it, puppies are cute, but they’re also hard work. There’s the general training, the socializing, the feeding, and also the toilet training. So, to help you get ahead, here are some tips and tricks you need to take note of when it comes to toilet training your puppy.

Don’t push them

First and foremost, remember your home is not a familiar environment for your puppy, and the first few days can be stressful for them. Everything is new, and your pup needs to get used to you and your movements just as much as it needs to get used to the new location – house, backyard and neighborhood included. And it’s not just the sights that matter to your dog either, but also the smells and noises.

While you should start toilet training your puppy as soon as you get home, it takes time and patience, and every puppy is different.

Watch out for the signs

There are signs your dog will show when it needs to go. These include sniffing around, fidgeting, and beginning to circle before squatting.1 A whining or pacing dog may also be indicating that it needs to go to the toilet, as well as a dog that has been chewing on something for a while and suddenly moves to do something else.2 If you keep a constant vigil on your pup during the toilet training process, watching out for these signs will mean fewer accidents.

Choose an area where you would like your pup to toilet – this might be a pee pad on your apartment balcony or in a bathroom, or outside. The moment your pup indicates it needs to go, take it to this area. This teaches them that they need to go to this spot or area when they feel the need to go to the toilet. Picking the pup up straight away is crucial, so they associate the act of going outside with the feeling they’re getting.

It’s also important to continually take your puppy out according to timings. The key times are after waking up from a nap, after eating, or after a play. Puppies can’t hold their bladder for that long, so give them plenty of opportunities to go. This will of course change as they get older.

Understand associations

A puppy learns associations in training. When it comes to going to the toilet, a puppy will associate an area with a toilet because of the to the following:

  • Smell of urine, feces or ammonia.
  • Location – when training, try to take them to same spot every time. That way, your puppy will associate that spot with going to the toilet.
  • The feeling of the surface beneath its paws.
  • Physiological things such as after food, when it wakes up, and after a play.
  • Commands – when trained, dogs will associate certain words, commands or sounds with going to the toilet.

At first, it’s a good idea to take your puppy out frequently. For example, set a timer for every hour. When the timer goes off, pop your puppy on a lead and take it to the designated toilet spot. Once there, be patient as your puppy may not go instantly. Give it time, but do not play while waiting otherwise your puppy may confuse toilet time with play time.2

If your puppy doesn’t go, don’t be alarmed. Simply take them back inside and try again a little later – dogs like humans are not robots.

If your puppy does go, reward them straight away. Use encouraging words and make a fuss that they have gone to the toilet in the correct spot.

It’s also a good idea to have a little play outside once your puppy has successfully gone to the toilet. This ensures your puppy associates outside with its toilet space and a place it can play, rather than one or the other.

Add a cue

It would be ideal if your puppy learns to go on command. While it won’t be needed every time, there will be moments when you’ll need your puppy to go to the toilet at a specific time. For example, before bedtime or on a long car ride. Wouldn’t it be great if at these times you could simply take your dog outside and say a specific word, and suddenly they’d relieve themselves? Well, it all starts as a puppy.

Whenever you take your puppy to the toilet, use the same command. For example, you could say the word ‘toilet’. Say it before and during the fact. That way, whenever your dog hears the word ‘toilet’ they know they need to relieve themselves.

Accidents will happen

One of the most important elements you need to remember when it comes to toilet training is that accidents will happen. It’s a fact of life. Crucial to this; however, is not to get angry. It’s highly unlikely your dog has done this on purpose, and getting angry will only make things worse. Puppies do not have full control over their bladder. That’s what toilet training is all about – teaching them how to hold and where they should be going. It’s all part of the developmental process. So, accidents can happen without the dog even being able to prevent or control them.3

Never shout, become angry, say ‘no’, or punish your dog for going in the wrong spot – it doesn’t teach your dog where to go, but it does teach them to be scared about going in front of you, which makes training much harder.2 Don’t make a fuss or an issue over it, just simply clean it up.

It’s also important to use an ammonia-free cleaning product and make sure you clean it well when a puppy has an accident. If the area smells like the toilet area to your pup, it will continue to be used as one.

If you notice your dog is about to go in the wrong place and you’d like to avoid an accident, interrupt them in a calm and cheerful way, and take them to the correct spot. Remember to praise them when they go.

toilet-training-puppy-1.jpg

Reward your puppy

Positive reinforcement is a successful and effective way of toilet training. Your dog will soon associate going to the toilet in the correct spot, with the fact that it’s doing something right.

The reward itself can be in the form of praise, whether it’s talking to your puppy, a long pat, a tummy rub or even a play. As long as you are talking and interacting in a positive and upbeat manner, you are reinforcing good behaviour. You can also give your dog a delicious treat or its favourite toy to play with.

Other issues or difficulties

There are other elements that need to be considered, especially if your dog is having a hard time picking up toilet training. For example, being cooped up for too long can stall the process. Sometimes dogs, especially puppies, can’t hold on. If you’re going to go out for a while, it’s a good idea to leave your puppy in a spot where they can go if they need to.

Also, remember your puppy has gone through a change coming into your home. It’s a brand new environment with new people, and this can affect the way it learns. Be kind to your puppy and give it time.

If you are really struggling with toilet training your puppy, please seek veterinary attention. Occasionally there may be a medical reason why your puppy has issues with toilet training. Your vet is the perfect professional to help you with this and advise you how to treat.

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10 Best Training Tips

Ok, he’s finally home. Training needs to begin immediately, considering the new pattern on the rug, not to mention the dog’s breakfast he’s made of your new Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals. But where should you start?

Whether you train your new puppy or dog yourself, take classes, or hire a private trainer, some basic training tips should be tackled right out of the gate. These top 10 tips from professional dog trainers at the top of their game will help get you going.

Aside: When your puppy is old enough, think about getting him or her neutered or spayed, likewise if you adopt a dog. A neutered or spayed dog is more docile, less aggressive, and may be more open to successful training.

Top 10 training tips

  1. Choose your dog’s name wisely and be respectful of it. Of course you’ll want to pick a name for your new puppy or dog that you love, but for the purposes of training it also helps to consider a short name ending with a strong consonant. This allows you to say his name so that he can always hear it clearly. A strong ending (i.e. Jasper, Jack, Ginger) perks up puppy ears—especially when you place a strong emphasize at the end.If he’s an older dog, he’s probably used to his name; however, changing it isn’t out of the question. If he’s from a shelter, they may neglect to tell you that he has a temporary name assigned to him by staff. If he’s from a breeder, he’ll come to you with a long name, which you may want to shorten, or change. And if he’s coming out of an abusive situation, a new name may represent a fresh start. But we’re lucky: dogs are extremely adaptable. And soon enough, if you use it consistently, he will respond to his new name.

    New name or old, as much as possible, associate it with pleasant, fun things, rather than negative. The goal is for him to think of his name the same way he thinks of other great stuff in his life, like “walk,” “cookie,” or “dinner!”

  2. Decide on the “house rules.” Before he comes home, decide what he can and can’t do. Is he allowed on the bed or the furniture? Are parts of the house off limits? Will he have his own chair at your dining table? If the rules are settled on early, you can avoid confusion for both of you.
  3. Set up his private den. He needs “a room of his own.” From the earliest possible moment give your pup or dog his own, private sleeping place that’s not used by anyone else in the family, or another pet. He’ll benefit from short periods left alone in the comfort and safety of his den. Reward him if he remains relaxed and quiet. His den, which is often a crate, will also be a valuable tool for housetraining.
  4. Help him relax when he comes home. When your puppy gets home, give him a warm hot water bottle and put a ticking clock near his sleeping area. This imitates the heat and heartbeat of his litter mates and will soothe him in his new environment. This may be even more important for a new dog from a busy, loud shelter who’s had a rough time early on. Whatever you can do to help him get comfortable in his new home will be good for both of you.
  5. Teach him to come when called. Come Jasper! Good boy! Teaching him to come is the command to be mastered first and foremost. And since he’ll be coming to you, your alpha status will be reinforced. Get on his level and tell him to come using his name. When he does, make a big deal using positive reinforcement. Then try it when he’s busy with something interesting. You’ll really see the benefits of perfecting this command early as he gets older.
  6. Reward his good behavior. Reward your puppy or dog’s good behavior with positive reinforcement. Use treats, toys, love, or heaps of praise. Let him know when’s he’s getting it right. Likewise, never reward bad behaviour; it’ll only confuse him.
  7. Take care of the jump up. Puppies love to jump up in greeting. Don’t reprimand him, just ignore his behavior and wait ’til he settles down before giving positive reinforcement. Never encourage jumping behavior by patting or praising your dog when he’s in a “jumping up” position. Turn your back on him and pay him no attention.
  8. Teach him on “dog time.” Puppies and dogs live in the moment. Two minutes after they’ve done something, it’s forgotten about. When he’s doing something bad, try your chosen training technique right away so he has a chance to make the association between the behavior and the correction. Consistent repetition will reinforce what’s he’s learned.
  9. Discourage him from biting or nipping. Instead of scolding him, a great way to put off your mouthy canine is to pretend that you’re in great pain when he’s biting or nipping you. He’ll be so surprised he’s likely to stop immediately. If this doesn’t work, try trading a chew toy for your hand or pant leg. The swap trick also works when he’s into your favorite shoes. He’ll prefer a toy or bone anyway. If all else fails, break up the biting behavior, and then just ignore him.
  10. End training sessions on a positive note. Excellent boy! Good job, Jasper! He’s worked hard to please you throughout the training. Leave him with lots of praise, a treat, some petting, or five minutes of play. This guarantees he’ll show up at his next class with his tail wagging—ready to work!

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The Puppy Training Guide: Guest Post

Training Puppy the First Week

Puppies learn very quickly with proper instruction. The first few days at home are extremely important for puppies and the precedents you set now will last a lifetime. All family members must agree upon responsibility and rules for the new pup.

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House Training a Puppy

It’s normal for a young puppy to be a little ‘input-output’ machine. Since puppies are growing and developing rapidly, they eat food often, burn up lots of energy and seem to need to eliminate constantly! They also have not yet developed bowel and bladder control, so they can’t ‘hold it’.

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Crate Training a Puppy

Crate training can be an effective way to house train a puppy. Puppies do not like to soil their resting/sleeping quarters if given adequate opportunity to eliminate elsewhere. Temporarily confining your puppy to a small area strongly inhibits the tendency to urinate and defecate.

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Training a Puppy to Stop Biting and Mouthing

Biting and mouthing is common in a young puppy especially in play and while teething. Puppies must learn to inhibit their bite and normally, they would learn this from their littermates. But, because we take them away from this environment before this learning is completed, we must train our puppy they cannot bite us.

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How to Train a Puppy to Stop Whining, Crying, and Howling

Whining, crying and howling often result when a puppy is left alone. Puppies will whine and cry when separated from their owners. The puppy is afraid he is being abandoned by his pack and is sounding the alarm so that he can be rescued. At other times, a puppy whines, crys, or barks because they need or want something.

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Puppy Obedience Training

Obedience training is one of the best things you can do for your puppy and yourself. Although obedience training doesn’t solve all behavior problems, it is still the very best foundation for solving just about any behavior problem. Training opens up a line of communication between you and your puppy.

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Training Your Puppy to Come When Called

Training Your Puppy to Come When Called

To many a puppy, the command “come here” means, “quick, run the other way!” Your puppy is always learning whether you are intending to teach something or not. We often unintentionally train our puppy NOT to come when called.

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Training Puppy to Stop Jumping Up

Training Puppy to Stop Jumping Up

Jumping up can be dangerous as well as annoying. Young children and elderly people can easily be toppled over and seriously injured by exuberant, friendly dogs. Start now to teach your puppy not to jump up. Even little dogs can cause problems and injury to themselves and others when they leap and jump around.

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Training a Puppy about the Collar, Leash and Stairs

Training a Puppy about the Collar, Leash and Stairs

Introducing your puppy to his collar, leash and the stairs can be a challenge. If your puppy is trained properly, it will be simple, satisfying and successful. Always use praise and lures rather than force.

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Training Puppy to Stop Pulling On Leash

Training Puppy to Stop Pulling On Leash

Do not drag your puppy. Do not yank or pull on your puppy’s delicate throat and neck. Never use a choke collar on a puppy. Instead, teach your puppy to walk nicely on leash before he develops a habit of lunging and pulling on leash.

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Training a Puppy to Control Barking

Training a Puppy to Control Barking

Barking is a perfectly natural canine behavior. Puppies bark, whine or howl for many different reasons. Barking can be a blessing as dogs will alert to sounds and movement we cannot detect. Barking can also be a puppy’s cry for help! Here are some training tips to help you understand and also put limits on puppy barking.

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Submissive and Excitement Urination in a Puppy

Submissive and Excitement Urination in a Puppy

Submissive urination is a normal way for your puppy to demonstrate submissive behavior. Even a dog that is otherwise housetrained may leave dribbles and puddles of urine at your feet when greeting you. Excitement urination with a puppy is usually caused by lack of bladder control. The puppy is not aware that he is urinating; he’s just excited and any punishment will only confuse him.

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Puppy Socialization - Why Socialize A Puppy?

Puppy Socialization – Why Socialize A Puppy?

Socialization and puppy training are of utmost importance as puppyhood is the most important and critical time in your puppy’s development. What you do and do not do right now will affect your puppy’s behavior forever. A properly socialized puppy is well adjusted.

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Training Puppy to Chew Her Toys

Training Puppy to Chew Her Toys and Stop Chewing Everything in Sight!

Any area that the pup has access to must be kept clear and clean. Put out of puppy’s reach anything you don’t want him to chew or destroy. Do not allow your puppy to have unsupervised access to ‘unchewables.’ Do not chase the puppy in an attempt to take something away. Instead provide puppy with her own toys and teach her how to play with them exclusively.

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Training a Puppy to Overcome Separation Anxiety

Puppy Separation Anxiety

In some situations, a puppy will experience separation anxiety when left alone. They will often bark, chew, dig, scratch at the door, soil the house or destroy your home and yard. We often unintentionally will train a puppy to behave this way by causing over-dependancy in our puppy.

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Winning Your Puppy's  Love, Trust and Respect

Winning Your Puppy’s Love, Trust and Respect

Just as a child needs a caring parent; an athletic team needs a coach; your puppy needs a leader and a clear social hierarchy. If you do not take up the role of leader, your dog will; and you will end up with an unruly, disobedient dog. Many people try to win their new puppy’s love by letting the puppy always have its way. Buckets of affection is a wonderful thing for most puppies, but it must be tempered with respect.

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This Step-by-Step Guide Can Help You Completely Train Your Dog

Are you ready to start training your dog or puppy? Proper training and socialization are among your dog’s basic needs. It’s important to start training your dog as soon as possible.

At first, dog training can seem pretty overwhelming, especially if this is your first dog. The truth is that training your dog is a very big project. If you take it step by step, you will find the task to be far less daunting. Here is some information to help get you started:

  • Start a Dog Obedience Program: Learn how to set a basic foundation before you begin to train your dog.
  • Train Your Dog Using Games: Training your dog should be fun! Everyone knows it’s easier to learn when you are having a good time, so try implementing some games into your dog training regimen.
  • Six Weeks to a Well-Trained Dog: Using this schedule as a guide, you can teach your dog the basics in about six weeks.
  • Positive Reinforcement: There are many different ways to train a dog, but most dog professionals agree that the positive way is the best for both the dog and trainer.

Watch Now: How to Train Your Dog With Positive Reinforcement

Need help with dog training? Consider getting help from a dog trainer. Try group classes and/or private lessons, and check here for tips on affordable dog training.

Unless you plan to keep your dog outdoors–and few of us do because it’s not recommended–you’ll need to teach your dog where to eliminate. Therefore, house training (also called housebreaking or potty training) is one of the first things you need to work on with your dog. Crate training can be a very helpful part of the training process. This includes house training as well as many other areas of training:

  • Crate Training Dogs and Puppies: Here are the basics of training your dog or puppy to accept and even enjoy the crate. Not only will it help with housebreaking, but it will also give your dog a place of his own.
  • How to House Train your Dog: When it comes down to it, house training is not that complicated, but this doesn’t mean it’s easy. Consistency and diligence are key during the housebreaking process.
  • Submissive/Excitement Urination in Dogs: If your dog is still having accidents in the house, it may be more than a simple housebreaking issue. Your dog might urinate out of excitement or to express submissive behavior.

Every dog needs to learn to walk on a leash. Besides the fact that most areas have leash laws, there will be times when keeping your dog on a leash is for his own safety. Learn how to introduce your dog or puppy to the leash, then teach him how to walk properly on the leash, even beside you on a bike. A loose leash walk teaches your dog not to pull or lunge when on ​the leash, making the experience more enjoyable for both you and your dog.

Black lab puppy on a leash, watching his owner Chalabala / Twenty20

Socialization means training your puppy or adult dog to accept new people, animals, and various places by exposing him to these things. Socialized dogs are less likely to develop behavior problems and are generally more welcomed by others. Socialization can also help prevent the development of fears and phobias.

Clicker training, a common form of positive reinforcement, is a simple and effective dog training method. Although it is still fine to train your dog without clicker training, many people find it helpful. With clicker training, you can easily and effectively teach your dog all kinds of basic and advanced commands and tricks. It’s fast and easy to learn how to clicker train your dog

There are some basic dog training commands and dog tricks that every dog should know like come, speak, drop it, stay, back up, etc. Basic commands give your dog structure. In addition, they can help you overcome common dog behavior problems and will help keep your dog safe.

How to Train Your Dog to Stay

What’s more fun than showing off your dog’s cool tricks?! Dog tricks are a great way to take your dog training to the next level and give your dog some mental stimulation.

dog training treats lukajani / E+ / Getty Images

Proofing is the last step in training your dog to do any new behavior. Learn how to proof behaviors so your dog will be as obedient at the park or a friend’s house is he is in your own living room.

Remember, just because you have reached the final stages of training, it doesn’t mean that behavior problems won’t crop up. Learn about the most common dog behavior problems and how to deal with them. These guides will help you navigate this part of the training process:

  • Proofing Behaviors: Practice behaviors in a variety of situations with different levels of distraction. Without proofing, your dog may behave well in your living room, but seem to forget all his training when he is outside the house.
  • Teach Your Dog Self-Control: This method teaches your dog that nothing in life is free, but that he needs to earn things like food and attention through obedience.
  • Common Dog Behavior Problems: Understanding potential behavior issues can help you detect and address them before things get out of control.
  • Dog Behavior Management Versus Dog Training: While dog behavior management and dog training are two different things, they are not mutually exclusive. Behavior management is an important part of any dog training program.

Once your dog has mastered all the basics, you can consider moving on to more advanced tricks. These activities will help keep your dog active, fit and mentally stimulated. Plus, they will help strengthen the bond you share with your canine companion.

Remember that training is an ongoing process. You will never be completely finished. It is important to keep working on obedience training throughout the life of your dog. People who learn a language at a young age but stop speaking that language may forget much of it as they grow older. The same goes for your dog: use it or lose it. Running through even the most basic tricks and commands will help them stay fresh in your dog’s mind. Plus, it’s a great way to spend time with your dog.

Australian Shephard on agility course Terralyx/ Twenty20

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dog-with-treat

Puppy School – Puppy Training Classes

** COVID-19 update: All Puppy School classes are temporarily postponed until further notice due to current restrictions to essential services. Thank you for your patience and understanding. **

What will I learn at Puppy School?

PETstock Puppy School’s program is based on using a reward-based training method which teaches pet parents:

  • How to communicate with your puppy or dog
  • How to develop solid foundation obedience in all environments
  • The importance of socialisation, mental and physical stimulation
  • Ways to help curb any behavioral problems
  • How to find the correct equipment for your dog
  • The appropriate rewards for best results

PETstock provides a safe environment that will see you and your dog or puppy thrive together under the skilled guidance of our friendly, professional training team.

Skills/Topics:

  • Week 1
    • Bridge/marker and release word
    • Focus, sit and recall exercises
    • Building the bond wth your puppy
    • Toilet training, socialisation, nutrition information

    Week 2

    • Mat exercise
    • Down exercise
    • Social interaction
    • Sit for a pat
    • Health, jumping, digging information

    Week 3

    • Loose lead walking
    • Social interaction
    • Sit & Down stay
    • Complex skill
    • Training equipment information

    Week 4

    • Stand exercise
    • Social interaction
    • Sit & wait for food
    • Basic first aid
    • Grooming information

    Week 5

    • Graduation
    • Where to from here
    • Responsible pet ownership

Skills/Topics:

  • Week 1
    • Calming/massage techniques
    • Engagement exercises
    • Training techniques
    • Social interaction (all weeks)
    • Motivation information

    Week 2

    • Bridge/marker words/release words
    • Target training (Teaching phase)
    • Recall with wait
    • Mat exercises
    • Behavioural issues information

    Week 3

    • Stand exercise (stand stay for preschool grads)
    • How to check your dog
    • Loose lead walking with exercises
    • Targeting
    • Health requirements

    Week 4

    • Leave it/ food refusal
    • Stay exercise on and off mat
    • Party tricks – having fun
    • Give, take, fetch

    Week 5

    • Graduation
    • Q & A

Is my puppy or dog suitable for PETstock Puppy School classes?

To ensure we’re providing all Puppy School students a safe and healthy environment, your puppy or dog will need to be:

  • In good overall health
  • For level 1 and 2: Minimum C5 Vaccination.
  • For Puppy Preschool: Minimum C3 vaccination 10 days prior to class.
  • Currently flea and worm treated
  • Friendly towards people
  • Friendly towards other dogs

If you are unsure if your puppy or dog meets these requirements, please contact the Puppy School Trainer at your local PETstock store.

Need to get your puppy or dog’s vaccinations, flea and worming up to date? Visit PETstock VET.

What to expect from your dog at PETstock Puppy School

Just like humans, dogs learn at different rates and each dog will often behave differently to the others during class. You may find that you dog is active, a barker, shy, boisterous or even timid.

These behaviours are all normal and it’s likely your buddy’s behaviour will change as the program continues. It is important to concentrate on your dog’s development and not compare them to others in the class. Your trainer will ensure that each dog receives individual attention throughout the course.

What to bring to PETstock Puppy School

  • Your puppy or dog!
  • Your dog’s current vaccination certificate
  • Flat collar and lead
  • Mat or towel
  • Treat pouch and high value treats (in pieces which are no larger than your small fingernail)
  • Your dog’s favorite toy

Tip: To help grab your pooch’s continued attention, don’t feed your puppy or dog prior to class.

Keep in mind:

  • Arrive 10 minutes before class
  • Wear suitable attire and closed footwear
  • Family involvement in your dog or puppy’s training is highly encouraged! However please keep in mind that the minimum age for owner-trainers is 10 years old, and then only under full adult supervision
  • Keep your puppy or dog on their leash at all times, unless instructed otherwise by your trainer

The value of homework

Each week, our Puppy School trainers provide participants with recommended activities to complete with your dog before the next week’s class. The work you do at home with you dog is vital part of achieving success in PETstock Puppy School!

Attendance

We understand that occasionally, events beyond control mean you may need to miss a class. If this is the case, simply let your PETstock Puppy School trainer know and they can advise you on how to work on your skills at home with your dog and resume normal classes the following week. If you should miss more than three sessions, we ask that you re-enrol to complete the program at another time. No refunds will be given for non-attendance.

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