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Bringing a new puppy into the household is always an exciting and fun time. Everyone wants to play with, cuddle and hold the little ball of fur. The last thing on the minds of most new puppy owners is training the new addition, but it is important that puppy training and socialization begin as early as possible.
In some ways training a puppy is easier than training an adult or adolescent dog. One reason is that the puppy is essentially a “blank slate”, untroubled by past training techniques and other issues. In other ways, however, the puppy can be more difficult to train than an older dog.
One challenge to training a new puppy is that puppies are more easily distractible than adolescent and adult dogs. Everything is new to a puppy, and every new experience provides a new chance for distraction. For this reason, it is best to keep training sessions short when working with a puppy, and to end each training sessions on a positive note.
Socializing a new puppy is a vital part of any training program, and it is important for socialization to begin early. The window for socialization is very short, and a puppy that is not properly socialized to people, dogs and other animals by the time he or she is four months old often never develops the socialization he or she needs to become a good canine citizen.
Socialization training is vital to making your new puppy a good canine citizen, as dog aggression is a growing problem in many areas. A properly socialized dog learns how to play properly with other dogs, and overly aggressive play is punished by the other dogs in the play group.
This type of play learning is something that happens among siblings in litters of puppies. As the puppies play with each other, they learn what is appropriate and what is not. Inappropriate behavior, such as hard biting or scratching, is punished by the other puppies, by the mother dog, or both.
Unfortunately, many puppies are removed from their mothers and sold or adopted before this socialization has fully occurred. Therefore, puppy play sessions are a very important part of any puppy training session. Most good puppy preschool training programs provide time in each session for this type of dog interaction.
So, if you are new to the puppy training world, we recommend you to read the previous article about this topic: Time for puppy preschool: Get the basics for positive dog training.
Introducing your puppy to new experiences and new locations is also an important part of puppy training. Teaching your dog to be obedient and responsive, even in the face of many distractions, is very important when training dogs and puppies.
One great way to socialize your puppy both to new people and new dogs is to take it on a trip to your local pet store. Many major pet store chains, and some independent ones as well, allow pet parents to bring their furry children, and these stores can be great places for puppies to get used to new sights, sounds and smells. Of course you will want to make sure the store allows pets before heading over.
Learning how to interact with other dogs is something that normally would occur between littermates. However, since most dogs are removed from their mothers so soon, this littermate socialization often does not finish properly.
One vital lesson puppies learn from their littermates and from the mother dog is how to bite, and how not to bite. Puppies naturally roughhouse with each other, and their thick skin protects them from most bites. However, when one puppy bites too hard, the other puppies, or the mother dog, quickly reprimand him, often by holding him by the scruff of his neck until he submits.
The best way to socialize your puppy is to have it play with lots of other puppies. It is also fine for the puppy to play with a few adult dogs, as long as they are friendly and well socialized. Many communities have puppy playschool and puppy kindergarten classes. These classes can be a great way to socialize any puppy, and for handler and puppy alike to learn some basic obedience skills.
When socializing puppies, it is best to let them play on their own and work out their own issues when it comes to appropriate roughness of play. The only time the owners should step in is if one puppy is hurting another, or if a serious fight breaks out. Other than that the owners should simply stand back and watch their puppies interact.
While this socialization is taking place, the pack hierarchy should quickly become apparent. Some puppies are ultra-submissive, rolling on their backs and baring their throats at the slightest provocation. Other puppies in the class will be dominant, ordering the other puppies around and telling them what to do. Watching the puppies play, and determining what type of personality traits your puppy has, will be very valuable in determining the best way to proceed with more advanced training.
As the socialization process proceeds, of course, it will be necessary to introduce the puppy to all sorts of humans as well as all sorts of puppies. Fortunately, the puppy kindergarten class makes this process quite easy, since every puppy gets to interact with every human. It is important that the puppy be exposed to men, and women, old people and children, black people and white people. Dogs do not see every human as the same. To a dog, a man and a woman are completely different animals.
Dog training is not easy, but it’s very rewarding, if you are looking for the best advice on this matter, take a look at this: Puppy 101: A beautiful journey through dog training.
It is also important to introduce the puppy to a variety of other animals, especially in a multi pet household. Introducing the puppy to friendly cats is important, as are introductions to other animals the puppy may encounter, such as rabbits, guinea pigs and the like. If your household contains a more exotic creature, it is important to introduce the puppy to it as early as possible, but to do it in a way that is safe for both animals.
It is often best to start by introducing the puppy to the smell of the other animal. This can be easily accomplished by placing a piece of the animals bedding, like a towel or bed liner, near where the puppy sleeps. Once the puppy is accustomed to the smell of the other creature, he or she is much more likely to accept the animal as just another member of the family.
It is important for puppy owners to structure their pet’s environment so that the puppy is rewarded for good behaviors and not rewarded for others. One good example of this is jumping on people. Many people inadvertently reward this behavior because it can be cute. While it is true that jumping can be cute for a 10 pound puppy, it will not be so cute when that puppy has grown into a 100 pound dog.
Instead of rewarding the puppy for jumping, try rewarding it for sitting instead. This type of positive reinforcement will result in a well behaved adult dog that is a valued member of both the family and the community at large.
This type of reinforcement can also be used in potty training the new puppy. For instance, teaching a puppy to use a unique surface such as gravel or asphalt is a good technique. The theory is that the puppy will associate this surface with going potty, and therefore be reluctant to use other surfaces (like your kitchen carpet for instance) as a potty.
It is best to introduce a new puppy to the household when everyone in the family is present, and when the household is as calm as possible. That is why animal care experts discourage parents from giving puppies and kittens as holiday presents. The holiday season is typically much too busy, with far too many distractions, for a young puppy or kitten to get the attention it needs. It is best to wait until the holidays have passed before introducing the new family member.
Once the puppy is part of the household, there are some things he or she will need to learn. One of the first challenges of a multi-story home will be learning to climb up and down the stair. Many puppies are afraid of stairs, and that usually means that they do not know how to climb them properly. It is important for the puppy’s owner to slowly build the confidence of the dog, starting off at the bottom of the stairs. In general, a wide stairway will probably be less frightening to the puppy.
House training a puppy requires patience and discipline, you might need to read this article for more information: House and Crate Training 101: How To Crate Train Your Dog.
To build confidence, the owner should go up the first step, and then encourage the puppy to join them, using their voice, treats or a toy. After the puppy has joined you on the first stair, go back down and repeat the process until the puppy will go up that step on his own. It is important to build confidence slowly and not rush the process. Taking a one step at a time approach is the best way to teach the puppy to not be afraid of stairs.
Another thing every new puppy must learn is how to accept the collar. Learning to wear a collar is important to every dog, but many puppies are baffled, frightened and bewildered by this new piece of equipment. Many puppies constantly try to remove their new collar by pawing and pulling at it.
Fit is important when choosing a collar for your new puppy. A properly fitted collar, chosen for your puppy’s size, is more likely to be comfortable and accepted. While choke, slip and training collars can be good training aids, they should never be used as a substitute for a sturdy buckle type collar. And of course that collar should have an identification tag and license attached. This identification will be vital in having your puppy returned if they become separated from you.
Teaching a puppy or a dog with proper socialization skills is vital to the safety of both your dog between other dogs and people with whom he comes into contact. A properly socialized dog is a happy dog, and a joy to be around for both humans and animals. A poorly socialized dog or one with no socialization at all, is a danger to other animals, other people and even his own family.
Socialization is best done when the puppy is as young as possible; the socialization lessons, a young puppy learns, are difficult to undo; and it is important to remember that the socialization skills the puppy learns will affect his behavior for the rest of his life.
A dog that is properly socialized will be neither frightened of nor aggressive towards other animals or humans. A properly socialized dog will take each new experience and stimulus in stride, and not become fearful or aggressive. Dogs that are not properly socialized often bite because of fear, and such a dog can become a hazard and a liability to the family who owns it. Improperly socialized dogs are also unable to adapt to new situations. A routine matter like a trip to the vets or to a friend’s house can quickly stress the dog out and lead to all sorts of problems.
There are so definite do’s and don’ts when it comes to properly socializing any puppy. Let’s start with what to do. Later in this article we will explore what to avoid.
There are of course some things to avoid when socializing a puppy. These socialization don’ts include:
While you are here, take a moment to visit our website, we have many other articles and top notch items for your dog.
There are many different styles of dog training, and finding the one that works best for you is important for creating a dog that is a talented, loyal and faithful member of the family. All successful methods of dog training work to reinforce the relationship between dog and handler, and the foundation of any successful training program is getting the respect of the dog. Fortunately, dogs are wired by nature to seek out leaders, and to follow the direction of those leaders.
Both leash/collar training and reward training have been around for a very long time, and they have proven their effectiveness over time. The type of training that works best will vary from dog to dog, and from breed to breed. It is important to remember that each breed of dog has its own unique qualities, reinforced by hundreds of years of selective breeding.
Of course personalities of individual dogs vary quite a bit, even within established breeds. You, as the owner of the dog, know better than anyone about which style of dog training will work best, so it is important to work with the trainer you choose to achieve your goal of a willing, obedient and friendly dog.
Leash and collar training is the best way to accomplish many types of dog training, particularly in situations where the dog must have a high level of reliability. For instance, dogs that have an important job to do, such as rescue dogs, police dogs and guard dogs, generally benefit from leash and collar training.
In a collar and leash based dog training program, first the dog is taught a particular behavior, generally with the leash. After the dog has demonstrated that it understands the command, the leash is then used to correct the dog if it disobeys, or when it makes a mistake. The leash is the main form of controlling and communicating with the dog in leash and collar training.
When using leash and collar training, the dog must be trained to trust the handler and accept his or her directions without question. In order for the dog to be fully trained, the handler must demonstrate the ability to place the dog into a posture or position he or she does not want to take. This does not mean using force, but it does generally require some level of physical manipulation. This manipulation is most easily and safely done using the main tool of leash and collar training – the leash.
The leash and training collar is the most basic piece of equipment used in training a dog. Using the leash and training collar properly is vital to successful dog training. The training collar is designed to apply a specific amount of pressure each time the leash is tightened. The amount of pressure put on the leash controls the amount of pressure placed on the training collar, and the pressure can be adjusted according to how the dog responds.
How each dog responds to training with the leash and training collar is quite variable. Some dogs barely react the first time they encounter a collar and leash, while others fight this strange contraption with all their might. It is important to recognize how your own dog reacts, and to adapt your training program as needed.
The first part of training with collar and leash, of course, is to purchase a quality, well-made training collar that will fit your dog properly. There are many types of training collars and leashes on the market. The most important thing is to choose one that is sturdy and well made. The last thing you want to do is chase your dog down after he has broken his collar.
This is a good moment to remind that a properly fed dog is a happy one, so don’t forget to inform yourself about the best food for dogs: Dog food for puppies: Why is it so important to get the best food for dogs.
The length of the collar should be approximately two inches longer than the circumference of the dog’s neck. It is important to accurately measure the dog’s neck using a measuring tape. In order to get an accurate measurement, you must make sure that the tape is not tight around the dog’s neck.
Most training collars come in even sizes, so you should round up to the next size if your dog’s neck is an odd number. It is important that the chain that attaches to the collar be placed at the top of the dog’s neck. That is where the training collar is designed to apply the best pressure.
The ability to apply varying degrees of pressure, and to relieve that pressure instantly, is what makes a training collar such an effective tool. It usually takes new users a little while to get used to using the training collar, and some styles of training collar require more finesse than others. If you are unsure which collar to choose, be sure to ask a professional dog trainer, or the management staff at your local pet store, for help.
After you have become familiar with the way the training collar works, it is time to begin using it to train your dog to walk properly on a lead. The well trained dog is one who will walk at his owner’s side on a loose lead, neither dropping behind nor charging ahead.
The well trained dog will also vary his pace to meet that of his handler. Under no circumstances should the handler be forced to change his or her pace to match that of the dog.
If the dog does begin to charge ahead, it is important to correct the dog promptly by giving a quick tug on the leash. This will give the dog a good reminder that he needs to change his pace. It is important to quickly relieve the pressure as soon as the dog responds. The training collar is designed to relieve pressure as soon as the leash is loosened.
Learning to walk on a collar and leash is the basis of all further training for every puppy. Until the puppy has learned to accept the collar and leash, it will be impossible to perform any additional training.
The first step toward getting the puppy to accept the collar and leash is to find a collar that fits the dog properly. It is important that the collar be neither too light nor too heavy, neither too thin nor too thick. A collar that is too light for the dog can be easily broken, while a collar that is too heavy may be uncomfortable for the puppy to wear. It is also important that the width of the color be appropriate for the size of the dog.
Determining the proper length of the collar is relatively easy. Simply wrap a tape measure or a string lightly around the dog’s neck to get an accurate measurement. It is important that the tape measure not be tight, just slightly snug.
Most collars are sized in two inch increments, so you may have to round up to get a properly sized collar. For instance, if the dog has a 13” neck, you would buy a 14” collar, and so on.
If you are like most pet owners, you want to give your beloved companion the best of everything, including a safe and comfortable space of their own where they can relax and rest.
After you have purchased the perfect collar, the next step is to put it on the dog and allow him to wear it around the house. Do not be dismayed if the dog whines, paws at the collar or otherwise tries to remove it. This is normal, and the dog should not be punished for it. It is best to simply ignore the dog and allow him to work out his own issues with the collar.
The dog should be allowed to wear the collar 24 hours a day for a number of days to get used to the feel of the collar on his neck. After the dog is accepting the collar well, it is time to start introducing the leash. A lightweight leash works best for this process.
Simply attach the leash to the dog’s collar and allow him to walk around the house with it. The dog should of course be supervised during this process in order to make sure he does not get the leash caught on anything. Getting the leash caught or snagged could frighten the dog and create a leash phobia that will be hard to overcome.
Pulling on the leash is one of the most common misbehaviors seen on all kinds of dogs. Puppies and adult dogs alike can often be seen taking their owners for walks, instead of the other way around. Pulling on the leash can be much more than an annoying habit. Leash pulling can lead to escape in the case of a break in the collar or leash, and an out of control, off leash dog can be both destructive and dangerous to itself and to others.
Leash pulling can result from a variety of different things. In some cases, the dog may simply be so excited to go for a walk that he or she is unable to control themselves. In other cases, the dog sees itself as the leader of the pack, and he or she simply takes the “leadership position” at the front of the pack.
If excitement is the motivation for leash pulling, simply giving the dog a few minutes to calm down can often be a big help. Simply stand with the dog on the leash for a couple minutes and let the initial excitement of the upcoming walk pass. After the initial excitement has worn off, many dogs are willing to walk calmly on their leash.
If the problem is one of control, however, some retraining may be in order. All dog training starts with the owner establishing him or herself as the alpha dog, or pack leader, and without this basic respect and understanding, no effective training can occur. For dogs exhibiting these type of control issues, a step back to basic obedience commands is in order. These dogs can often be helped through a formal obedience school structure. The dog trainer will of course be sure to train the handler as well as the dog, and any good dog trainer will insist on working with the dog owner as well as the dog.
Many dog owners are anxious to give their four legged companions the freedom of going off leash, but it is important not to rush that important step. Dogs should only be allowed off their leash after they have become masters of all the basic obedience commands, such as walking at your heel, sitting and staying on command Another skill that must be completely mastered before the dog can be taken off the leash is the come when called command. Even if the dog can heel, sit and stay perfectly, if he cannot be relied upon to come when called, he is not ready to be taken off the leash.
Taking any dog off the leash, especially in a busy, crowded area, or one with a lot of traffic, is a big step and not one to be taken lightly. It is vital to adequately test your dog in a safe environment before taking him off his leash. After all, the leash is the main instrument of control. You must be absolutely certain you can rely on your voice commands for control before removing the leash.
Only after the dog has consistently demonstrated the ability to come when called, even when there are many distractions around, is it safe to allow him time off leash. Off leash time should never be unsupervised time. It is important, both for your well-being and your dog’s, which you know where, he is and what he is doing at all times. It is easy for a dog to get into trouble quickly, so you should always keep an eye on him, whether he is chasing squirrels in the park, playing with other dogs, or just chasing a ball with the neighbor’s kids.
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