By Arden Moore, a certified dog and cat behaviorist with the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. Arden is an author, radio host, and writer for Pets Best, a pet insurance agency for dogs and cats.
Sit. Stay. Lie down. Come. Good puppy! What’s the secret to training your newly adopted puppy to ensure that he will master these must-know cues? Two words: positive reinforcement.
Puppies, just like us, are more eager to learn when the teacher makes the lesson fun and engaging. So, out with the word, “no” and in with the word, “yes.” Accentuate the positive in schooling your pup. And most importantly, canine class should begin on Day 1.
Proper doggy etiquette is within your reach. It starts with proper training. Motivate with food lures and be consistent with voice commands and hand signals. You – and your pup – can be successful in mastering the basic cues if you pay heed to these training strategies:
1. Ahem: Attention, please! Some puppies can get distracted easily. The only way to get your pup to successfully comply with your training is if you have his undivided attention. So, when you begin any training session, pick a place and a time where distractions are kept to a minimum. When you’re ready, say your pup’s name and wait for his eyes to meet yours. Clap your hands or whistle if you have to, but make sure he is watching you and waiting for his cue to see what to do next.
2. Be a leader, not a bully. No need to shout or berate your young canine. You will win his unconditional loyalty by being an effective teacher who relies on positive reinforcement techniques. Praise your pup’s correct moves and ignore his mistakes during training sessions. Dogs learn by association and are apt to repeat an action when it is reinforced by you in a positive manner.
3. Give me a C — for consistency. Decide on what verbal and physical cues you want for the must-know canine cues of “sit,” “lie down,” “stay,” and “come.” And then, stick with them. If you use the command, “stay” in one training session and then “don’t move” in the next, you will create canine confusion. If you’re consistent with the cues, your puppy will eventually catch on.Read More…