Whilst out walking my precious puppy the other day the idea for this post sprang to mind. Seeing the way all different types of people treat their dog's and how the dogs act made me appreciate how well trained our little guy is for his age (not to be big headed or anything)!
Now I'm not dissing anyone's puppy parenting skills - actually maybe I am. Here are some of the 'myths' and actual truths behind methods of dog training.
DO - Use the 'excited' voice. It's not the words itself but the tone in which you say them that the dog associates with a right or wrong behavior. In my case Baker responds more to being told off by Jake than I because obviously he has a lower register of voice. However, if the puppy does a behavior you wish to encourage such as going to the toilet in the right place or sitting when told to a high voice happy toned 'Good Boyyy!' is exactly what you wanna do.
DON'T - Always reward good behaviors and correct actions while training with doggy treats. Alot of the time we used a favorite toy to reward our little guy. For example when teaching him to sit, stay, lay down and wait we'd always hold his toy, say the command and when he obeyed he would get a 'Goood Booyyy' and his toy. (Another tip is to just use a handful of their dry food. Giving them pieces of that is a much healthier alternative.) FYI, those clicker training things suck.
DO - Start training young. Baker was 6 weeks old when we brought him home (vet recommended taking him early as his sharp teeth had made his mother bleed meaning he had to be weened early) and we started training straight away. Alot of websites and people may suggest you don't start training until 6 months old but as with humans the younger they are the quicker they will pick things up. Remember it's easier to learn new behaviors than correct old habits.
DON'T - Be overly protective or nervous. Your body language and fear will be apparent to the dog and could go a number of ways. They may also adopt a shy and timid demeanor meaning they are submissive and somewhat afraid of other people and dogs, or they could over power you and disobey commands and not return when called. You need to have the confidence to let him or her play off the lead outside from day one (well after their jabs obviously) or when you do finally let them off they may be harder to call back. We went to a quiet, closed off beach for the first 'off the lead' experience and it couldn't of gone smoother. For the first few months actually, he never strayed further than a meter and a half away from us and although the last month or two has seen his confidence grow, playing and running - he always stops to look back and wait for us to catch up or returns to our sides when called. That being said we are big believers in keeping them on a lead and to heel while town walking on paths and near roads.
DO - Introduce puppy to as many different dogs, people and children as possible (at separate times and without overwhelming) in the first 6 months. They will learn the doggy etiquette as well as feel comfortable around strangers limiting the nervous, over excited or perhaps aggressive demeanor.
We also took Baker out before he had had his injections, carrying him in a blanket to get him used to noises and smells (again recommended by the vet) although he slept the majority of the time.
DON'T - Rely on puppy potty training pads. Yeah puppy will use them but you'll also find it hard to get them to go anywhere else but them - that's gonna end up expensive! Along the same lines is the myth of pushing the dogs nose into any accidents they have. This isn't just cruel, it's completely pointless. They scent mark and associate a smell with where they can go, so pushing their nose into it is pretty much saying 'here smell this, this is where to go'.
There we are. I know I'm not a qualified trainer or dog expert but these points have worked for us and Baker is a very obedient puppy. For those who follow my pet updates, let me know if you'd like another one soon and I'll list everything he can and maybe still can do. Thanks alot and I hope this is helpful to some.