Month: July 2006

House Training Your Puppy

Part III

When your dog does go to the toilet in the designated area, praise abundantly. Each and every time she follows your command, praise her enthusiastically and she will learn that this is the right behaviour. Positive reinforcement is the most important factor in this training method. Your puppy will soon try to get your attention or whine when she wants to go to the toilet. You must be there, ready to let her go to her toilet area quickly otherwise she will have an accident. If you are using newspaper in the house, this can be gradually moved outdoors, so that she understands that that is the new toilet area.

Above all, DO NOT punish or speak sharply to your dog when she makes a mistake. She will not understand why you’re chastising, it will only confuse her and be counter-productive to her training. You should also thoroughly clean up any accidents with a detergent that removes the smell – dogs like to toilet again where they have left their scent and you need to help her avoid this pattern.

In conclusion, spend lots of time with your puppy, learn her pre-toilet habits and pre-empt her need to go. Take her to her toilet area regularly and give the toilet command. Praise her abundantly when she does as she is told. Keep her living area clean, comfortable and fun to be in for both of you. Remember that patience and perseverance are the most important things in any training – house training does take a little time and your dog already has so much to learn at this stage of her life. She need lots of affection, lots of exercise and playtimes and lots of understanding and praise.

Come Command

Part II Your companion should release the collar as you use the command and your dog should come running over to you. Give him his treat immediately and praise him so he knows he has pleased you. Repeat the exercise many times, increasing the distance between you and your dog and even going out of his line of sight. He will soon learn the exercise and associate “come” with a nice treat and praise. Next, you should take your dog outside to a quiet location. Your companion must hold your dog on it’s leash and run over to you with the dog when you give the “come” command. Soon, the dog will be responding well to the command and remembering the positive reinforcement of the treat and praise, and it will be time to use the command with the dog off the leash in a safe environment. Remember to always use positive reinforcement for this exercise – don’t chastise your dog if he gets it wrong as he will not understand. Neither should you call your dog to you to tell him off or to do something he dislikes, like putting his leash back on or putting him in the shower! If you want to get him back on the leash, you can trick him by calling him to you, playing a little game where he stays close to you, then putting his leash on, so he doesn’t associate the command with something negative. Some dogs don’t see the leash as negative and therefore you can just call him as normal and give him a treat or praise him.

As with all training exercises, the key to success is repetition, patience, consistency and positive association. Your dog will be a happier, healthier, safer dog for accomplishing this simple task in a variety of environments with differing degrees of distraction until it is an automatic response.

Dog Psychology : Understanding Dogs

Part II We should also look at the concept of praise and correction in training. On the whole, I advocate rewarding good behaviour and ignoring or preventing misbehaviour. I do not in general believe in punishing a dog for bad behaviour, but sometimes a sudden shout can be a good reminder to a dog that is doing something he knows he shouldn’t. It is important to remember that you can only praise or give correction to your dog WHILE he is exhibiting the behaviour in question. He is not a person and will not know nor remember what he was doing five minutes ago. This is a major difference between people and dogs and if remembered, will make training a much easier task.

So the key to this is “think like a dog”. Imagine you are an animal, a part of a pack, just like him. Don’t ever think of him as a human, still less a child or a baby, whatever his size and however cute he may be. You have to make this concept a cornerstone of your relationship with your dog and he will certainly benefit from it. He is a dog, an animal, and only by truly understanding this will you be able to satisfy his needs and form a meaningful, fulfilling relationship for both of you.

Dog House Training

Part II

The corner stone to this method of house training is being familiar with your puppy’s normal behaviour and natural routine, so you must spend lots of time with her. The other important factor is to have feed her at the same times each day. Puppies almost always need to go to the toilet after their dinner, so a routine will help you both. Check also that her food and water and the amount you give her are suiting her digestive system. You can’t house train a dog who has digestive problems, so any problems must be resolved. Speak to your vet if you are having difficulties doing this yourself or if you think she has a urinary problems – it could be an infection that needs treatment.

Now, you must think of a command word or phrase that you will use when you see your puppy wants to go to the toilet, or when you want to encourage her to do so. First thing in the morning, within half an hour after her dinner and before she goes to sleep, you must take her to her toilet area (this will either be some newspaper on the floor away from her bed, or a convenient area just outside, not far from the door) and give her your toilet command. If you are patient and keep repeating the command, she will go to the toilet in the designated toilet area. You must immediately praise her and make a fuss of her so she knows she has done well. Remember that when puppies are young, they have poor bladder control and a small capacity for urine and faeces in their system, so you should take her out every two hours so she has the opportunity to go if she wants to. Avoiding undesired behaviour is always the best route in dog training.

When you are with your puppy (and you should spend lots of time with her during these early stages) you should be observing her behaviour when she’s about to go to the toilet – my dog looks restless and walks around, sniffing the ground in circles. Once you learn her pattern, you can call her quickly to her toilet area, or pick her up and place her there. Once your puppy is in the right area, give your toilet command in a friendly encouraging tone. If she wanders off before going, lead her gently back there and give the command repeatedly. If your puppy is really averse to going in that area, look for something that might be distressing her – she could have a very real reason for avoiding that spot.

House Training – Part III