Building Respect Through House Rules
Your puppy/dog doesn’t come to you automatically trusting and respecting you just because you are “human”. To earn his trust and respect; you must set and enforce a consistent set of rules. Consistent means the same rules with the same consequences enforced by all members of the household.
Dogs need 4 things in order to be happy, obedient and mentally well balanced: essentials (food, water, shelter), exercise (structured), clearly defined and consistently reinforced rules and love
If there are no defined rules in your household, your puppy will either become confused due to the inconsistency of rules/consequences or become completely out of control, following perfectly normal behavior for the dog world that does not fit into the human world. This will lead to frustration and anger from you, creating frustration and/or aggression from your puppy.
When your puppy becomes frustrated, that frustration will manifest in one or more of the following:
Nipping Biting Chewing Barking Digging Aggression
Although all of these behaviors are natural and normal for your puppy, they can escalate very quickly into a frustrating and potentially dangerous situation for your family. Here are some tips to help him stay happy and well behaved.
- Setting the house rules: Make a list of rules for your puppy. Put this list together with every member of your family’s input. List everything he is not allowed to do (i.e. jumping on people, bolting through doors, nipping, pottying in the house and anything else your family decides on). After each rule, write down what consequence you will give him if he breaks that rule. Decide together, and then post it on the refrigerator where everyone can see it. This will help your family to be consistent and make your dog’s training progress at a faster rate. See example below.
- Walking: Dogs have an instinctual need for walking and this is one of the best ways to burn off some energy, add in some training, as well as give your puppy much needed mental stimulation and happiness. This is not a “potty” walk, it is an exercise walk. Using the proper equipment is very important; use a leather or nylon leash and either a buckle collar or no pull harness. There are many different equipment options on the market, so if a buckle collar or no pull harness doesn’t work for you and your puppy talk to a positive reinforcement trainer for additional suggestions. Walk your puppy at least once a day (preferably two times a day) for at least 20 minutes.
- Nothing in life is free: Your dog must work for everything he likes! Food, walks, attention and play all need to be controlled by you. Your dog must sit and wait or at least be calm before he gets to eat his food, before you put the leash on, before you pet him and before you begin play. If your puppy seems to be bossy, you should be the one to instigate all play. If he brings you a toy, ask him to sit first and then you can pick up the toy and engage him in play. Your puppy demanding that you play with or pet him may be cute at first, but it won’t be so cute when he is bigger and more demanding.
- Decide whether your puppy will be allowed on the furniture. If you don’t want your puppy on the furniture, NEVER allow him on it, don’t make exceptions – your puppy will not understand when it is ok and when it is not. If he is allowed on the furniture, attach the Nothing In Life Is Free program to it, he must sit before you give him the ok to jump up on the furniture. For pups that are having dominant, bossy or aggression related behaviors or if you just don’t want them on the furniture; they should not be allowed on the furniture at all – even when you are not there. If this is the case, you will need to block his access to the furniture when you are not home.
- Teach your puppy not to invade your space. He should not be allowed to jump on you. When he jumps on you, use as little physical contact as possible; ignore him completely until he calms down and then give affection.
- Stay calm and confident: Dogs read and feed off of our body language. If you show uncertainty, frustration, nervousness, confusion, anger or stress, your puppy will pick up on those feelings and become stressed, confused, aggressive and/or nervous. If you are calm and confident, he will be calmer, balanced, happy and more obedient.
I believe dog training should be fun, rewarding and exciting for both the dog and the human. I take a scientific approach to training and train through love, kindness and respect with clearly defined rules and boundaries and get fabulous results. I have been a trainer for 20 years, graduated from Animal Behavior College (ABCDT), I am certified through Association of Professional Dog Trainers (CPDT-KA) and the International Association of Canine Professionals (CDT). I am the founder and president of HEARTland Positive Dog Training Alliance; a group of pet professionals and dog owners dedicated to positive reinforcement training.
Introducing Training To The Young Labrador Retriever
You can begin some elementary retrieving exercises at eight weeks or so, and your Labrador Retriever will most likely love the game and look forward to it each day. To teach the basic mechanics of the fetch (run out, pick up the object, return the object to the master, and release), begin by placing the puppy on a 10-foot lead.
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Take a favorite toy or a ball large enough not to be swallowed, dangle it in front and above the dog’s head to gain its attention, and toss it 5 to 6 feet in front of you. Precede your command with your dog’s name. For example, say, “Jake, fetch!” As he races for the toy, follow behind your Labrador Retriever.
Make sure the lead stays loose and does not snap shut and frighten or hurt him (and perhaps permanently sour him on retrieving).
If he picks up the toy, praise him encouragingly. Should he merely eye or paw the toy, make him pick it up by shaking it in front of him, repeating “Jake, fetch!” Once he has grasped the toy, walk backwards to your beginning spot. Coax him to follow you by motioning him toward you using your hands and fingers.
When he arrives back, get the toy from his mouth by commanding “Out!” and gently pulling it loose. Now is the time to give him a lot of praise and affection – not during the exercise, although encouragement can be helpful.
At such a young age, the emphasis in this and all types of exercise is on fun, not on performance. Improvement in response should naturally come with familiarity. As the puppy masters the game, vary it. Keep your Labrador Retriever guessing.
Try to remain in position and not move out toward the toy. Later, you can attach a longer lead and extend the distance of your throw, or throw the toy sideways. Any Labrador retriever worth its name will take easily and eagerly to this game.
It is recommended that you play with the Labrador Retriever puppy often and consciously make an effort to get down to its level. Standing upright, humans can be quite an imposing sight for a puppy. Sitting or lying on the floor, they are no longer towers but friendly companions. Giving a puppy some eye-to-eye attention will go a long way in cementing the human-dog bond.
Because a Labrador retriever make good swimmers as adults, some misinformed people think this gives them the liberty to dunk young puppies into any available pool of water. A Labrador Retriever is a natural swimmer, but the dog needs to learn the fundamentals before being expected to feel at ease in the water.
When a Labrador Retriever puppy’s first exposure to the water is being thrown or forced in, the shock may make it dislike and fear the water throughout life. Many potential field dogs have been ruined by improper or overzealous training.
The first introduction to the water can begin while a puppy is quite young (three months is a good age). A puppy should be able to master the mechanics very quickly, especially if “shown
the ropes” by some older dogs. The owner should always be nearby, should trouble arise. It often helps the dog feel at ease if the owner wades into the water with it on the first dip.
Ponds or lakes, with their easy entries, are best for training water dogs. The slick tiles and steep sides of a pool are often unmanageable for the dog, and many drownings have occurred when an exhausted dog was unable to climb out of the water. Similarly, a young Labrador Retriever puppy is not strong enough to manage a rough ocean surf, but should be encouraged to play along the shoreline in a sheltered area of shallow water.
When To Start Training And Socializing Your Dalmatian Puppy
Socialization and training your Dalmatian puppy need to start the very day of his arrival in your home. You should not address him without calling him by his name. A short, simple name is the easiest to teach because it catches the puppy’s attention quickly, so avoid giving him elaborate names. Always address the pup by the same name, not a whole series of pet names because the latter will only confuse your puppy. Say his name clearly, and call him over to you when you see him awake and wandering about. When he comes, make a big fuss over him for being such a good dog. He will then quickly associate the sound of his name with coming to you and a pleasant experience.
It is not too soon to start familiarizing him to the feel of a light collar, which can start as early as several hours after his arrival. Chances are he may hardly notice it or he may struggle, roll over, and try to rub it off his neck with his paws. You can divert his attention when this happens by offering a tasty treat, a toy, or by petting him. Before long he will accept the strange feeling around his neck and will no longer be aware of it.
Next is the lead; attach it and then immediately take the puppy outside or try to redirect his attention with things to see and sniff. He may struggle against the lead at first, biting at it and trying to free himself. Do not pull him with it at this point; just hold the end loosely and try to follow him if he starts off in any direction. Normally his attention will soon turn to investigating his surroundings if he is outside or if is taken into an unfamiliar room in your house; curiosity will take over and he will become interested in sniffing around the surroundings. Just follow your Dalmatian with the lead slackly held until he seems to have completely forgotten about it; and then try to get him to follow you.
Do not be rough or jerk at him; just tug gently on the lead in short quick motions, repeating his name or trying to get your Dalmatian to follow your hand while holding a bite of food or a favorite toy. If you have an older lead-trained dog, then it should be easier to get your Dalmatian puppy to follow along after him. In any case, the average Dalmatian puppy learns quite quickly and will soon be walking along nicely on the lead.
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5 Dog Training Tips When Teaching The “Come” Command
Here are 5 quick dog training tips for teaching your dog to “come.”
1. Use it sparingly. When you overuse “Come”, puppies stop paying attention. When your puppy understands the command, avoid using it all the time. Say it infrequently and make it extremely rewarding.
2. Do not chase your puppy if he does not respond. Practice on-lead for now.
3. Never call for negatives. If you have to groom, bathe, or isolate your puppy, do not use “Come.” Also avoid using it when you are angry. You will only scare your puppy out.
4. If your puppy runs away from you, do not repeatedly call or correct him.
5. Use a different command to bring your puppy inside. Coming in from outdoors is a big drag, no more fun than being left alone or ignored. Using the “Come” command when you want to bring him in makes it a negative command.
Instead, pick a dog training command like “Inside.” Start using it on-lead when bringing your puppy into the house. Quickly offer a treat or ball toss.
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How To Teach Your New Puppy To Play-Bite Softly
One of the first dog training protocol you will want to initiate when you get a new puppy is to teach him to inhibit the force of his play-bites. It is not necessary to reprimand the pup, and certainly physical punishments are not called for. But it is essential to let your puppy know that bites can hurt. A simple “Ouch!” is usually sufficient. When the puppy backs off, take a short time-out to “lick your wounds,” instruct your pup to come, sit, and lie down to apologize and make up. Then resume playing.
If your puppy does not respond to your yelp by easing up or backing off, an effective technique is to call the puppy a “Bully!” and then leave the room and shut the door. Allow the pup a minute or two time-out to reflect on the association between his painful bite and the immediate departure of his favorite human chew-toy. Then return to make up. It is important to show that you still love your puppy, only that his painful bites are objectionable. Have your pup come and sit and then resume playing once more.
It is much better for you to walk away from the pup than to physically restrain him or remove him to his confinement area at a time when he is biting too hard. So make a habit of playing with your puppy in his long-term confinement area. This technique is remarkably effective with lead-headed dogs, since it is precisely the way puppies learn to inhibit the force of their bites when playing with each other. If one puppy bites another too hard, the dog who gets bitten yelps and playing is postponed while he licks his wounds. The biter soon learns that hard bites interrupt an otherwise enjoyable play session. He learns to bite more softly once play resumes.
The next step is to eliminate bite pressure entirely, even though the “bites” no longer hurt. While your puppy is chewing his human chew-toy, wait for a bite that is harder than the rest and respond as if it really hurt, even though it didn’t: “Ouch – Gennntly! That really hurt me, you bully!” Your puppy begins to think, “Good heavens! These humans are soooooo sensitive. I’ll have to be really careful when mouthing their delicate skin.” And that’s precisely what you want your pup to think: that he needs to be extremely careful and gentle when playing with people.
Your pup should learn not to hurt people well before he is three months old. Ideally, by the time he is four and a half months old (before he develops strong jaws and adult canine teeth) he should no longer be exerting any pressure when mouthing.