Guest post by Natalie Lester, PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist
Whether you’re raising a guide dog puppy like Colby here at Puppy In Training or if you have just adopted a puppy as a companion pet for your family, one thing is for sure. Training needs to begin immediately. If you don’t start teaching your pet the right behavior, they will certainly be learning the wrong ones.
Along with your puppy’s first bark, he’ll need to learn to be quiet. Along with their first happy trots around the house, you’ll want to teach them to keep all four paws on the floor (no jumping!). With their first accident, you’ll want to teach them where to potty. Along with these behaviors, you will also want to teach him basic obedience. With so much to do, how do you know where to start?
Training techniques and opinions are a dime a dozen. Every pet parent has one and there are so many methods to choose from. With a new puppy, Positive Reinforcement is the easiest method. Positive Reinforcement is defined as adding a reward to a behavior that is being performed so that the good behavior increases. To teach Emma basic commands, I use a Lickety Stik® to encourage her good behaviors. For example, when your puppy is making the right decision to chew on his Busy Buddy toy, instead of your shoe, and you walk by to praise him, the puppy enjoys the petting and will increase how often he plays with that toy. Read on to see instructions for other specific behaviors.
Puppy Basic Obedience
Sit: This was the first command I taught Emma, and you better believe I used a Lickety Stik®. It was so important for her to learn she had to put her bottom on the ground before she could have her reward, and it was so easy to teach her! All I had to do was hold the treat a little higher than her nose and say “Sit.” As she raised her head to reach the treat, her bottom would drop. Soon, as soon as I said sit, her bottom would hit the floor. I still encourage her with treats and attention!
Bed: I use this one the most in our office, but it is also useful at home when I have guests. The last thing any of my visitors want is my puppy overwhelming them at their arrival. I started by having her “sit” in her bed on a leash. I would start to step away from the bed, but still holding the leash in my hand. If she stayed, I would step back in and reward her. If she stepped off, I would guide her back to the bed while saying “bed” and reward her once she sat back down on it. As she got more comfortable with what I was asking (and understood what she had to do to get the treats), I could walk around the bed and eventually drop the leash. Now, she knows she has to go there until I call her to get a treat or some attention.
Off: Jumping up on people can certainly be an issue, and I can’t say Emma has quite mastered this one but we’re working on it! I use this command to instruct Emma to get off, let go, or step away from anything she is currently on. For example, when I come home and Emma is so happy to see me, she jumps up to get my attention. However, she cannot have that “reward” until all four paws are on the ground. Therefore, I turn my back to her and ignore her until she gets off of me. Then I will reward her good behavior with the attention (and treats if I have them on me) she was seeking in the first place!
What about you? How have you taught your puppy basic obedience, or what commands are you interested in? Leave your comments below and I’ll give you the best advice I can.
As the PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist, Natalie Lester manages The Paw Print blog and generates other brand related content including public relations and promotions. Before PetSafe, Natalie worked in the local media covering politics, education, and religion. Natalie’s puppy, Emma, spends almost as much time in the office as she does.