Obedience training is available for puppies and adult dogs, but the question is, will they choose to obey or not? A secondary question is, do puppies and dogs have obedience problems, or behavioral problems?
There is a difference between training puppies and dogs to obey standard commands, such as “Sit” and “Stay,” versus breaking bad habits, such as destructive chewing and jumping up on people.
Training or Discipline?
Determining what stage your puppy or dog is in will help you decide if you need to learn to apply training tips or disciplinary actions. Training refers to teaching your puppy or dog to perform tasks such as sitting or giving a paw before rewarding with treats. Disciplining refers to correcting your puppy or dog for bad behaviors that need to change.
Training Tips for Activities and Tricks
You can teach new tricks to young and old dogs alike, regardless of the adage that alleges old dogs can’t learn new tricks! However, it’s ideal to begin obedience training for puppies as soon as possible, so they will learn at young ages to listen and to not pick up any bad habits.
Among the most popular activities to teach puppies and dogs are these, with the appropriate voice commands: Sit, Stay, Roll Over, Fetch, Paw, and similar commands.
Other activities that might be called “tricks” are things such as teaching your dog to allow you to balance a biscuit on his or her nose, and then catch and eat the biscuit when you give the command. You might be able to teach your dog to bring the newspaper or your slippers to you, or open or close a door, depending on the breed and size of your dog.
It’s important to remember to offer abundant praise and positive reinforcement whenever your dog successfully performs the requested activity or trick.
Disciplinary Actions for Bad Behavior
It might take a lot of time and effort, but you usually can curb or eliminate bad behaviors and redirect your puppy or dog to engage in better, more acceptable behaviors. How soon this happens depends on factors such as your canine pal’s age, as well as how consistent you are in correcting bad behavior and reinforcing good behavior.
Some of the preferred ways to correct bad behaviors, depending on the infraction, are to ignore your dog, not reward with treats or your attention, take something away and replace with an appropriate object, and otherwise show your displeasure.
Some of the most common bad behaviors to correct include the following: destructive chewing, jumping up, excessive barking, not coming when called or stopping when told, and aggressive behavior toward people or other animals.
Just as we need to correct bad behavior in our children at young ages, and redirect them to pursue better choices, it is likewise advisable to start changing bad behaviors in puppies before their behaviors become habits that will take much longer to correct when puppies become adult dogs.
View more articles written by K’Lee Banks.