Congratulations! You have decided to buy a puppy. They are cute little balls of cuddly fur and if there is more to life than puppies, please let everybody know. However, it is around day three of life with a pooch that most new dog lovers start asking themselves - what on earth have I gotten myself into?
This is because most of the time, puppies do not act like God sent angels and are harder to manage than adult dogs. You are quickly faced with offensive behaviour like biting, whining, chewing, jumping and pooping on the floor. Therefore, it is critical to start off your puppy right by setting rules, boundaries, and limitations. In simple words, our puppies must know what they can and cannot do, where they can do it and for how much time they can do it.
Also, if you have spoken to your dog-owner friends they would testify to the viability of proper training and care during a puppy’s initial few months. What your pooch experiences early on affects them for the rest of their life. Moreover, a puppy’s life revolves around the house while you are simultaneously dealing with their destructive tendencies as well as veterinary vaccinations. Not to mention the mirage of sincere, but often erroneous advice from loved ones and TV shows which can leave a puppy parent considerably overwhelmed.
Therefore, getting your puppy professionally trained establishes boundaries that can solve canine behaviour problems such as getting on the furniture, pleading at the table, or anchoring when a door is opened. When you create a boundary, you are building an unseen barrier and coaching your pup not to cross it.
Residential training can be extremely budget friendly and effective when you choose to invest in the right company. Lots of companies offer affordable packages and aim to not only train your pooch, but you also need to be taught all the things learnt so you can implement these practices and rules at home when the training is finished.
If you are based in the North-West area of the UK then I would suggest you check out Dog Harmony, one of the UK’s leading residential dog trainers, whom offer the course to any breed of dog of any age. The older your puppy gets the more difficult it will become to change your pet’s behaviour, which is why work should be put in place early! However, it is never too late to start training your dog.
Before you even begin to invest in a professional trainer, as soon as you introduce your pup to your home and family you should do the following;
NAME AND HOUSE YOUR PUP
Choose your pup’s name smartly and respect it. It goes without saying that you would want to pick a name that you love, but as per seasoned dog trainers it helps to choose a name with a strong consonant at the end. This will enable your puppy to hear the name clearly as a powerful ending (such as Jack, Jasper and Ginger) will perk up your puppy’s ears. Moreover, from the onset give your pup his/her exclusive sleeping place. The safety and comfort of privacy will greatly benefit them.
DOG TRAINING HISTORY
Puppy training techniques have diametrically changed over the years and are far removed from the ancient WWII methods when many dog trainers learned their craft while training dogs for the military. The canine military training was based on the premise that the dog is your foe in the training field and you should overpower him before he dominates you. The training process eventually culminated in a borderline brutal temperament test.
The underlying idea was to ensure that poor temperament may show up in practice than on the battlefield. Therefore, a trainer would test their breaking points during the training where stakes are small compared to the battleground. Nonetheless, compared to the more humane techniques such training methodologies are unsuitable to the most pet lovers of today.
MODERN DOG TRAINING
The concept of operant conditioning (a learning type where consequences control behaviour) and reward training deals with relations between stimuli, reactions and effects. It is a way to teach a pup that what he does is crucial to what happens next. Therefore, instead of reacting to dodge punishment, the pooch learns to think by associating the command with getting positive attention.
Today, few of the post-modern dog training tools replicate this development in training philosophy. For instance, devices such as the easy walk harness connect with puppies naturally with gentle pressure, restricting them from lunging forward or jumping up. The Halti and the head halters fit over the pup’s face, with no jerking necessary.
MODERN DOG TRAINING TECHNIQUES
In-House Professional Dog Training
This is a private puppy training session where the trainer’s undivided attention is only on your dog. As the training is tailored to your puppy's needs, it will help you refine your training expertise as well.
Your pup perhaps already knows how to wait for food and leave items on cue politely, but is also an outdoor disaster and welcomes home guests with a chest bump. With the luxury of an in-house trainer, you can get a custom curriculum made which focuses on behaviours you consider most critical.
Furthermore, it is possible that your home’s ambience may pose a challenge to your dog’s future behavioural tendencies. For instance, a dog may well be able to learn and exhibit flawless recalls and stays in a training school, but could get distracted by the children jumping on a trampoline or barking dogs next door to display these behaviours at home. A trainer can observe the unique training challenges and can offer techniques to overcome them functionally, thereby reducing your irritation with your puppy’s lack of obedience.
On the other hand, if you cannot afford in-house professional dog training you can start off with one or two individual sessions. After that, you can train your pup on your own by using relevant books and online tutorials. Whenever your pocket allows, you can have the dog trainer back for a couple of sessions to fine-tune skills.
It is pertinent to note that pooches that are high-energy driven and are easily aroused, will feel overawed in an ambiance as happening as a group dog training class. It also leads to difficulty in sustaining attention and focus when there is no undivided attention there can be no training. For example, hyper hounds and cautious canines are more relaxed when training in an acquainted home environment.
Moreover, puppies that are blind, deaf or have special needs will also train well with private, in-home training. You may look for a dog trainer experienced in working with your puppy’s particular needs as specific skills are needed that the average coach may lack. Therefore, it makes much sense to train your puppy in the environment where canines spend most of their time and where it matters the most for a dog to be well behaved.
Your professional trainer can teach your puppy in the areas of your house where problematic behaviours can occur such as around the furniture or counters, at the doors or while playing with your kids. Also, the in-house professional can assist you with changes to your home environment to better manage your pup’s behaviour and make training easier on him or her.
Positive Reinforcement Technique
The positive reinforcement dog training technique is popularised by celebrity trainers such as Dawn Sylvia-Stasiewicz who trained Barack Obamas’ canine, Bo. The philosophy behind it is straightforward. A puppy will repeat acceptable behaviour when a reward follows it as a bad display of manners would not fetch a reward or acknowledgement. Also, the punishment is not physical, but is the removal of rewards such as a toy or a pleasure being taken away. This is because harsh admonishments or physical punishments are not needed.
The method starts with rewarding a conduct instantly, at times within few moments, after the expected response is displayed. That way the puppy comes to link the action with the reward. Lastly, the commands should also be to the point and short.
Science-Based Dog Training Technique
This is a difficult to explain technique as it relies on information pool that is frequently building and changing. It aims to understand a canine’s nature and ability to be conditioned as well as the effectiveness of punishments and rewards. Today, animal behaviourists are continuously conducting new experiments to form our understanding of dog psychology and professional trainers trust these studies to work with dogs. This is because before behaviour is modified, it is essential to understand everything about that behaviour.
As science-based training is quite broad, it is hard to pinpoint the entire methodology behind it exactly. In fact, the scientific method is also partially a hybrid of a lot of other forms of training. Most of the time, there is a dependence on operant conditioning, which primarily includes positive reinforcement and occasionally some types of punishment.
Furthermore, scientific training heavily relies on extensive research and staying abreast with the latest subject matter researchers. For that reason adopting new methods based on research may not be suitable for everyone. However, it is a practical idea for dog parents to stay updated and pay attention to the latest research as and when it becomes available.
Model-Rival or Mirror Training Technique
The underlying philosophy of model-rival dog training method counts on the fact that puppies learn by observation. Therefore, by providing a model of ideal behaviour or a rival to vie for resources pups can learn to imitate expected behaviours. The professional trainer may well have another person act as the model, admiring them for task completion on command or reproaching them for undesired behaviour. The puppy as an observer grasps what to do properly from the model. Also, the model can act as a foe striving to do the right task for a desirable toy or pleasure as a reward, motivating the pup to pick up on the task and complete it swiftly.
Mirror training depends on the same principle by using the dog parent as a model, then gifting rewards for emulating the good behaviour. It is meant to use the puppy’s natural instincts to operate socially instead of working against him or her. In simple words, a pooch learns by example.
The mirror training method has been found to have a similar level of success as operant conditioning and positive reinforcement. Nonetheless, some dog trainers find it more naturally efficient and preferable. Lastly, if your puppy has already established a strong bond with you and can observe, and follow you around for hours, then you will find this technique more comfortable than the regular training sessions.
6 EASIEST DOG BREEDS TO TRAIN
The purebred Labrador retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds to train as the creature can be a friend, hunting dog, canine athlete, guide dog, a rescue dog, sniffer dog and therapy dog, among other things. As far as professional training goes, if one can teach it the lab can learn it. Nonetheless, if you have seen Marley and Me, you know for sure what an unsupervised lab puppy can do to your home.
The Poodle is widely known for her looks, but she should also be acknowledged for her brains. Due to her inheritance as a circus canine, the intelligent breed is often capable of learning all types of commands and tricks. However, do not let her outsmart you as she also has the potential to be stubborn.
The Golden Retriever is easily trained, but is sensitive to punitive treatment, so unnecessary strictness is not admissible. They learn swiftly and are adaptable which makes them perfect for rescue, detection, and therapy work. Labrador pooches are usually not brought home before they are eight weeks old. This puppy can learn many actions and will remember what he is taught for the rest of his life. As a result, obedience classes are suggested.
German Shepherd Dog
An intelligent breed that reacts well to training as the puppy enjoys learning new tricks. A German shepherd is known as a service dog of police and search-and-rescue units, and the robust, brave and loyal guide dog for special persons. Shepherds can be trained to do nearly any task because of them being smart, alert, bold and focused when required and keen to please their people. They are strong, but agile. Therefore, start light training from the day you bring him home before sending him off for professional training so he does not grow intolerable levels of barking, food stealing and digging.
German Shorthaired Pointer
The pointer is intelligent and has an earned a reputation of being highly trainable. The shorthaired pointer quickly adapts to many hunting and field jobs, including pointing and retrieving on water and land. Fundamental household obedience is an entirely different matter with the pointer as he is easily distracted by every sound, smell and sight. Also, if they find something interesting, it is nigh to impossible to get them re-focused. Therefore, to reap the rewards of having an obedient companion for 12-14 years, send the pup pointer to a professional dog training institute as soon as you adopt him.
Many experienced dog lovers would be surprised to see the Doberman as trainable as the canine creature has a reputation as an attack dog. However, courtesy of today’s contemporary dog training techniques, a Doberman can be trained to become friendly, social and a stable companion. However, it is only possible with an owner who can give him different tasks to do every day as out of boredom the Dobie can behave destructively to live up to his angry-doggie reputation.
While your puppy is getting professional training to be your local companion for life, you can always harness the power of best dog training books from renowned trainers to enlighten yourself on the subject.
The following three books have helped countless people train their canines over the years, and are Amazon’s top rated dog training books for established reasons:
Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution
Zak George has worked extensively for Animal Planet and is a YouTube celebrity courtesy his hundreds of videos. In Dog Training Revolution, George gives you information on everything to ensure you pick the right dog, from basic training and healthcare to altering bad behaviour of your puppy. The book is Amazon’s #1 best seller with a 4.6 rating.
How to Be Your Dog’s Best Friend
The Monks of New Skete are renowned as German shepherd breeders and trainers. In this classic training book, they give you information on selecting the right puppy. They outline the proper discipline, physical fitness, behavioural difficulties and the problems of having a puppy in the community you live whether it is an urban dwelling, suburbs or rural areas. The book has an Amazon rating of 4.5.
No Bad Dogs: The Woodhouse Way
Nearly three decades after she passed away, Barbara Woodhouse’s book No Bad Dogs is still an important book on dog training. She believed that there are no bad dogs, only young pet parents. Her job was to facilitate those owners learn how to understand and bond with their pups. Her techniques are still widely popular as she narrates the fundamentals with an optimistic attitude and occasionally these techniques have puppies respond in hours or even few minutes. The book has an Amazon rating of 4.3 stars.