One of the most important aspects of dog or puppy ownership is teaching your pet basic obedience training. Not only do basic obedience skills make things easier for you, as a pet owner, but it also makes things more pleasant for those who come into contact with your dog, as well as serving to keep your puppy safe from harm.
This basic dog obedience training starts at a very young age - in fact, some say that basic obedience classes begin as soon as your puppy is born, when they first imprint on that human scent. The most recognizable training generally begins after a puppy is weaned and usually starts when your dog is about 3 months old. This is when many people enroll their new pets into a program which is often called “puppy kindergarten", and it will help your new fluffy friend how to learn the very basic commands that will be expected of him or her. Whether you choose to enroll your puppy in obedience courses or if you decide to teach them yourself, there are several important things to know:
Use Positive Reinforcement When Training Your Dog
Positive reinforcement is the key to any good training program. Dogs are creatures of habit and, even though some have stubborn streaks, it is their nature to try and please their owners. Positive reinforcement uses both treats and praise to show a dog that a behavior is desired, while a sharply-spoken “No" or “Ah-ah", combined with a lack of reward, teaches your puppy that a behavior is undesirable. Important to note is that, while many people will suggest things such as rolled up newspapers as a means of discipline, physical punishment rarely helps in the training process and can even cause setbacks.
Use The Right Tone
Using a command voice is an important part of training a new puppy. Studies have shown and trainers will agree that, when working with a young dog, an authoritative or firm tone works best when delivering commands, and should then be switched to a higher, more excited voice for praising and times of play. While this command tone might sound a bit harsh at first, it's the first step in teaching your puppy in their basic obedience class. For best results, until your dog learns the various commands, always precede the command with your pet's name. This helps to ensure that they are paying attention to you, when you do issue the command.
Teach Your Dog Basic Command Words
There are a variety of command words that can be given and, in many cases, these commands come in a variety of different languages. Whatever the language, however, it's always important that you make the words short and something that is very easily understood. Some dogs are also taught using whistles, hand gestures or clickers. You will find the routine that works best for you. In the meantime, here are some basic English commands that all young dogs should learn:
- Lay down
- Drop it
- Take it
While many people hope to teach their furry friends additional tricks, such as shaking hands, speaking, rolling over and playing dead, basic obedience should always come first. While it's essential for owners of puppies who will grow into large breed dogs, even those who own small or toy breeds can benefit from a basic obedience course. Remember that an obedient dog is a safer dog.
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