Training a puppy needs to begin at an early age. There are many methods to do so, but I recommend using the “Positive Reinforcement” technique. Positive reinforcement involves rewarding desirable or good behavior with treats and affection. I have found that this method works far better that using brute force. Dogs are very affectionate animals and if you show your dog that you love him or her, then he/she will do anything in his/her power to please you and to keep you pleased.
While undertaking this form of training (any form of training really) you need to remember that dogs have personalities as well. This means that each dog is different. This is why dogs like and do things that seem un-dog like. For example, a friend’s dog liked tomatoes. It’s not like they were starving him or something, he just liked tomatoes. My point is that the techniques that I mention here may not work with your dog. This does not mean that all the techniques are flawed. So here are the techniques I was talking about.
1. Dogs do not understand language. Theirs is a world of smells and actions. So when you start training your puppy or dog it may not respond to your command or praise. If this is the case then you need to start using physical praise along with verbal praise for a few months. The physical praise can be in the form of a treat or petting. Once the dog starts associating sounds like “Good Girl” or “Good Dog” with the treat they will learn to recognize it later. After a while you will notice that it responds to your voice.
2. Dogs like Attention and Praise. As odd as it may sound, dogs will do anything to get their master’s attention. Let me give you an example. A friend once came to me complaining about his mischievous dog. He used to (the dog) always grab things like the remote control and mobile and run away with them, chew up slippers and shoes even though they bought him a variety of toys and treats and be a general nuisance. What I realized from listening to him was that the dog was trying to get his attention. They never praised him when he was doing the things they wanted him to, like playing with his toys. So gradually the situation became that the dog did things that caused my friend to yell and shout. You need to praise your dog for things that you want it to do and ignore it when it does the opposite.
3. Toys. You don’t need to spend tons of money buying toys for your dog. You can practically use anything as a toy. For example, you could use a small plastic bottle, empty talcum powder box or cardboard roll of toilet paper. Categorize the toys into groups. These groups are –
The category A toys are the ones he likes while the category B toys are the ones he loses interest in. the category A toys are to be used in training. The interactive toys are the ones that require an additional person to play with while the isolation ones are those that he plays with himself.
The toys should be put away after play is over and not left lying around. The toys lose their value if they are left lying around. Do not ever pull out the toy from his mouth, let him take his time, chew it and naturally leave it.
4. Another mistake people make is when their dogs exhibit fear or aggression on meeting strangers. Just like the example I gave earlier in the article people should discourage such behaviour. Stop it by saying a firm “No” to it and pat or praise it when it stops. If the dog displays fear, be a little gentler with the “No”, but do be firm. With a growling dog, be much more emphatic and stern with your “No!”