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Dog training for desired behaviours

Teaching a dog proper behaviour while it is young is very important.  While playing and having fun with your new puppy or dog is certainly important, it is also important to teach your canine companion just what is expected – which behaviours are acceptable and which behaviours are not acceptable.

Teaching these lessons early, while the dog is still a puppy, is the best guarantee that these lessons will be learned and retained.  Dogs learn quickly and every interaction between human and dog is teaching the dog something.  Making sure you are teaching the right lessons is up to you as the dog handler.

Proper training techniques are important for the protection of the dog as well as the protection of the family and the community at large.  While dogs are loving, protecting members of the family in most cases, a poorly trained dog can be dangerous and destructive.  Making sure your new addition is a pleasure to be around and not a menace is up to you as the owner.

The relationship between humans and dogs goes back for many thousands of years and dogs have been domesticated longer than any other animals.  Therefore, humans and dogs have developed a bond not shared by many other domesticated animals.  This strong bond is very useful when training any dog.

All potential dog owners and would be dog trainers should understand how dog society works in the absence of humans.  It is important to understand the pack hierarchy and to use that hierarchy to your advantage as you train your dog.  All pack animals have a lead animal, in the case of dogs it is the alpha dog.  All other members of the pack look to the alpha dog for direction and guidance.  The alpha dog in turn provides important leadership in hunting, fending off other predators, protecting territory and other vital survival skills.  This pack arrangement is what has allowed wolves and wild dogs to be such successful predators, even as other large predators have been driven to extinction.

What all this means to you as the dog trainer is that you must set yourself up as the pack leader – the alpha dog if you will – in order to gain the respect and trust of your dog.  If the dog does not recognize you as is superior and its leader, you will not get very far in your training program.

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Taking your dog training off lead

Many dog owners are anxious to give their four legged companions the freedom of going off lead, but it is important not to rush that important step.  Dogs should only be allowed off their lead after they have become masters of all the basic obedience commands, such as walking at your heel, sitting and staying on command

Another skill that must be completely mastered before the dog can be taken off the lead is the come when called command.  Even if the dog can heel, sit and stay perfectly, if he cannot be relied upon to come when called, he is not ready to be taken off the lead.

Taking any dog off the lead, especially in a busy, crowded area, or one with a lot of traffic, is a big step and not one to be taken lightly.  It is vital to adequately test your dog in a safe environment before taking him off his lead.  After all, the lead is the main instrument of control.  You must be absolutely certain you can rely on your voice commands for control before removing the lead.

After the dog has been trained to understand the sit, stay and come when called commands, it is important to challenge the dog with various distractions.  It is a good idea to start by introducing other people, other animals, or both, while the dog is in a safe environment like a fenced in garden.  Have a friend or neighbour stand just outside the fence while you hold you dog on the lead.  As the friend or family member walks around the outside of the fence, watch your dog’s reactions closely.  If he starts to pull at the lead, quickly tug him back. 

Repeat this exercise until the dog will reliably remain at your side.  After this, you can try dropping the lead and eventually removing the lead and repeating the distraction.  It is important to vary the distractions, such as introducing other animals, other people, traffic, rolling balls, etc.

After your dog is able to remain still in the face of distraction, start introducing the come when called lessons with distractions in place.  Try inviting some of the neighbours and their dogs, over to play.  As the dogs are playing in the fenced in garden, try calling your dog.  When the dog comes to you, immediately give him lots of praise and perhaps a food reward.  After the dog has been rewarded, immediately allow him to go back to playing.  Repeat this several times throughout the day, making sure each time to reward the dog and immediately allow him to go back to his fun.

After the dog has seemingly mastered coming when called in his own garden, try finding a local dog park or similar area where you can practice with your dog.  It is important to make the area small, or to choose a fenced in area, in case you lose control of the dog.  If you cannot find a fenced in area, choose an area well away from people and cars.  Practice with your dog by allowing him to play with other dogs, or just to sniff around, then calling your dog.  When he comes to you, immediately reward and praise him, then let him resume his previous activities.  Doing this will teach the dog that coming to you is the best option and the one most likely to bring both rewards and continued good times.

Only after the dog has consistently demonstrated the ability to come when called, even when there are many distractions around, is it safe to allow him time off lead.  Off lead time should never be unsupervised time.  It is important, both for your well being and your dog’s, that you know where he is and what he is doing at all times.  It is easy for a dog to get into trouble quickly, so you should always keep an eye on him, whether he is chasing squirrels in the park, playing with other dogs, or just chasing a ball with the neighbours kids.

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Dog training – keeping your dog motivated

Keeping the attention of a dog while training is not always easy.  Dogs can be easily distracted, and it is important to not allow the training sessions to be sabotaged by boredom. Making training fun for the dog and the human alike is vital to creating a happy, well adjusted and well trained dog.

Providing random positive stimuli during the day is a great way to keep the interest of the dog.  Doing things the dog enjoys, like walking in the park, riding in the car and playing with other dogs, is a great way to keep the dog’s attention and reward him for small successes. 

For instance, in order to reward the dog for coming to you, ask the dog to come to you, without giving any clues about a walk, a car ride, or other treats.  After the dog has come to you and obediently sat down, attach the lead and start the reward.  This can be either the aforementioned walk in the park, ride in the car, or anything else the dog likes to do. 

Providing some kind of reward, whether a treat, a special outing, or just a scratch behind the ears, every time the dog does something you want, is a great way to keep your dog motivated.  If the dog knows something great is going to happen every time he obeys your command, he will be motivated to please you every time.

Distraction training

When training any dog, it is important to not let distractions disrupt the training.  The dog must be taught to ignore distractions, such as other people, other dogs, other animals and loud noises, and focus on what is being taught.  These types of distractions can even be used as rewards when training the dog to come when called.

For instance, if your dog enjoys playing with other dogs whether in a local dog park or with the neighbour’s dogs, let him play freely with those other dogs.  Then go into the park or garden and call your dog.  When he comes to you, provide lots of praise, treats and other rewards, then immediately allow the dog to go back to playing with his friends.  Repeat this several times and praise the dog each time he comes to you.  The dog will quickly learn that coming to you means good things (treats and praise) and not bad ones (being taken away from the park).

If the dog does not master this particular type of training right away, try not to get discouraged.  So called distraction training is one of the most difficult things to teach.  Dogs are naturally social animals, and breaking away from the pack is one of the most difficult things you can ask your dog to do.  Most dogs will be understandably reluctant to leave their canine companions, but it is important to persist.

Training the dog to come to you may require some creativity on your part at first.  For instance, waving a favorite toy, or a lure, is a great way to get your dog’s attention and put the focus back on you.  If your dog has been clicker trained, a quick click can be a good motivator as well.

Once the dog begins to get the hang of coming when called, you can begin to reduce and eliminate the visual cues and focus on getting the dog to respond to your voice alone.  It is important that the dog respond to voice commands alone, since you will not always have the availability of a toy or other lure.

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Dog training – reward training basics

Training with treats and other food based rewards is a great way to motivate your dog and speed the training process along.  Most dogs are highly motivated by food rewards and treat training using this kind of positive reinforcement is used to train all sorts of animals, including tigers, lions, elephants and even house cats.

Before you begin a treat based training session, however, it is a good idea to test the dog to make sure that food will motivate him through the session.  Begin around the dog’s regular meal time by taking a piece of its food and waving it in front of the dog’s nose.  If the dog shows an enthusiasm for the food, now is a great time to start the training.  If the dog shows little interest, or none at all, it may be best to put off the training until another time.  Don’t be afraid to delay the start of meal time in order to pique the dog’s interest in training.  The advantages of proper training will far outweigh any delay in feeding.

It is generally best to get the dog used to regular feedings, instead of leaving food out all the time.  Not only does free feeding encourage the dog to overeat and increase the chances of obesity, but a free fed dog may never be fully motivated in reward based training.

The come when called command

Once your dog has shown interest in the food offered to it, it is time to begin the training.  Since you already got your dog’s undivided attention by showing it food, now is a great time to start.  Give the dog a few pieces of food right away, then back up a few steps.  While holding the food in your hand, so “come here”.  When the dog comes to you, praise him effusively and give him a few pieces of food. 

After the dog is coming to you easily, add a sit command and hold the collar before you give the food.  After the sit command is mastered, other commands and even some tricks can be added.  Food based positive reinforcement training is the best way to teach a variety of important behaviours.

One good exercise is the sit, stay, come when called exercise.  This exercise can begin with the owner walking the dog, then stopping and asking the dog to sit.  After the dog is sitting quietly, the owner backs away and asks the dog to stay.  Ideally the dog should continue to stay until called by the owner, even if the lead is dropped.  At the end of the exercise, the owner calls the dog.  When the dog comes to the owner, it receives food and praise from the owner.  This exercise should be repeated several times, until the dog is reliably coming when called.

It is important to keep the training sessions short, especially in the beginning, to keep the dog from becoming bored and from consuming its entire meal in the form of treats.  After the dog has been responding regularly, the treats and food rewards can be slowly reduced.  It is important to still provide these food rewards, but it may no longer be necessary to provide as many.  After awhile, as well, it will not be necessary to give the dog treats every single time he responds as requested.  In general, it should only be necessary for the dog to receive a food treat one out of every five times he comes on demand.  The other four successes can be rewarded with praise and scratches.

Once the dog understands the basics of the “come here” exercise, the basic exercise can be expanded and many games can be created.  These types of games can be great fun for owner and dog alike, as well as a great learning experience.  Some off lead work can be introduced as well, but it is always best to start with the dog in a safe environment, such as a fenced back garden.  For variety, you can try taking the dog to other safe environments, such as a friend’s house, a neighbours fenced garden or a local dog park.  Try turning the dog loose in these safe places and practice the come when called exercise.  Always praise the dog extensively, scratch him behind the ears and tell him what a good dog he is.  The goal should be to make coming to the owner a more pleasant experience than whatever the dog was doing before he was called.

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Dog training basics – preventing unwanted urination

Problems with inappropriate urination are some of the most commonly encountered by dog owners.  As a matter of fact, inappropriate urination and defecation is the most frequently cited reason that owners surrender their animals to shelters.

Before you can address problems with inappropriate urination, it is important to understand the basis of the problem.   There are several reasons why dogs lose control of their bladders and it is important to know the root cause of the problem before it can be properly addressed.

Problem Number1 – Excitement Urination

Dogs often urinate when they become overly excited and dogs that are otherwise perfectly housebroken sometimes show their excitement by dribbling urine when greeting you excitedly.  It is normal for some dogs to urinate when they get excited and this can be a particular problem for many older dogs.

A lot of excitement induced urination occurs in young puppies and it is caused by a lack of bladder control.  The puppy may not even know he is urinating and punishment will simply confuse him.  Becoming angry with the puppy will quickly cause excitement urination to morph into submissive urination, thus compounding the problem.  As the puppy gets older and develops better bladder control, this type of excitement urination should disappear.

The best cure for excitement urination is prevention.  Preventing your dog from becoming over excited is the best way to control this problem behavior.  If your dog is excited by a particular stimulus or situation, it is important to repeatedly expose him to that situation until it no longer causes excessive excitement.

Problem Number 2 – Submissive Urination

Submissive urination is a natural part of pack behavior among animals like dogs and wolves.  The submissive member of the pack shows his or her submissiveness by lowering itself and urinating.  Since dogs are pack animals, they may show their submissiveness to their owner, who they regard as the pack leader, by exhibiting this submissive urination.

Dogs who exhibit submissive urination are usually showing their insecurity.  Unsociaized and previously abused dogs often exhibit submissive urination.  These dogs need to be shown that there are more appropriate ways to express their submissive status, such as shaking hands or licking the owner’s hand.

The best way to deal with submissive urination problems is often to ignore the urination.  Trying to reassure the dog can give the mistaken impression that you approve of the behavior, while scolding the dog can make the submissive urination worse.

Correcting problems with submissive urination should be directed at building the dog’s confidence and teaching him other ways to show his respect.  Teaching the dog to lift his paw, sit on command, or similar obedience commands, is a great way to direct the dog’s respect in a more appropriate direction.

Problems with urination are not always easy to deal with, but it is important to be consistent and to always reward acceptable behavior on the part of the dog.  When urination problems do occur, it is always a good idea to first rule out any medical conditions that could be causing those problems.  Medical issues like bladder infections can be the root cause of problems with unwanted urination.

After any medical problems have been ruled out, it is important to determine what is causing the problem, and treat it appropriately.  While it can be tempting to punish the dog for inappropriate elimination, doing so will only confuse and further intimidate him.

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Dog training – dealing with house training issues

The best house training uses the dogs own instincts to avoid soiling its bed to train the dog where and where not to eliminate.  That is the basis behind crate training, in which the dog is confined to its crate in the absence of the owner and den training, in which the dog is confined to a small area of the home.  In essence, the crate, or the room, becomes the dog’s den.  Dogs are naturally very clean animals and they try their best to avoid using their dens as toilets.


This type of training usually works very well, both for puppies and for older dogs.  Problems with this type of toilet training are usually the result of not understanding the signals the dog is sending, not being consistent with feeding times, or trying to rush the process.


While the house training process can be sped up somewhat by consistently praising the dog and rewarding it for toileting in the proper place, some dogs cannot be rushed through this important process.  It is always best to house train the dog properly the first time than to go back and retrain a problem dog.


If the dog continues to soil the den area after house training, the most likely reason is that the owner has left the dog in the den for too long.  Another reason may be that the den area is too large.  In this case, the best strategy is to make the den area smaller or to take the dog to the toilet area more frequently.


If the dog soils the bed that has been provided in the den area, it is most likely because the owner has left the dog there for too long and the dog had an understandable accident.  Or it could be that the dog has not yet adopted this area as the bed.  In addition, urinary tract infections and other medical conditions can also cause dogs to soil their beds.  It is important to have the dog thoroughly checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any medical problems.


One other reason for house training accidents that many people overlook is boredom.  Dogs who are bored often drink large amounts of water and therefore must urinate more frequently than you might think.  If you notice your dog consuming large amounts of water, be sure to take the dog to the established toilet area more often and provide the dog with toys and other distractions to eliminate boredom.


Boredom is the root cause of many dog behavior problems, not only house training issues.  Chewing and other destructive behaviors are also often caused by boredom and separation anxiety.


Other problems with house training can occur when the dog’s den is not properly introduced.  In some cases dogs can react to the den as if it is a prison or a punishment.  Those dogs may exhibit signs of anxiety, such as whining, chewing and excessive barking.  It is important for the dog to feel secure in its den and to think of it as a home and not a cage.


The best way to house train a puppy or dog, or to re-house train a problem dog, is to make yourself aware of the dog’s habits and needs.  Creating a healthy, safe sleeping and play area for your dog, as well as a well defined toilet area, is important for any house training program.


House training is not always an easy process, but it is certainly an important one.  The number one reason that dogs are surrendered to animal shelters is problems with inappropriate elimination, so a well structured house training program can literally be a lifesaver for your dog.



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Dog training – house training your dog

House training is one of the most important parts of training any dog to be a valued part of the family.  As with many other aspects of dog training, the best way to house train a dog is to use the dog’s own nature to your benefit.

The great thing about dogs and the thing that can make house training much easier is that dogs are instinctively very clean animals.  Dogs would rather not soil the areas where they sleep and eat.  In addition, dogs are very good at developing habits regarding where they like to urinate and defecate.  For example, dogs that are used to eliminating on concrete or gravel will prefer to eliminate there rather than on grass or dirt.  It is possible to use these natural canine habits when house training your dog.

Setting up the training area

 The first step in house training your dog is to set up your training area.  A small, confined space such as a bathroom, or part of a kitchen or garage, works best as a training area.  This method of training differs from crate training.  Crate training is great for puppies and small dogs, but many larger dogs find a crate too confining.

 It is important for the owner to spend as much time in the training area with his or her dog as possible.  It is important for the owner to play with the dog in the training area, and to let the dog eat and sleep in that area.  The dog should be provided with a special bed in the training area, anything from a store bought bed to a large towel to a large box.  At first, the dog may eliminate in this area, but once the dog has recognized it as his or her own space, he or she will be reluctant to soil it.

After the dog has gotten used to sleeping in the bed, the owner can move it around the house, relocating it from room to room.  When you are not with your dog, the dog should be confined to the training area.

Setting up the toilet area

The second part of house training is to set up the toilet area for the dog.  It is important for the dog to have access to this place every time he or she needs to eliminate.  It is also important for the owner to accompany the dog each time until he or she gets into the habit of eliminating in the toilet area.  This will ensure that the dog uses only the established toilet area.

A set feeding schedule makes the house training process a lot easier for both the owner and the dog.  Feeding the dog on a regular basis will also create a regular schedule for the dog’s toilet habits.  Once you know when your dog is likely to need to eliminate, it will be simple to guide the dog to the established toilet area.

Once the dog has established a toilet area and is using it on a regular basis, it is very important to not confine the dog without access to the toilet area for long periods of time.  That is because if the dog is unable to hold it, he or she may be forced to eliminate in the training area.  This habit can make house training much more difficult.

Continuing the house training process

After the dog is consistently eliminating in the toilet area and not soiling the training area, it is time to extend that training area to the rest of the home.  This process should be done slowly, starting with one room and slowly expanding to the rest of the house.  The area should only be extended once you are sure of the dog’s ability to control its bladder and bowels.

When you first expand the training area to a single room, let the dog eat, play and sleep in that room, but only when supervised.  When it is not possible to supervise the dog, place it back in the original training area.  Then, after the dog has accepted the room as an extension of the original training area, the area can be extended.

Speeding up the process

If this process is too lengthy for your needs, it can be speeded up, but it is important to proceed cautiously.  It is easier to take your time up front than to retrain a problem dog later.  One way to successfully speed up house training is to praise and reward the dog each and every time it uses the established toilet area.  It is also important not to punish the dog for mistakes.  Punishment will only confuse the dog and slow down the house training process.


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Dog training with a training collar or choke collar

The basic dog training collar goes by many names, including choke collar, choke chain, training collar, correction collar and slip collar.  These training collars are among the most popular and most commonly used tools with both amateur and professional dog trainers. 

While a training collar is an effective tool, like any tool it must be used properly in order to be effective for you and safe for the dog.  Among the most important considerations when using a training collar are:

  • How the collar fits the dog. It is essential that the training collar be properly fitted to the dog.  A properly fitted training collar is easier to use and safer for the dog.
  • Putting the training collar on properly.  There is a right way and a wrong way to fit a training collar, and putting it on wrong will make it both ineffective and potentially dangerous.
  • Using the collar properly.  A training collar should be used as a sharp reminder to the dog, not as punishment.  It is important that constant pressure be avoided when using a training collar.
  • The weight of the chain and the size of the links on the training collar.  It is important that the weight of the chain be appropriate to the size and weight of the dog.
  • The placement of the collar on the dog.  It is important to properly place the collar on the dog.

The importance of a properly fitted training collar

Determining if the training collar is the right size is relatively easy.  The ideal size training collar should fit snugly, yet comfortably over the dog’s head.  It is important that the training collar not fit too tightly, but it should not be too loose either.  A training collar that is too tight will be too hard to put on and off.  On the other hand, a training collar that is too loose can accidentally fall off of the dog’s head when it lowers its head.

It is also important to know that a training collar that is too long for the dog requires a great deal of finesse to use properly.  A collar that is too long can still be used, but it will require more skill on the part of the handler.

Properly sizing and measure the dog for a training collar

It is best to measure the dog’s neck with a tape measure, and then add 2 to 3 inches to that measurement.  So if your dog has a neck 12” in diameter, you would want to buy a training collar that is 14” in length.  Chain slip collars are generally sized in two inch increments.

Fitting the collar properly

When fitting a training collar, the part of the chain which is connected to the leash should be on the top of the dog’s neck.  With this type of arrangement, the collar releases the instant the leash is loosened.  Training collars work by making the collar tight and loose in a fast manner.  Tightening the collar is the first part of the correction, and making it loose is the second part of the correction.

If the part of the training collar that is attached to the leash is not on the top of the dog’s neck, the collar can still be made tight, but it will not release back to a loose state easily.  This constant pressure on the dog’s neck initiates a counter response on the part of the animal and the dog will quickly learn to pull and strain against the leash.

Finally, it is important to purchase a training collar that is well made and strong.  Buying a high quality training collar, slip collar or choke collar is vital to the safety of yourself and your dog. 

If the worst happens and your dog’s training collar does break, it is important not to panic.  Most dogs will be unaware that they have broken the collar, at least for a few minutes.  In most cases, if you act as if the leash is still connected, you can probably get control of your dog back quickly.

When securing a loose dog, the best strategy is to make a quick slip lead by running the snap on the leash through its handle and then slipping it over the dog’s head.  It may not be the best arrangement, but it will certainly do in a pinch.

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Training your dog the reward training way

Reward training is often seen as the most modern method of training a dog, but reward training is probably much older than other methods of dog training.  It is possible that reward training for dogs has been around as long as there have been dogs to train.  Early humans probably used some informal kind of reward training when taming the wolf pups that eventually evolved into modern dogs.

Many principles of modern reward training date back many decades.  However, what is called reward training today has only enjoyed is remarkable popularity for the past 10 or 15 years. 

Many reward training enthusiasts are less enthusiastic about other methods of dog training, such as the traditional leash and collar method.  However, the best approach to training any individual dog is often a combination of leash/collar training and reward training.

In addition, a training method that works perfectly for one dog may be totally inappropriate for another, and vice versa.  Some dogs respond wonderfully to reward training and not at all to leash and collar training, while others respond to leash/collar training and are not at all motivated by reward training.  Most dogs fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

Clicker training is one of the most popular forms of reward training these days.  While clicker training is not the answer for every dog, it can be a remarkably effective method of training many dogs.  In clicker training, the dog is taught to associate a clicking sound with a reward, like a treat.  The trainer clicks the clicker when the dog does something good, followed immediately by a treat.  Eventually, the dog learns to respond to the clicker alone.

Most reward training uses some sort of food reward, or a reward that is associated with getting food.  In most cases, complex behaviors can only be taught using this kind of positive reinforcement, and you will find that the people who train dogs for movies and television use reward training almost exclusively.

Reward training is used in all forms of dog training, including police work and military applications.  Most scent detection, tracking and police dogs are trained using some form of reward training.  Reward training is also a very effective way to teach many basic obedience commands. 

Reward training often incorporates the use of a lure in order to get the dog into the position desired by the trainer.  The lure is used to get the dog to perform the desired behavior on his or her own and of his or her own free will.

It makes a great deal of sense to get the dog to perform the desired behavior without any physical intervention on the part of the handler.  Getting the dog to perform a behaviour without being touched is important.

After the dog has performed the desired behaviour, it is given a reward, also called a positive reinforcement.  Treats are often used as reinforcers, but praise, such as “good dog” or a pat on the head, can also be effective rewards.

Making a dog that has been reward trained a reliable dog is important, especially when the dog has an important job, like police work or drug detection, to do.  For that reason it is important to get the dog accustomed to working around distractions, and to properly socialize the animal to both people and other animals.

Many dog trainers make the mistake of only training the dog inside the house or back yard, and only when the handler is there.  In order to become a reliably trained companion, the dog must be taken outside the confines of its safety zone and introduced to novel situations.

It is also important to teach the dog to pay attention to the handler at all times.  Having the attention of the dog means having control of the dog.  Reward training is very effective at getting the respect and the attention of the dog when used properly.

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Puppy Training

Training your new puppy the right way

Puppy training is very important, whether you are training your first puppy or your tenth.  Properly training and socializing a puppy is vital to making it a valued member of your family and your community.

In some ways training a puppy is easier than training an adult or adolescent dog.  One reason is that the puppy is essentially a “blank canvas”, untroubled by past training techniques and other issues.  However, the puppy can be far more difficult to train than an older dog.

One challenge to training a new puppy is that puppies are more easily distractible than adolescent and adult dogs.  Everything is new to a puppy and every new experience provides a new chance for distraction.  For this reason, it is best to keep training sessions short when working with a puppy and to end each training sessions on a positive note.

It is also important to allow the puppy plenty of time to play and to interact with other puppies and dogs.  Socialization training is vital to making your new puppy a good dog citizen, as canine aggression is a growing problem in many areas.  A properly socialized dog learns how to play properly with other dogs and overly aggressive play is punished by the other dogs in the play group.

This type of play learning is something that happens among siblings in litters of puppies.  As the puppies play with each other, they learn what is appropriate and what is not.  Inappropriate behavior, such as hard biting or scratching, is punished by the other puppies, by the mother dog, or both.

Unfortunately, many puppies are removed from their mothers and sold or adopted before this socialization has fully occurred.  Therefore, puppy play sessions are a very important part of any puppy training session.  Most good puppy preschool training programs provide time in each session for this type of dog interaction.

Introducing your puppy to new experiences and new locations is also an important part of puppy training.  Teaching your dog to be obedient and responsive, even in the face of many distractions, is very important when training dogs and puppies. 

One great way to socialize your puppy both to new people and new dogs is to take it on a trip to your local pet shop.   Many major pet store chains and some independent ones as well, allow pet parents to bring their furry children and these stores can be great places for puppies to get used to new sights, sounds and smells.  Of course you will want to make sure the store allows pets before heading over.

It is important for puppy owners to structure their pet’s environment so that the puppy is rewarded for good behaviors and not rewarded for others.  One good example of this is jumping on people.  Many people inadvertently reward this behavior because it can be cute.  While it is true that jumping can be cute for a 10 pound puppy, it will not be so cute when that puppy has grown into a 100 pound dog.

Instead of rewarding the puppy for jumping, try rewarding it for sitting instead.  This type of positive reinforcement will result in a well behaved adult dog that is a valued member of both the family and the community at large.

This type of reinforcement can also be used in potty training the new puppy.  For instance, teaching a puppy to use a unique surface such as gravel or asphalt is a good technique.  The theory is that the puppy will associate this surface with going potty and therefore be reluctant to use other surfaces (like your kitchen floor of sitting room carpet for instance) as a potty.