There is a normal, natural fear period that begins around 14 to 16 weeks. During this period, a puppy may become wary and suspicious of new people, species or experiences. This is a normal adaptive process. Watch your puppy closely for signs of fear (cowering, urinating, and refusal of food treats). Avoid pushing or overwhelming your puppy during this developmental stage.
After your dog has mastered the come command, it’s time to teach him how to sit. This command is, after all, a prerequisite for many others. To train your dog to sit, simply hold a treat above his head and slowly move it back. Most dogs respond to this gesture by automatically moving into the sitting position. As soon as your dog starts to sit, say the word “sit” and offer the treat as a reward. Repeating this task many times will help reinforce the command. This command is especially useful in instilling good manners. For example, an obedient dog who sits on command won’t jump on visitors.
I recently completed Andrea Arden’s Adult Basic class with my newly rescued Wheaten Terrier. Over the class my dog’s behavior improved immensely, as did my knowledge of how best to train her. Andrea Arden Training uses reward-based training and my dog LOVES it – she now will spontaneously do obedience moves in the hopes that I will give her a treat. Our class was quite small (just 3 dogs), so it was almost like having 1 on 1 training. It was very helpful to see the trainers demonstrate the techniques. Additionally, many of the Andrea Arden trainers have also rescued dogs, so they have a good understanding of the different training issues rescued dogs face. Two paws up!
Gun dog training can be particularly difficult, but this rapid training method by avid hunters and gun dog owners Wolters and Randolph has proven effective for over forty years, and has been a part of most current gun dog owners' libraries. Published over 50 years ago in 1961, this gun dog training book remains relevant today and offers some proven techniques and step-by-step instructions on training a gun dog using supplementary tools.
Begin teaching your dog good manners a few days after he’s had a chance to settle into the household. Keep your training lessons short—about 10 to 15 minutes at each session. You can repeat the session later on in the same day, but each one should be brief. Plan to engage in several training sessions a day because no puppy learns to do something perfectly in only one take.
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Punishment is operationally defined as an event that lowers the probability of the behavior that it follows. It is not "punishment" in the common sense of the word, and does not mean physical or psychological harm and most certainly does not mean abuse. Punishment simply involves the presentation of an undesired consequence (positive punishment) when the wrong behavior is performed, such as a snap of the leash, or the removal of a desired consequence (negative punishment) when the wrong behavior is performed, such as the trainer eating the cheese that would have been the reward. A behavior that has previously been developed may cease if reinforcement stops; this is called extinction. A dog that paws its owner for attention will eventually stop if it no longer receives attention.
The ideal time to begin toilet training a dog is when they are 3 to 4 months of age. Younger pups generally haven’t mastered bladder control before this time. Older dogs are more difficult to train but not impossible. Isolate the dog in a smaller area which could be a room, a spacious crate or placing them on a tether. The area can be enlarged as they begin to understand where they are to evacuate. Establish regular mealtimes while toilet training. Offer regular opportunities to go to the bathroom starting about fifteen minutes after the meal is eaten and then every 30 to 60 minutes throughout the day.
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Fetch is a command that is very useful for socialization, exercise and obedience. Throwing a safe object for a distance will give your dog some excellent running time to build his muscles and improve his overall health and fitness. An additional benefit of this game is that it will help you to form a special bond with your pet. Play is positive attention and it’s good for both you and your dog. Most dogs will respond quickly to this game. When he chases the item that you throw, tell him to bring it to you. When he does, give him praise and a reward. Gradually decrease the rewards as he gains more understanding of what is going on. For this game, you can use the “drop it” command, or if you prefer the word “release,” they both work out the same.
Pups between the ages of 9–12 weeks who were permitted to observe their narcotics-detecting mothers at work generally proved more capable at learning the same skills at six months of age than control puppies the same age who were not previously allowed to watch their mothers working. A 2001 study recorded the behaviour of dogs in detour tests, in which a favorite toy or food was placed behind a V-shaped fence. The demonstration of the detour by humans significantly improved the dogs' performance in the trials. The experiments showed that dogs are able to rely on information provided by human action when confronted with a new task. Significantly, they did not copy the exact path of the human demonstrator, but adopted the detour behavior shown by humans to reach their goal. A 1977 experiment by Adler and Adler found that puppies who watched other puppies learn to pull a food cart into their cages by an attached ribbon proved considerably faster at the task when later given the opportunity themselves. At 38 days of age, the demonstrator puppies took an average of 697 seconds to succeed, while the observers succeeded in an average of 9 seconds.
It’s a good idea to give him some small treats as rewards for training. You can use soft commercial food treats sized for puppies, pieces of string cheese, or small pieces of cut-up hot dog that he can swallow right away. Avoid hard, crunchy treats because they take a while to chew. Give treats to your puppy immediately—within half a second of him completing the desired behavior. The faster you confirm the behavior you want, the easier it is for your puppy to understand what you’re trying to teach him. When you give the reward, follow it up by saying “Good boy!”