Saturday, June 4, 2011

31 Days to a Better Dog” - a training makeover for your dog - Part 2

Note from CP blogger This is the second half of the post on training a puppy or having a training makeover.

17.Use feeding times to train the sit and wait commands. Ask your puppy to sit before you place his food bowl down, and ask him to wait before you allow him to walk over to the bowl to begin eating.

18.Choose a marker signal. A marker can be a sound, like the one a clicker makes, or a word such as Yes! Pair this signal with a treat, toy, or other reward. Eventually when you phase out the reward item, the dog will understand that the marker signal means he did something right.

19.Start teaching your puppy to walk on leash right away-without the leash! Practice in your backyard off-leash by keeping some treats in your hand by your leg, and rewarding your puppy for walking close to you. Gradually work up to hiding the treats and rewarding your puppy for voluntarily following you closely.

20.Get your children involved with tricks training. Tricks are fun and low stress since they are not among the critical skills a dog needs to know.

21.Socialization Tip: Visit local parks where you know children will be. Even if you have children, the more children your puppy is exposed to, the better. Find parks with a variety of people, sights, and sounds for your puppy to get used to.

22.Make sure everyone is aware of attention-seeking behaviors, such as whining, jumping up, barking, pawing, licking, nudging, pushing, and even stealing. Your whole family, particularly children, should be aware of these behaviors and know to ignore them.

23.Are there toddlers in the home? Teach your puppy to do a down-stay whenever your toddler is in a high chair. You can even teach your toddler to give the hand signal for down or sit and toss the puppy a treat.

24.Teach your puppy to target your hand and teach this to your children as well-this way the dog learns that when he greets people, he is positioning his head by their hands, rather than by their heads.

25.Socialization Tip: Choose puppy classes over dog parks. You don't have control over the kinds of dogs at a dog park, and young puppies might find the activity overwhelming. Another alternative is to find friends who have dogs with good temperaments and arrange play dates.

26.Encourage your puppy to learn to settle. If there is nap time in your household for the children, it should be nap time for the dog as well. Offer the puppy a food-stuffed toy or a chew in the crate or on a dog bed. This reinforces calm, quiet behavior.

27.Housetraining troubles? Make sure you are monitoring your puppy's intake of food and water, and exercise schedule. Most puppies eliminate right after they eat, play, and wake up.

28.Is your puppy getting enough exercise? Every puppy has different needs so research the energy levels of your dog's breed or breed mix. In addition to walking, exercise may include throwing a toy in the backyard and teaching fetch.

29.Cement the "recall" or come command through games. Play "round-robin recalls" by having different members of the family call your puppy and as the puppy comes to them and is rewarded, have the next person call, and so on. You can also play "hide and seek" in your house or yard and reward your dog for finding you.

30.Once your dog is doing well with practicing behaviors like sit, stay, and down, take him outside in areas with more distractions to practice these skills. This will help to "proof" these behaviors.

31.Good job! Treat yourself and your puppy by having fun time to build your relationship-go on a hike, play fetch in a park, or visit the pet store to get a new toy and a social visit.

For more training tips,check out the public education section of the AKC website and the AKC's Canine Good Citizen® program website,

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