Is Your Puppy Training Plan Missing These 4 Key Elements?

Is Your Puppy Training Plan Missing These 4 Key Elements?

When it comes to raising a well-behaved and happy puppy, understanding the nuances between training and behavior is paramount. Mastering the application of these two concepts can be the key to fostering a harmonious relationship with your pup. In this article, we’ll dive into the four essential elements that could be missing from your puppy training plan.

1. Differentiating Training and Behavior: The Foundation of Success

Before diving into the specifics, let’s revisit the core principle of distinguishing between training and behavior. Knowing when and how to employ these approaches forms the foundation of effective puppy parenting. 

Behavior 

Giving structure and setting clear boundaries provide calmness and self-control to your dog. It also builds up trust. Provides clarity on what’s acceptable behavior and what isn’t. Boundaries has nothing to do with punishment, dominance or being the alpha. It has to do with clear guidance. Boundaries is not about punishing for bad behavior is about not letting unwanted behavior to happen. 

Obedience/Training.

Working on obedience with positive reinforcement and games provides excitement and fun. It builds performance and it teaches commands or cues like: come, sit, stay, go to your place, drop it etc

Both are important, and you should always aim to have a good balance of both.

The first one, structure and clear boundaries, it’s what takes care of most behavioral issues. The second one obedience and training, teaches dogs commands, cues, and tricks.

2. Socialization: Building Strong Foundations

  • a. Socializing with People: Exposing your puppy to various individuals in different settings is crucial. Encourage interactions with men, women, and children to help them become comfortable and well-adjusted in diverse environments.
  • b. Socializing with Other Dogs: Puppies, having been separated from their littermates, naturally thrive on playtime with fellow canines. This interaction not only provides exercise but also imparts essential social skills, boundaries, and bite inhibition. It replicates the lessons learned in the canine community and contributes to a well-rounded, socially adept puppy.

Moreover, your role as the new parent involves providing structure and guidance, mimicking the role of the mother and adult dogs. Boundaries, structure, and playtime are integral aspects of effective puppy parenting.

3. Teaching Independence: Preventing Separation Anxiety

Dogs, inherently social beings, may struggle with solitude. To avert potential separation anxiety issues, it is imperative to teach your puppy to be comfortable when left alone. Failure to do so could result in incessant barking, whining, destructive behavior, and even inappropriate elimination. As a responsible dog owner, perfecting the art of leaving your puppy alone is crucial for their well-being.

4. Recall Training: The Key For Freedom!

Imprinting the “Come When Called” cue, also known as Recall Training, is a pivotal aspect of your puppy’s education. Puppyhood provides a unique window of opportunity to instill this command, offering a lifetime of benefits. Similar to how humans grasp languages more efficiently in their formative years, puppies absorb cues like “come when called” more readily during their early stages. Seizing this critical period allows you to establish a strong bond with your puppy and ensures a reliable recall throughout their life.

A well-rounded puppy training plan encompasses differentiating between training and behavior, socialization, teaching independence, and imprinting crucial commands like “come when called.” By integrating these elements into your approach, you set the stage for a fulfilling and positive relationship with your puppy, laying the groundwork for a well-behaved and joyful companion.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved Nov 2023

New Baby, Old Paws: Tips for a Successful Introduction”

New Baby, Old Paws: Tips for a Successful Introduction”

Question:

How can we assist Ralph, our beloved Beagle, in becoming more at ease with other people entering our apartment, particularly our dog walker? Despite being generally wonderful with our baby—leaving her in peace and occasionally giving her a gentle face lick upon our return—he tends to go into a frenzy, barking, jumping, and even snapping when someone else enters our home.

Answer:

This is a question that frequently comes my way, and it’s essential to approach it from a perspective aimed at achieving positive results. Instead of focusing solely on techniques, let’s explore this situation in more detail and uncover comprehensive strategies to ensure a harmonious household for both Ralph and your baby.

Understanding Ralph’s Behavior

To address Ralph’s  behavior, we need to start by understanding why he reacts the way he does. His response might be rooted in fear, insecurity, excessive excitement, anxiety, a sense of responsibility for the household, the role of a parent, or being the decision maker. In Ralph”s case, I have firsthand knowledge, and he’s exhibiting protective behavior towards the household, its occupants, and, most importantly, the baby.

The key question to ask is: Who holds the responsibility for the household’s well-being? Who assumes the role of a parent, deciding who’s welcome and who’s not? Is it you, or has Ralph taken on this role as the decision maker? If your answer leans towards Ralph, that’s the root of the problem. He’s merely fulfilling what he perceives as his duty, which can be problematic. The solution is to assert your role as the one responsible for making these decisions. Once you establish this, Ralph will naturally ease his protective stance.

Building a Strong Foundation

This question explores the dynamics of your relationship with Ralph. You need to position yourself as the one responsible for the household’s well-being, the parent in the household. Gaining Ralph”s trust and respect is the first step to guide his behavior effectively.

Effective Techniques for Behavioral Training

While understanding the foundation is vital, implementing practical techniques for behavioral training is equally crucial. The first step is teaching your dog to maintain distance from the door and remain calm when a guest arrives. You can do this through methods such as redirection and desensitization. These techniques will help your dog to learn appropriate behavior and reduce his anxiety.

Ongoing Support and Guidance

You may be wondering, “How do I establish this foundation and implement these techniques effectively?” 

By addressing the root causes of Ralph”s behavior and employing effective behavioral training techniques, you can ensure a safe and harmonious household for both your baby and your furry friend. Establishing yourself as the responsible party for the household’s well-being will lead to a happier and more comfortable environment for everyone involved.”

Stay tuned, as I’ll explore this topic further in future posts, providing ongoing support and guidance on building a strong, harmonious bond with your beloved Ralph.

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved Nov 2023

 

Cracking The “Come When Called” Code: Your Dog’s Best-Kept Secret”

Cracking The “Come When Called” Code: Your Dog’s Best-Kept Secret”

“Come when called,” commonly known as recall training, is arguably the most critical cue for any dog owner to perfect. While it may seem straightforward, there are numerous nuances to consider, and overlooking them can jeopardize your results. However, there’s a hidden secret that can make all the difference in your recall training journey.

Factors such as avoiding the use of food lures, gradually phasing out treats, mastering your body language, comprehending reinforcement, success rates, and introducing distance and distractions are all essential components of recall training. But there’s one element, often underestimated, that can have a lasting impact on your dog’s recall. On the flip side, if you get it right, recall training becomes a breeze. So, what is this elusive secret, and how can you unlock its potential?

To uncover this hidden gem, we first need to acknowledge that there are five crucial stages of recall training. Among them, the initial stage is the simplest yet most vital: “CLARITY.”

Let’s deep into the concept of clarity and understand why this stage, and the correct sequence of events, is of vital importance. As Winston Churchill once said, “Luck is in the taking care of the important details.”

The first stage, “CLARITY,” centers around making the command or cue “come” absolutely clear in your pup’s mind, and ensuring it works like a well-oiled machine.

This means that when you say “come,” your dog should respond fast and automatically. This process is known as “conditioning” or, for those interested in the finer details, “classical conditioning.” Why is this so crucial? Because this is what imparts the true meaning of “come” to your dog. You are conditioning your dog to have an automatic, immediate response to the word “come.” It’s not a thought process; it happens automatically and is rewarded. Understanding this concept is essential.

Let’s illustrate how classical conditioning works with a simple example: think of a dog, a bell, and hidden food. You ring the bell and then present and provide food. Crucially, there should be a delay between the bell sound and food delivery. If you repeat this process enough times, something fascinating occurs. When you ring the bell without offering any food, the dog starts salivating. Essentially, the value of the food becomes associated with the bell.

The bell alone, without food, now triggers salivation. It’s essential to know that salivating is an automatic response, not a conscious decision. In other words, the dog doesn’t choose to salivate; it occurs automatically through association. This process is known as conditioning, more specifically, “classical conditioning.”

Understanding the difference between triggering a response (classical conditioning) and reinforcing a response that already occurred with food (operant conditioning) is crucial for establishing clarity from the beginning.

Why is this understanding important? Because reinforcement (operant conditioning) rewards a behavior that has already happened, while an automatic conditioned response (classical conditioning) initiates the behavior. These are two entirely different processes, each serving a distinct purpose over time. This is a point that many people often overlook or misunderstand.

But let’s get practical, as promised. Here’s how to create that automatic conditioned response and discover the hidden gem. Pay close attention:

Important Tip: In Stage 1, your dog should be excited and a little riled up. Without excitement, you won’t achieve the speed you need in your recall training.

Stage 1: CLARITY! Your goal in this stage is to ensure that the command or cue “come” is crystal clear in your pup’s mind and that it works.

To establish this clarity and a strong conditioning foundation from the outset, conduct your training indoors, free from distractions and at a close distance. Why? Because distractions and distance can interfere with the meaning and imprinting of the word “come.” In this initial conditioning phase, you’re imprinting a swift response in your dog when you say the word “come.”

Step 1: Begin by grabbing a treat (or your dog’s most high-value reward) and stand very close in front of your pup. Get your dog’s attention with the treat, but do not use it as a lure. Simply show the treat to your dog.

Step 2: Say “come” and pause for half a second. Then move away quickly and backwards, facing your dog. Be cautious not to trip over any obstacles behind you.

Step 3: When your dog comes to you, deliver the reward as close to your body as possible. Do not ask your dog to sit or wait. Just provide the reward. You are teaching one thing: “come,” and that’s it. Introducing other commands or cues at this stage can hinder clarity and the conditioning process. This is particularly true at the beginning when you’re teaching your dog what the word “come” means.

Step 4: Repeat this process 3 to 5 times. Then take a break for 30 seconds, or wait until your dog becomes distracted with something else. Afterward, say the word “come” again. If your dog responds by coming to you, you have successfully taught your dog the meaning of “come,” and the conditioning is working. If your dog doesn’t come to you, wait for a good hour, and repeat steps 1 to 3 until your dog grasps the meaning of “come.” Stick with Stage 1 until “come” truly means “come.” Do not exceed 5 to 6 repetitions of steps 1-3, and always stop when your dog is eager for more.

Remember, you are merely associating the word “come” with an action (coming to you) and rewarding it with a treat, ball, or favorite toy. This initial stage serves as the foundation for your recall training. Without a solid foundation, all your training efforts may crumble. So there you have it, the key to unlocking the perfect “come” command!

© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC |   All Rights Reserved Nov 2023