The nuts and bolts of training a dog

The nuts and bolts of training a dog

The nuts and bolts of training a dog

There is no one in particular who hates dogs. Having a dog gives you a sense of belonging and leads to nurturing of affectionate bods in your family. Seeing your dog after a stressful day at work can be so much fun! And when it comes to having a dog, an inseparable part of it is training him/ her. Here are basics of dog training to help you begin teaching your dog.

The right time to start training
Puppies can be receptive of training when they are about 7-8 weeks of age. You can start to train your puppy as soon as you bring it home. See to it that you give them simple commands as their attention span is very less. A simple command like “sit’, or stay can be tried in the initial stages of training. This time is an excellent opportunity to let your puppy make friends with people and to socialize. Positive reinforcement and gentle teaching should be the key components in the initial teaching period. Training sessions should be brief but should occur daily. Puppies can be taught to “sit,” “down,” and “stand” using a method called food-lure training. Food-treats can be used to entice the dog to follow its nose into the proper positions for “sit,” “down,” “stand,” and “stay”.

The formal training to teach the dog how to behave should begin at around when it is six months of age. At a tender age, puppy are fearful and trying to learn their basic instincts like eating. Also, some habits learned during the puppyhood must be changed. Thus formal training should begin only later.

Positive reinforcement
An appealing reward can be used to reinforce the desired behavior in the puppy. Small pieces of food or toys can motivate your puppy to do certain tasks. For example, food held up over the puppy’s nose and moved slowly backward should get a ‘sit’ response; food drawn down to the floor should get a ‘down’ response; food brought back up should get a ‘stand’ response; food held out at a distance should get a ‘come’ response; and food held at your thigh as you walk should get the puppy to ‘heel or ‘follow’. By pairing a command phrase or word with each action, and giving the reward for each appropriate response, the puppy should soon learn the meaning of each command.

Giving commands
Giving commands can be as frequent as you want. Make sure that it is followed by some reward, either food or a loving pat and praise. Early in training, your puppy does not know the meaning of the words like sit, satay etc. You could just as easily teach your puppy to sit or sit in any other language as you could with the word sit. The key is to associate the word, in this case, “sit,” with the action of placing the hind end on the floor.

Phase out the luring
To begin with, you show the food to your puppy and let him follow your instructions and guide it to the desired position. As your puppy listens you can hide the food in your hand. You can allow the puppy to follow your lead by showing the signals which it has learned. Soon the puppy will come to expect the treat each time she performs the task. Then, signal and give the command, but when she performs the task, reward only with praise and give the puppy an affectionate pat. Later start increasing the frequency of giving praise. You can include praise like saying good boy/girl and patting occasionally. The puppy will start responding gradually to commands and hand signals. In this way, affection can be used to inculcate the desired behavior. It acts as reinforcement secondary to food.

Time spent on training
You may not train your puppy in a set session daily. Rather, you can spread these tasks throughout the day. Try training for at least 15 minutes a day and you are good to go. These can be short 5 minute sessions spread throughout the day. It would be great is all family members pitch in for training. Try to train in every room of your house. You want your puppy to “sit,” “lie down,” and “stay” everywhere, not just in the training location. Practicing in all locations will make your puppy behave and feel comfortable and relaxed in the future.
You can start socializing your puppy when it is around 7 weeks of age. Seven to 14 weeks is considered ideal when puppies naturally can accept new people, other species and introduction to new situations. During his period multiple positive memories and new acquaintances can be made that last a lifetime. Puppies are eager, exploratory and uninhibited during this period and it is important to take advantage of this enthusiasm. But take care to protect your puppy during this time span and see to it that all experiences are positive, fun and not fear to evoke.

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