General obedience training is the core to developing a sound and healthy bond between you and your pet. As simple as it sounds, the basic “sit, stay, and come” commands are essential. Training should start as soon as you get your puppy. Even though they have short attention spans, puppies start learning as soon as they are born.
Use methods that rely on positive reinforcement for desired behaviour. Training sessions should be short, daily, and should be reinforced constantly, using food treats or attention as rewards. Start in quieter times with as few distractions as possible. Small pieces of food, used when the puppy is hungry, can prompt the desired action by showing the puppy the reward. Give the command while physically moving the puppy into the appropriate position, then give the reward. By combining the one word command with each action and giving the reward immediately for responding appropriately, the puppy will soon learn the meaning of each command. The command should only be given once, otherwise the puppy will learn that it does not need to respond immediately. Keeping a leash on during training sessions is quite beneficial to help keep the puppy’s attention during the session.
These same tasks should be used throughout the day, with everyone in the house participating in every room of the house. Get the puppy to practice throughout the daily routine – sit before feeding, letting in and out of the house, before petting. At this time, the puppy is more likely to want something and will respond quickly to the training.
Training classes are excellent ways to socialize and enforce basic commands, as well as introducing a variety of new people and other animals in a controlled environment. Please contact the clinic to discuss classes available for your puppy.