byguest blogger Dr. Susan Wright, DMV
Dog owners want their dog to be obedient, and listen and respond appropriately when they are commanded to. However, the result of an obedient dog requires a lot of time and attention in training your pup to follow your lead. The best-case scenario to obtain an obedient dog is to train your dog at the ideal time. There are certain periods of a dog’s life where it is easier to mold than others, and this is when the dog is still a young puppy. While any dog can be trained and habits can be broken, it is most ideal to have these lessened learned while the dog is still young.
So when is the best time to begin obedience training? Typically, the best period to start training your dog is between 7 and 16 weeks of age. This age is ideal because the puppy has had the adequate time to grow, develop and be nurtured by his mother and learn imperative dog socialization from his littermates. When you first adopt a puppy, your dog begins to interact and live with people. This is also when your dog will learn habits that may stick with him through adulthood. Make sure you are clear on your stance about basic behavior patterns that you will accept and not tolerate, like biting, chewing aggressiveness etc.
Keep Training Brief & At Home
As your dog is still young and susceptible to some diseases it is best to keep the obedience training at home alone and begin with simple commands. Work with your dog to understand how to sit, stay, lay down and come. Since your dog will be young and have a short attention span it is important to keep the training sessions brief and condensed, but repeat them often daily. Start out with five minute training sessions, repeated five to seven times a day. You may find it is best to work on one command at a time, and introduce others one at a time as your dog becomes proficient in leaning the skill.
Stay Positive & Creative
The best method to teach your dog is using positive learning, or positive reinforcement. Reward your dog for doing what you want him to do, verses scolding him when he does not. Dogs naturally want to delight their alpha dog, which is you, so when they receive love, attention and praise they will want to repeat the behavior to receive more of the good attention. When you are training your dog, incorporate lessons throughout the day with different activities to help teach your dog how they will use the skill and to make training fun. For example, ask your dog to sit and stay while you go grab his food to feed him. This will help your dog practice the commands and control – especially when he really wants to eat!
Once your dog has some age, you might consider professional training to reinforce what you have already taught your dog. You of course may also continue training your dog at home and introduce your own distractions. It is also important to keep your dog involved in socializing with other animals, either through playtime with a neighbor dog or visits to a local dog park. Most importantly understand that obedience training is a life-long commitment to your dog.
Dr. Susan Wright DMV is a veterinarian with more than a decade of experience. Susan is a writer and serves as a dog bark collar expert. Dr. Wright and her staff share their love of dogs both professionally and personally by writing informational and entertaining pieces on the proper care of domestic animals.
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