So you got a new puppy for Christmas... what's next? Well if you've got an adorable little pup running around your house right now there's definitely some new dog owner tips and tricks you'll want to be aware of. Even if this isn't your first puppy ever, things have likely changed a LOT since the last pup you raised. One of the biggest changes to the world of puppyhood being how you should train them. See back in the early 2000s, it was common practice to use harsh and fear inducing training methods. Since this was the most commonly recommended course of training, this is how the majority of the population raised their dogs. Thank goodness for all the incredible new training methods that have been discovered! The new ways are focused primarily on positive reinforcement training which is proven to be the most effective, least intrusive way to train your puppy.
Positive reinforcement training has been around for decades, but it hasn't become popular until the last ten years or so when it became more main stream. The reason for this mostly being that the popular televised versions of fear-based training had been being spread everywhere. Most people think that if someone on a tv show is giving you advise on your dog, that they are a good source to listen to, but this sadly has not been the case. Popular tv shows were showing harsh corrections, using pain to train, and how to get the "quick-fix" result without ever showing how these methods effect the dogs long term. What we now know is that using fear or pain to train a dog can actually cause serious negative long term effects like anxiety and aggression. These methods usually include using shock collars, choke chains, and prong collars.
When raising a pup it's completely normal behavior for them to be destructive, have accidents, and misbehave. Just like children, they have to be taught the right way to behave, it does not come naturally. As their owners, it's our responsibility to guide them through this early stage of their life and teach them right from wrong. The way we do this though, has huge effects of their overall demeanor and behavior. For instance, it was common practice to yell and shove your dogs nose in their own poo if they had an accident. But now we know that using fear and intimidation methods like this actually end up causing the dog to be more afraid of you. This results in them hiding their accidents from you making the potty training process so much harder than it needs to be.
Now just because it's normal for puppies to do these behaviors we don't like, does not mean we just let them happen. We just take a different approach to finding the solution now which has better more long lasting effects. We focus on solution, NOT the problem. We take the precautions to set up puppies up for success so that they are less likely to make the mistake in the first place. In the example of potty training for instance, we focus on making sure the dog is getting out on a regular basis, we make sure they're not left unattended, and we pay close attention to signs that they need to go out so that we can prevent the accident from happening in the first place. In a case of destruction, like say your pillows or couch, we set the puppy up to succeed by limiting their access to these items and closely supervising them when they are around things they're likely to chew.
When you start off on the right paw training your puppy, you'll see how your relationship grows and your bond strengthens. With positive reinforcement training you'll be one step ahead of every mistake so that you can combat the bad choices before they even occur. You'll also have the added benefits of never having to use painful metal prongs or electric shocks to control your dog's behavior. If you're looking to get started with puppy training that will improve your life and your dog's life, contact us today!