Dogs and puppies respond, just like humans, to praise. You can literally shape your puppy’s or adult dog’s behavior by learning to talk nice to him. It sounds simple, but unfortunately most of us are not very good at this. We tend to totally ignore the good and then yell at the pups, or even our kids, when they do something wrong. This is perhaps the hardest part of learning to live with your puppy or dog.
Learn to Find the Positive
Learn to see the good things you want your dog to do and praise them for it. You can start this by simply writing down a list of good behaviors you want to see in your pup. This wish list might include lying quietly in the corner, chewing on a dog toy instead of your shoe, or going to the door and asking to go out. You then need to look for this behavior and tell the pup you like it AND reward verbally with a “Good Dog”, physically with a nice pat and with a food treat.
Training Works Best When Dealing With Behaviors
The best training happens if you make sure the pup initiates the behavior, but you have to make sure you do not let the pup control you. This is a hard concept in training. Smart pups learn quickly what you want, then offer the behavior all the time to get a treat. Going to the cookie jar, looking cute or sitting and wagging the tail gets you to walk over and give them a treat. Who is training who? You must balance this.
Recognizing Between Bad and Good Behavior
You may also wish to make a list of bad behaviors and note how you are responding to these. Often we find that our response, even though we see it as negative, is actually seen by the pup as rewarding. Basically, if you have not given enough positive feedback as discussed above, your dog will resort to doing things that annoy you to get your attention. Again, the pup is initiating interaction.
You can change this by recognizing when the pup is starting something to get your attention by not talking to the pup, changing your behavior, like walking out of the room with the cookie jar. When the pup comes to investigate call it to you and reward by petting or giving it a treat. You just took charge of the situation. Your pup will love you for it and you’ll be on the way to a great relationship with your canine buddy.