Sunday, December 31, 2006

Obedience Basics For Puppies That Stay Home Alone...

So, you’ve acquired a new puppy over the weekend and already you’re in love. But Monday morning rolls around and reality hits. How do you raise a well behaved canine while working away from the home?

In more than 50% of American households wives, as well as husbands, work out of the house, while children depart for school or the sitters. Training “Fido” not to use dad’s favorite slippers as chew toys or to refrain from soiling the carpet has become a frustrating challenge for many.

Though training a puppy that spends the majority of time home alone might be more of a challenge, it is not an impossible feat. You can still raise a well-behaved dog despite your busy schedule by following the insightful tips below.
Learn How To Quickly And Easily Train Your Dog Or Puppy.

Serious behavior problems in growing dogs usually develop around six months or older. Biting, chewing, jumping up on people, excessive barking, digging, and soiling are all avoidable bad-behavior habits if training is consistent and begins early.

When a puppy is adopted into a human family it leaves its mother and littermates. The pup leaves behind the security of the known and enters into the unknown. This can be a very scary and confusing time. It is also one of the most important times in the puppy’s life.

As the puppy’s care giver, it is crucial for you to provide a sense of security and belonging. By consistently demonstrating love and affection, solid groundwork is laid for a loving, trusting bond between you and the puppy. Puppies so nurtured will grow into happy, confident dogs. Puppies denied the security of love consistently demonstrated and regular, positive attention will grow up fearful and full of anxiety. Training such a dog will be difficult.

The very first lesson you should teach your new puppy, then, is that his new home is a place where he is loved and accepted. Once your puppy feels safe and loved, he is ready for obedience training.

Obedience training should begin early, and should become a regular part of your weekly routine until your dog has been properly trained. Sessions should be executed in a calm manner, and should always end on a positive note. Your puppy will look forward to each session if you praise his efforts, and do not yell in anger or frustration.

Physical punishment should not be doled out before the puppy is older and can fully grasp what you want from him. There is a difference between a dog requiring a firm hand because he behaves headstrong and willfully refuses to obey, and a dog requiring patience because he lacks confidence or does not quite understand what it is you are trying to teach him.

Training sessions should be kept to 15 minutes or less. A puppy’s attention span is much like a small child’s; interest soon wanes. Forcing a young puppy to endure sessions longer than 15 minutes will be frustrating for both you and the puppy. It would also be non productive, and sabotage training efforts.

A puppy that must stay alone for an eight hour day requires proper training to learn and accept that without excessive barking or other bad behavior. Since your puppy’s first learning experience begins the moment he enters your home, working people find it is easiest to bring a puppy home at the start of the weekend so that they have a few days to begin training.

Your puppy will need to learn to stay quietly in his pen until you decide he can come out. As difficult as it is, you must resist his cries and baby antics to get his own way. Resist the urge to pick the puppy up whenever he cries for attention. Be gentle, but be firm.

The easiest way to train your puppy that there are times when he must be confined to a pen, or certain area of a room, is to sit in the pen with him at different intervals during the first few days. This will help assure him that he will not be ignored while he is in his pen.

Go in and out of the pen as much as you wish, but firmly push the puppy back and close the gate when you leave. Praise the puppy when he is quiet in his pen; when he whines or barks, tell him “No” in a firm voice. Never allow the puppy out of the pen when he is noisy or barking. Allow him out of his pen only when he is quiet.

If he continues to bark after you have told him “No,” slap a rolled newspaper on your open hand while repeating with more emphasis, “No!” The noise will startle the puppy and distract him long enough for you to praise his silence. Be consistent, and this training will pay off. There’s nothing neighbors dislike more than a dog that barks continually every time he’s left alone.

Dogs often respond to aggressive provocation and fear in the same way by biting. Many dogs also bite and nip during play. Puppies especially are notorious for playfully biting and nipping. While some care givers feel such “rough housing” is harmless, or even cute, puppies should be taught early not to bite or nip. They also have to learn not to struggle or squirm when picked up.

Even a puppy that will be too large to pick up once fully grown needs to learn this lesson. There will be various times in his life – during an examination at the vet’s, while being groomed, or when sick or injured – that he will have to accept being picked up or held down patiently, without struggling or biting.

Start the lesson by sitting on the floor and picking up the puppy. While holding the pup firmly, speak in affectionate, soothing tones. Tuck the pup’s back end under your arm, with your elbow tight against his outside rear hip. This provides a good, strong hold that will make the puppy feel secure. Any puppy will attempt to free himself for fear of falling, if he is not held securely.

If he is small enough, grasp his front paws with the same hand. This will leave your other hand free to pet or discipline the dog.

Some puppies love to be picked up and held, and will immediately relax. Other puppies will squiggle, squirm, and nip to be released. They must be taught to endure being handled.

If the puppy struggles, pet his head and continue to talk to him in soothing tones. If he does not quiet down, give him a little shake and firmly say, “No.”

If he tries to nip or mouth your hand, hold his mouth closed for a few seconds, and repeat, “No,” then release his mouth. Continue this lesson until the puppy learns to remain calm and accept being held. The minute the pup becomes quiet and accepts your handling, praise him. Remember, praise for obedience is one of the most important tools for successful obedience training.

Training a young puppy to accept handling is always done gently but firmly. Under no circumstances handle the puppy roughly, or strike the puppy. Older puppies and dogs can be trained more firmly when they resist handling. (Note: Don’t confuse the terms “young puppy” and “older puppy” with how small or large the puppy is. Distinctions are attributed to age relevancy, not size.)

Until your puppy is completely toilet trained, he should be confined to a certain area of the house and not allowed to roam at will. This can be in a particular room, or cage. Not only will this save you frustration by not having multiple areas of the house soiled before the puppy is completely toilet trained, but dog psychologists agree that puppies feel more secure in a reasonably small enclosed area.

Newspapers should cover the floor of the area. Plenty of clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Using a heavy bowl will help prevent accidental spills. A clean bed (an old blanket or towel works nicely) should also be provided for warmth and for comfort, as well as toys to chew and play with. Like human babies, puppies need toys for entertainment; chewing helps alleviate gum discomfort caused by growing teeth.

When it comes to toilet training, do not expect too much, too soon. No one can expect a puppy to stay alone for a full eight hour day. A puppy under five months old will need to be put outside to relieve himself every 4 – 5 hours. This means that you or another family member will have to go home at lunch or break time to let him out.

This may seem like a hardship, but it is important and will only be for a few months. It is the only way to affectively toilet train a puppy. The puppy will soon adjust to your schedule and will stay clean until taken out of doors at noon, and again in the evening.

By balancing gentleness with firmness, being consistent with patience and love, and by following the above tips, both you and your puppy will benefit. Your pup will be well on his way to becoming the well-behaved canine companion you desire.

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Obinna Heche: Los Angeles- California

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