After the excitement of bringing home a puppy wears away, the normal aspects of life take hold. The puppy has to be house trained so they don’t leave a mess in your home. They must also be wary of when to go out and when not to as they are still small and could end up hurting themselves. The puppy must also be fed constantly so his or her health is never in doubt and they can continue to grow. They must also be taught how to play and how to do normal dog activities such as running, playing fetch and other cognitive games. However most importantly, they must be trained to obey commands. This is so the dog and human cohabitation can exist and you can both get along. Dogs need to be trained to adapt to human lifestyles as they are pets and no longer wild animals. This has been done for centuries so there are some techniques that have been noted to work while others are known to fail. The best way to train puppies is to use treats. So early in their life, they don’t understand the reasons for why they are being told to do something as they don’t have the experience of living with your lifestyle yet. So treats will excite their taste buds and get them to heel to your commands.
Senses are powerful
At such a young age, puppies cannot comprehend why you’re telling them to roll over or to shake hands. They are just inquisitive and want to chew on things to see what they are. Just like babies they will put things in their mouths to taste them and judge the texture and softness of the object. They are after all at a point in their lives when their brains are collecting information and getting used to all the different smells, feelings, tastes, sounds and sights in the world. So use this to train them as their senses are a gateway into their mind which makes it easier for you to train them by stimulating their senses as the reward.
Taking your puppy on his or her first walk, you’ll see that they are lead by their nose. It’s in a dog’s blood to be seeking out new smells. They enjoy new smells because it’s something their mind can latch onto and try to understand. Much like human beings like different tastes and new foods, dogs want new smells to stimulate their brain. You can train a dog to know your scent by giving them some of your old and worn clothes. Rather than throw your dirty or used clothes in the wash next time, give them to you dog to play around with. This could be given to them as a blanket to sleep with in their bed, used as a pillow or simply a toy they can play with and fling around. This stimulates their nose but also gets them used to knowing what your scent is so if they were to ever stray and somehow lose sight of you, they will simply smell you out and find you again.
Annoying chores must be rewarded
Annoying chores for dogs are what we may determine as normal. Dogs that normally would have their way are told they can’t do something or perhaps they have to do something that is not part of their routine can throw a hissy fit. Things like having to take a bath, or having to lay on a new bed while their other bed gets washed are just some of the things that dogs can find to be annoying. It breaks them out of routine that they are accustomed to and forces them to maybe do something they don’t want. It’s important here to not see them as being spoiled and acting like little brats. They can become aloof and smelly, not wanting to be washed but their animal brain tells them that water is unsafe.
You can reward your puppy for not thrashing around too much when it’s bath time by giving them a treat that will last them as long as the bath itself. This way if you’re bathing your dog for 10 or 15 minutes each time, they will know that a treat that is just as long will be given to them. Something chewy like a split deer antler dog chew will last them a reasonably long time as they have to work their way through a tough outer shell to reach the chewy marrow inside. This will please the puppy’s taste buds for a long time and make the bath all worth it. Do this often enough and the dog will make this a muscle memory which then can be eventually made into a normal action without the need for a treat every time.
Not all treats are the same
A treat doesn’t have to be the same such as things that stimulate the dog’s senses. They can be hugs, stomach rubbing, itching behind their ears or something that shows them you love them. Saying thank you to your puppy after they perform something you wanted them to is the main goal of any kind of reward and action system. The reward doesn’t have to be treats and in fact, many trainers will tell you that treats should be used only in the beginning. You don’t want to normalize your dog to only doing something for some kind of food in return. You should work toward replacing a food treat with affection. This is what will strengthen the bond between man and beast, when both of you become one team while genuinely caring for each other.
Puppies should be rewarded with treats that will excite their senses. They are getting used to having superpowers that we could only dream of. Give them something that is scented with yourself to play with when they are having their own clothes cleaned. Reward your puppy with a chewy treat that lasts long, preferably after you have given them a bath that they won’t like. Conditioning your dog to want affection more than a physical treat is the end goal of any training your give him or her so keep everything in balance.