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Conclusion to DIY Puppy Training Part 10

To try to cover every aspect of the subject of puppy training could take up volumes. I can only teach the basics in order that you can then apply the training to your particular puppy, as they are all different.

On my website last week I had a question if I knew the name of any other types of basic obedience training methods. The names given were Shaping, Moulding, Lure, Reward, and Life Styling. Fascinating titles but what do they all mean and what is the difference. There is in fact no real difference other than in the name?

In Working Trials Competitions and for Professional working dogs, the handlers must learn faster and better methods of teaching their puppies in order to attain the highest level above those of their competitors in order to win or gain the highest efficiency in their work. Whenever someone finds a quicker and better method we all look at it, analyse it and if it works apply it into our own training. In this way my next new puppy would learn to progress much faster in competition than had my previous dogs.

When we look at each new method, we see that it never involves pain towards our dogs. Increasingly better training methods come from a better understanding of our dog’s natural learning methods and how they wish to normally react.

When I first started to train dogs, I learnt the standard enforcement pain method of teaching and though it works, the natural methods are far superior and quicker. There is nothing mystical about any of the natural training methods. Like me, handlers that have been working dogs for so long have quickly discovered such methods could give us that extra edge in competitions. However, how do we learn such natural training methods?

One excellent way is to watch wolves teaching their cubs and it is our watching and learning that we can then adapt and improve our methods of training. We are now able to describe and interpret all the doggy/wolf language so we can communicate far better with our dogs. Furthermore, we are better able to understand what drives our dogs. Knowing their aims in life, we can utilise them to our advantage.

Though wolves do not teach cubs to search for drugs or explosives, they do teach them to use all their unique abilities for survival. We just take all these skills that much further.

As competitors and professionals, we need to know what our dogs have to do in the future and we train them for that from being puppies. I am not expecting the family dog to need to train to the same level but you can still utilise the same skills and natural tuition. You as owners need to know what you expect from your puppy when it is an adult and train your dog towards that end.

I can only define the skills and the natural way a puppy will learn and how you can use them. It is for you to apply this natural teaching to your puppy. You never know you may even find a new quicker method because the learning how to teach puppies continues to evolve.

Whilst looking at my past articles and in particular last week’s article, I see I used the word natural repeatedly but it was un-intentional. I reviewed them simply because of the question regarding naming the types of training. To answer the question of what other title of training can there be I could only reply by calling it the Natural Way.

In our training, there are though a number of important areas of conflict between humans and dogs. The most important area is dog aggression. Dogs are not normally harmfully aggressive to others in the pack so if we teach a dog about the infinite pack then they will be friendly to almost everyone.

The second area is in our body language. There are certain human movements that dogs will interpret in different ways. Touching a dog’s head, neck, throat, and hindquarters are dangerous actions. Many dominant puppies or older dogs will not accept them and therefore often the cause of so many attacks.

In training your puppy, it needs constant human contact. You must continually touch your puppy and it is important that children learn to do this correctly and for you to explain why.

During puppy-hood, teach them to accept being touched in these danger areas. When your puppy is almost ready for sleep curl up with your dog, move your face onto your puppies face, and rub your face into its ears neck etc. Children normally do this because this is how they treat cuddly toys.

Often play roughly with your puppy but as soon as it uses its teeth immediately stop the play with an “Arrrrgh” followed by praise. Tap the flat of your hands on the side of its mouth but if it tries to bite then again stop.

We must remember that having a puppy that continues biting is a danger. Many people believe puppy biting is only puppy play and they will naturally grow out of this; they won’t.

Even if you do not have children in your immediate family, your dog will undoubtedly encounter them at sometime. It is therefore necessary we teach our puppy that children as well as grownups are not for biting and there is nothing to fear from them.

Sociability training is a must for all puppies if they are to remain mans best friend. You do not have to do all the sort of training that Kathryn Hollings dog Osito has gone through but if you do at least some of this training, it will help your dog interact better with people without aggression.

It does not matter whether you have a nervous dog, such training will only improve its character. Alternatively, if you have a dominant dog, it will quieten them down. What we want to achieve is a nice, happy friendly dog that is a pleasure to live with.

So often, I hear from people that they are almost living in prison because they cannot go outside with their dog, as they fear it will harm someone or it continually barks. Is such a life what they expected when they choose to own a dog?

I find so many owners who simply resign themselves to having purchased the wrong sort of dog and therefore put up with it. This is not necessary because it is always possible to correct most dogs that are continually driving their owners or their neighbours up the wall.

There is one very good reason to train at this age. There is a saying “The Devil finds work for idle hands”: for puppies, this is so true. You do need to train them until they are tired because if you leave puppies to themselves you may find your electrics cut off, your furniture ruined, and your clothes torn to shreds. A Puppy that is not learning will become bored and will learn all by itself because it has to understand its environment.

One other common saying is “A dog is not just for Christmas it is for life” and many people purchase puppies at this time of the year. If you have a new puppy in your home, I hope you will spend the next 6 weeks successfully training together and you will have a very happy and friendly puppy.

May Winston and I wish you all a very merry Christmas and for the New Year let’s be careful out there.

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