New puppies are an exciting addition to any family.   Their antics and playful behavior bring a smile to every member of its new household. But with an untrained puppy, those smiles disappear when “accidents” occur, when expensive items are mauled beyond recognition or when an untrained, uncontrolled puppy grows into an untrained, uncontrollable, untrustworthy dog.  The number of pets which are surrendered by their owners to Humane Societies or put to sleep for behavior problems in the United States today exceeds the number of pets killed by automobiles or disease.

A well-mannered, well-trained adult pet may “just happen” without any training effort by the owner but is virtually assured with adequate training in the right way at the right time.   As preventative medicine through vaccinations and improved diets have lengthened the life span of today’s pets, why not enjoy those many years with a well-mannered obedient companion?

Over the next few months, I will be making suggestions to help owners prevent some of the common behavior problems seen in dogs such as house-soiling, inappropriate chewing, food bowl guarding, jumping up on people, etc. This training is easiest and most effective when started at 6-12 weeks of age.

Before beginning the training session with a puppy, the trainer should remember a few simple rules:

-Your puppy is in kindergarten.  Training periods should be short but frequent, no more than 10 minutes, 3-4 times daily.

-Praise for correct behavior must be immediate and heartfelt in a high, excited voice.  Therefore, men must raise the pitch of their voice.  A gruff “Good Dog”, will not convey approval to the pup.

-Reprimands must also be immediate (within ½ second of the offense) but usually a stern voice is all that is required.  Therefore, women must lower the pitch of their voice, what women often refer to as their “Mama Voice”.

-Use food treats as rewards.  Train when the puppy is hungry, and therefore more attentive, immediately before mealtimes.

-Always keep love in your heart when training.  If frustration builds, stop, cool off, and proceed again later.

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