Puppies, especially, can be a strain on the household. What was once a cute little bundle of fluff has suddenly become a pooping and piddle machine. It might have been cute, back when he first did it, but it wasn’t so funny when he chewed on your -good- shoes! Naturally, the children that had begged for a new pet and promised to take care of him, have suddenly been replaced by aliens who don’t recall making the previous statements. Meanwhile, playful little puppy has opted not to sleep in the kids’ room, like in the movies, but would rather sleep in -your- bed. And you think you can deny him when he squeals and barks and whines?
Training a new puppy boils down to three “C’s” — care, consistency and communication.
Like tiny children, our pets do not understand what we say to them. They’ve never gone to school and no one has ever gifted them with a Canine – to – English dictionary. Just because we switch to baby talk doesn’t mean they understand us better. No matter how much we enjoy trying to give our pets human traits, the fact remains that they are still pets.
Just because you say it doesn’t mean he knows what it means. To an animal, the number one form of communication is always body language. In the wild, when interacting with one another, wolves use body language to show dominance and submissiveness, to teach, and in everyday interaction. Anytime you speak with your dog, consider your body language, as well as your tone, and ask yourself what you’re -really- saying to your pet.
Consistency is another key. Animals learn through instinct and routine. If you set up a routine in your household and then stick to it, your pet will come to rely upon this and act accordingly. Studies have shown that dogs learn morning rituals, when their owner plans on leaving for work, they know rituals that are performed when the children come home and get off the bus, and he knows the before bedtime rituals. Work his own rituals into it and then stick by them. After dinner is when he gets his food, so always be sure to feed him at the correct time. Before bedtime, you always take him outside and expect him to ‘do his business.’ Teach him in such a fashion and it will help save, not only your sanity, but your carpets as well!