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Puppy training can and should begin the day you bring your puppy home, but only if it's approached in a safe manner for your puppy and his sensitivities. Housetraining your puppy can be a rewarding and non-stressful experience when you shape behavior from a series of positive experiences, instead of attempting to correct unwanted behaviors before your puppy has a chance to learn what you DO want.
Trying to teach your dog what NOT to do is not conducive to healthy, reliable learning. Your puppy must have the opportunity to learn the behaviors that you DO want which will be incompatible with behaviors that you don't want.
Never say, "No" or yell the word "Nooo!" if your dog doesn't understand something while training, and/or fails to perform on cue. Simply try the exercise again and if that doesn't work, go back to a previous step. Many times you will need to settle for rewarding just a partial behavior and work up in steps from there until the whole behavior is performed.
Here's an example. You catch your dog chewing your $90 shoes. By running over and screaming, "No!" you've done one of two things:
1. You've either rewarded him for chewing by giving him attention; this is especially true if you give chase while he's running with your shoes; or
2. You've scared the bejeebers out of him and he learns that it's not safe to relieve stress and/or sore teeth and gums when you are present. Therefore he must do it when you're gone in order to keep himself safe and not upset you. The dog has no malice in these actions, he's just following instinct.
This applies to crate training as well, (if the crate is introduced and used appropriately), in that it can prevent accidents from happening during the housetraining process while repeatedly giving your puppy the opportunity to be successful at eliminating outdoors. His repeated success builds his confidence and instills in his mind that the outdoors is the only place to even consider eliminating.
This kind of housetraining is not based on fear, which inhibits the learning process but on repeated successes. This makes the desired behavior more reliable and the puppy more confident and able to learn.
Training your puppy using positive reinforcement and other healthy behavior shaping techniques insures that his puppy training will not negatively affect his personality. This type of healthy interaction with your puppy during his first year will enable you to build a cooperative bond and to have a well mannered but confident companion by the time he reaches maturity.
Kathleen Amaro is the owner of http://www.puppy-potty-training.com.
Her instantly downloadable ebook 25 Secrets to Raising the Perfect Puppy, not only tells you how to raise the perfect puppy, but how to get him perfectly potty trained using only positive and healthy puppy training techniques.
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