Training and training
Do you know the situation: the little dog is running around the yard, and behind her the flushed owner with a leash in her hand, madly calling to her dog and threatening terrible punishment as soon as it is caught in her hands? Funny? Yes, it is!
But only until you were in the place of that uncaring hostess. Then it's just sad - you have failed in your task and failed to become a leader in the master-Jack pair.
Dogs are pack creatures. They are genetically conditioned to obey the leader of the pack. Animals living together can build hierarchical relationships. Each individual knows their place in the pack, knows what to expect from the others. This knowledge brings harmony and peace of mind to a dog's life. As soon as you bring a puppy into your home, you and your family, including all other pets, become his pack. Don't miss a day, claim the title of master, the alpha male of the pack right away. It doesn't matter if you may be female.
How do you do it? Start simple obedience and training sessions with little Jack from day one. Don't be embarrassed that he's so little. Small, but very intelligent. Don't expect miracles of obedience right away, have patience, be consistent and be persistent.
Lessons should be very short at first, literally 1 -2 minutes. Gradually you will increase the time, but still no more than 30 minutes, otherwise it will be difficult for Jack to focus his attention on you.
Here are some simple rules to follow when exercising with your puppy.
- Always use positive reinforcement (encouragement) when a command is given correctly. This reinforcement can be different for each dog; some respond well to treats, some to playful elements, some to petting and praise.
- Never yell at your dog or use a rude tone when Jack is not listening to you or not doing what you want him to do.
- Never hit Jack with your hand. This may cause him to become afraid of your hands.
- Every activity should end on a positive note. That is, the last exercise should be one that Jack knows well and that he performs to perfection. Do not be stingy with praise and encouragement. Play with him after class.
- Do not try to teach Jack complex commands at once. Training should be step by step. From simple to complex.
- Express commands in simple one-word words, not sentences. Support the commands with gestures. Make a gesture for each command. This can be very helpful later on, when your dog is old and his hearing is poor.
- Do not change command names and gestures once established.
- Repeat once-learned commands, otherwise they are forgotten: "Repetition is the mother of learning."
- Do not repeat a command more than once. If he did not respond to it the first time, do not repeat it, and even more so, do not raise your voice. Just be quiet and pause, waiting for a reaction from your puppy. The pause should be short - 1-2 seconds, otherwise the puppy will forget what is expected of him at all. If he obeys but the wrong command, don't praise him (when instead of "sit" he lies down). Just make him do the correct command (sit) and praise him.
- Don't be stingy with praise and treats if Jack does the right command.
- When you give him a treat, don't hold it out in your outstretched hand. On the contrary, hold your hand out so that Jack comes as close to you as possible. While serving the treat, stroke it so Jack gets used to your hands and associates them with the treat.
- Engage always when Jack is hungry, not after a meal.
If Jack is your first dog, it would be wise for you to bring in a trained dog handler to teach you how to properly handle your puppy so that you will not inadvertently or unknowingly allow or reinforce any undesirable behavior in Jack. An experienced dog handler will train you, not the dog.
A common mistake of beginner trainers is to repeat a command several times, and even with a higher voice. By repeating yourself, you teach your pet not to hear the command the first time.
You will train the dog yourself afterward. One of the biggest mistakes of owners is to think that by inviting a handler to the class they have done their duty: "the dog is in the hands of a specialist", and try not to attend the class, citing their busyness. Of course, the expert will teach the dog commands and obedience. But who will Jack obey?