Puppy Training Tips Part 2:
How to Train Good Behavior
Following up on last month’s newsletter that focused on preventing unwanted puppy behavior, this month we’ll look at affirmative puppy training. In other words, once we’ve prevented our puppy from practicing behaviors we don’t like, how do we teach our puppies what we WANT them to do? (Hot tip: This approach works for adult dogs, too!)
Below you’ll find training tips and videos for these common puppy issues:
- 4-on-the-floor (prevent jumping)
- “Drop it” (open your mouth)
- Down-stay-on-mat (almost every unwanted puppy behavior can be prevented with this, plus it’s THE foundation behavior for service dogs)
You also get these helpful puppy training gifts and resources…
- Access to a FREE puppy training summit happening now with over 20 dog training experts – including our head trainer, Sharon Wachsler. You won’t want to miss her interview next Wed. 10/19 on training a puppy as a future service dog.
- Info on our FREE “Ask the Service Dog Trainer Q&A” on Oct. 27
- Information on PEARL, our ten-week puppy course for future service dogs, is now available on our new website
Receive this newsletter in your email by clicking here.
Puppy Tips: How to Train Good Behavior
As we discussed last month, one key to training success is preventing the behavior you don’t want. But once you’re on top of management, you have to ask yourself, “What do I want my dog to do?”
This question is sometimes harder than people expect. If your puppy is jumping on everyone who walks through the door, you might think the answer is, “Not jump!”
4 on the Floor
But “not jumping” could mean so many things. Your puppy could bite their hands. Or pee on the floor. Or chew the couch.
We recommend training your pup to do something good that is incompatible with the undesirable behavior. In the case of a puppy who jumps, what if you decided to reward your puppy for keeping its feet on the floor (“4 on the floor”)? Here’s a video demonstration of Sharon training a puppy to keep “four on the floor.” (Note: Sharon describes what she’s doing to the owner, but this is simply a demonstration, not a tutorial.)
Another great option is to train your pup to lie down on a mat until released. In our classes, we usually call this “go settle.”
A dog that is in a “go settle” cannot also…
- Jump on your guests as they walk through the door
- Steal food, glasses, or napkins off the table
- Bark out the window
- Bother your tired old dog
- Harass your cat
- Snatch your children’s snacks out of their hands
Training a dog to “go settle” has several benefits:
- It tells your dog where to go – go to this spot that is away from the door (or away from the birthday cake, the cat, the other dog, the children, etc.)
- It tells your dog what to do – lie down and relax until you are released
To train a “go settle,” first train your puppy to lie down. Here’s our instructional video on how to train a puppy to lie down. Once your puppy has learned how to follow a hand signal or verbal cue to down, you can train them to look for the target to lie down. Here’s a demonstration of training a puppy to go settle on a towel. (This video is just a demonstration. It does not provide narration/verbal instruction.)
By now, you’re probably getting the idea of “affirmative training” – training the puppy to do the good thing, instead of thinking about stopping the bad thing. If your puppy has something valuable or dangerous in its mouth, what do you want? What about if the puppy is biting your clothing or your hand? You want your puppy to open its mouth!
If you’re planning on having your puppy later use its mouth for tasks for you as a service dog (retrieve or do anything involving tugging or pulling, such as opening doors or drawers or pulling off socks or sleeves), you definitely want to train this positively. (So you don’t run the risk of your adult dog avoiding your hands or being afraid to grab or pick things up around you.)
Here’s a video tutorial on how to train your puppy to “drop it.”
For more puppy training resources, read on.
“Why doesn’t my puppy listen to me?”
If that question sounds familiar, I’ve got good news for you.
My friend Marilyn Mele is sharing a FREE interview series featuring top international dog experts who want to help YOU with simple tips that you can start using right away.
I saved you a FREE front row seat. But you have to register to claim it!
The summit runs from Oct. 11 to Oct. 25. Every interview is available online for 24 hours.
Here’s a bit of behind-the-scenes information: I was part of a previous summit Marilyn organized, and I loved the presentations. This time will be even better because each presenter is required to include “actionable items” – which means tips that everyone can implement right away, on their own. In my presentation on Oct. 19, my two actionable items include conditioning a puppy to make it more likely to later alert or respond to your symptoms AND how to help a new puppy sleep through the night in their crate more quickly – without stress for you or your puppy.
CLICK HERE NOW TO CLAIM YOUR SEAT FOR FREE.
Free “Ask the Service Dog Trainer” Question & Answer Session
Do you have questions about service dogs and their training? We’re offering a free Q & A event online on Thursday, October 27 at 8 PM ET (5 PM PT).
Join service dog training specialist Sharon Wachsler for an hour of questions and answers on service dog training. Sharon is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner. She can answer questions on virtually any aspect of service dog training, from how to select a dog, how to train for public access, how to select tasks, when to retire your dog, and more. Space is limited to 20 to allow everyone enough time to ask their questions.
You must register to attend. (Registration is quick and easy. It just involves giving us your name and email so we can send you the Zoom link.)