Positive Training Methods for Puppies
Written by Eukanuba Staff
To get next level performance from sporting breeds like Labs, GSPs, and all breeds in between, use positive training methods when your puppy is young. This training method rewards puppies for successfully completing a task. Once a puppy understands the kind of behavior that gets him a reward he’ll want to do more of it. Here are four ways to get started using positive training with your puppy.
Pick Your Reward
In positive training sessions, a reward is used to show a puppy he has done the right thing. Puppies respond well to a variety of different rewards, but food is most commonly used. Consider using treats specifically designed for training. These treats are usually low in calories to promote a healthy weight. Some training treats contain additional nutrients like DHA to support healthy brain function.
Praise is also used in positive training and can be a kind word delivered in a happy, upbeat tone, a pat on the back or a rub on the belly. Read your dog to understand which reward he responds to best.
Using positive training methods helps build a lifelong, ready-for-anything bond with your puppy.
Keep Training Sessions Short
From maintaining steadiness on point to running marks and blinds, to casting in fields and covers, sporting breed puppies have a lot to learn. Between 8 and 20 weeks of age, a puppy’s mind is like a sponge, and that’s the time to establish a solid, positive training foundation. Since puppies readily absorb new information, daily training is super important.
But a puppy’s attention span is short. For the most productive results, use 5-to-10-minute training sessions, two- or three-times throughout the day. After each session, let your puppy play and have some fun. After that he’ll want to take a nap. Once he’s refreshed, tackle another training session followed by more play and another nap.
Use Simple & Consistent Commands
Puppies respond best to simplicity and consistency. Use short, easy to understand commands and stick with them. For recall, say ‘come,’ and say it every time. Shifting from ‘come’ to ‘come here’ to ‘come over here’ confuses puppies. Confused puppies don’t understand what you want them to do. Repetition makes the master, so focus on one command during each training session. Keep commands simple, consistent, and upbeat, and reward your puppy each time he gets it right. Once he has mastered the task at hand, move on to the next command.
Timing is Important
With positive training, the timing of a treat or praise is critically important. The reward should come immediately upon successful completion of the task. If time passes before the reward is given, then the puppy doesn’t know what he’s being rewarded for. If using treats, keep them easily accessible and deliver one precisely each time your puppy properly completes the task.
Positive training methods are a great way to develop a bold, confident sporting dog. Since it can take puppies numerous attempts to master a task, be mindful of your energy and tone throughout each training session. Stay consistent, patient, and upbeat, and your puppy will look forward to learning new skills.