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Key Points to Follow When Training Your Puppy

A lot goes into being a good trainer for a puppy, and most of it is mental. You must understand and encourage your puppy in ways that make sense to the dog. Your puppy has bestowed on you the highest honor, and it’s one you’d never receive from a human: a lifetime commitment to respect your judgment and abide by your rules. You need only show him how.

In order to show your puppy how to respect you and your rules, you need to remember three key things that a good dog trainer does:

Accept and modify your personality

Now’s the time to analyze yourself. Take out a pen and paper and write down three adjectives to describe your personality. What kind of person are you? Demanding? Sweet? Forgiving? Compulsive? Be honest. Then compare your personality with your pup’s character.

If you’re demanding and your dog is sweet, someone’s going to have to change. Making too many demands on a sweet dog will only frighten him, and he’ll shut down or run away when training begins. If you’re compulsive and you have a laid-back dog, you’ll be laughed at. For you to be a good dog trainer, you must modify your expectations to better suit your dog’s personality.

Never blame the pup

Believe it or not, puppies don’t react out of spite. Your puppy’s behavior is directly related to your own reactions, whether they’re positive or negative.

So how do you handle unruly situations? The first step is to stop blaming the dog. Try to frame your puppy’s mischief from his perspective and trace your frustration back to its root. Puppies generally act up when they’re overtired or overstimulated, so ask yourself what you can do differently in the situation to control and calm him.

Even when you catch your puppy doing something bad, never run toward him. Racing headlong toward a puppy is scary. Visualize someone two to four times your size barreling down on you. Talk about overwhelming! Even though your puppy may collapse in fear or run from you, he won’t learn anything from the situation.

Recognize the pup’s unique personality

Yes, puppies have personalities, too. As you work with your puppy, take his character, size, and breed temperament into account. Some puppies get easily overwhelmed when you move quickly in their direction, so be mindful of your puppy’s posture when you’re working with him; if he seems startled by your motions, slow down. If your puppy responds too excitedly to enthusiastic praise and interaction, you need to be calmer in your delivery.

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