As a proud dog mom to a 10-month-old pug-chihuahua mix, my days are endless cuddles and silly playtime. But it’s also been a constant chore to teach my puppy everything she needs to know, from housebreaking to following rules. And anyone who has ever met a puppy knows this is much easier said than done.
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Between rewarding my pup with training treats when she does something right and telling her off when she misbehaves, I thought I had been doing everything I should in terms of training. So when she was still acting out, chewing furniture and taking a while to understand housebreaking, I turned to an expert to see where I was going wrong. And it turns out that I shouldn’t actually tell my puppy “no.”
“Actually, the most common mistake people make is disciplining their animals altogether,” Mike Rose, certified dog behavior consultant and separation anxiety specialist, owner of The Pawssociates and behavior consultant with Behavior Vets NYC, tells In The Know by Yahoo.
Rose explains that disciplining dogs and puppies can create a negative learning history and reduce your bond with your pet. “Animals who are disciplined and punished, especially young puppies who are in informative stages of development, tend to struggle with learning new skills, building confidence, and socializing effectively in their adult life.”
According to Rose, the correct way to train a puppy is to avoid disciplining altogether and simply focus on rewarding them when they do something right. He explains, “Puppies need positive experiences with new animals, people, and stimuli to create healthy and confident relationships with the world they live in.”
He continues, “No types of discipline are positive or effective on puppies. It is important to prioritize reinforcing wanted behaviors and creating safe management systems to avoid unwanted behaviors from being rehearsed.”
Punishing puppies can make them anxious and even fearful of looking to you as a source of support. Doing this too much may even make your dog inefficient at learning new skills in their adult life. Instead of yelling at your dog or telling them “no,” Rose says you should teach them an actionable skill, such as “leave it” or “drop it,” so you can reward the pup when they do it right.
There are a ton of training tools and treats to help positively reinforce good behaviors and new skills in your puppy. Rose recommends following training plans that work at your pet’s unique pace, so selecting training tools that your dog responds to is important. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to — so if you’re looking for a good way to train your pup, scroll down to shop our favorite picks in puppy training essentials.
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