Early Learning for Puppies
Teaching the dog good habits is best
achieved by rewarding success, although it is nonsense to suggest that
scolding is never necessary. From the earliest age, puppies learn to
understand the word, or the action implying, "No". Their mother teaches
them some discipline from a very early age, and their new mother — you
—needs to carry that on.
Take the common game of chewing your shoelaces. A tap on the nose while
saying "No" firmly, soon teaches a puppy that there are some things in
life to avoid, and that "No" means just what it says.
Similarly, most puppies start the dominance game very early in life.
Nipping whomever they see as being one down from them on the totem pole
quickly develops into a bite to establish their rank. Immediate remedial
action - another firm "No" - will save a great deal of trauma later. In
all training there is no substitute for persistence and patience.
COMING WHEN CALLED
Your puppy will normally have an instinct to come to you from the word go.
Encourage this with treats. Call the puppy by his name and, when he
responds, give him a treat. It takes a very short time indeed for the
puppy to associate his name with a doggy treat. But if the puppy doesn't
come immediately, do not get cross and scold him. It takes an even shorter
time for the puppy to learn when to run away.
GETTING USED TO A LEAD
This really must be regarded as fun by the
puppy. Step one is to put a collar on. This will feel very strange, and
his immediate reaction will be to try to scratch it off. But delicious
treats will distract him and overcome the itchiness of the collar.
Step two, but not until the collar is tolerated happily, is to attach a
light lead. Don't hold the lead at this stage - let the puppy become
accustomed to it by dragging it around. Finally, hold the lead, and
gradually wind it in loosely, calling the puppy for still more treats.
Overcoming travel sickness is, or should be, a matter of early learning.
Some puppies are never travel sick, but unlike some children, those that
are can nearly always be taught to overcome the problem. You must act
immediately when the problem arises, otherwise the puppy starts to
associate cars with vomiting, and will salivate as a premonitory symptom
as soon as you put him into the car. If travel sickness is allowed to
persist, the puppy will learn to hate and fear car travel.
Simply taking the puppy on plenty of short
journeys may be sufficient. If the puppy learns that he can go for a ride
without being sick, especially if there is a walk or a game at the end of
it, he may overcome his early nervous reaction.
If the short journey cure doesn't work, there is no substitute for travel
sickness pills and a much longer trip. Bear in mind that travel sickness
pills take some time to be absorbed and to work. They need to be given
about an hour before the journey. To a considerable extent, the longer the
journey, the more effective the treatment. Bear in mind also that most
travel sickness treatments induce sleepiness, so giving the pills before
going off for the family holidays can be doubly useful.
Most dogs will learn to overcome their travel sickness after a few
training trips, but the longer the problem is allowed to persist before
attempting a cure, the slower will be the response.
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