Obedience training was discussed in an earlier article titled “Obedience Training for Your New Puppy”. It has been shown that obedience training is very important for a puppy and behavioral training is just as important. In some puppy/dog training camps, behavioral training is considered to be training a puppy/dog to be “good” or “well behaved”. In other training camps, behavioral training is considered to be “correcting a puppy/dogs bad behavior”. For the sake of arguments, we will describe behavioral training in this article as training a puppy or dog to be well behaved as in house training and good manners when around people and other animals.
One of the very first training sessions will be house training. You want your puppy to do his business outside. If you are committed to this training, you can have a puppy housebroken in as little as three weeks. There may be a mistake now and again but the main process will be complete and the puppy will be going outside to do his business in the yard. A crate for the puppy to sleep in will aid in his house training and also protect him/her when you are unable to closely observe the puppy. Put your puppy on a feeding schedule and make sure you take them outside as soon as they are finished eating. Talk to them and praise them when they relieve themselves outside. If they do have an accident inside, tell them “no” sternly and take them outside immediately. Do not punish them for any accidents inside but praise them abundantly when they relieve themselves outside. Make sure you regulate their food and water before bedtime and take them outside before putting them in the crate for the night. Be consistent and determined in your training and it will pay off.
Training your dog not to jump up on people is a must. Teach them the correct way to greet people when they are small so you don’t have a 90 pound dog jumping up on grandmother or anyone else who visits your home. Many people are frightened of large dogs because a large dog can cause injury if they jump up on people. One way to train a puppy not to jump up on people is to keep the puppy on a leash when someone comes to your house. Step on the leash so the puppy can’t jump up as you open the door or greet the visitors. Command the puppy to sit (they can’t do much else with you standing on the leash) and when he/she does reward them with a treat or pat on the head. Have a friend or relative practice with you and the puppy until they realize that if they sit when someone arrives, they will be rewarded. If he/she does try to jump up on the visitor, reprimand in a stern loud voice and start over. Never hit the puppy or yell at him/her.
Do not let your puppy or dog on the couch or bed unless you plan to let them on the furniture at all times. An animal doesn’t understand that they can sleep on the bed or couch only on certain days or certain times. It is very unfair to them to let them do something on one day but refuse them the same privilege on another day. Make up your mind what the rules are before enforcing them with your puppy or dog. It is much easier to train a little bundle of fur not to get on the furniture then a big 120 pound Rottweiler who happens to like sleeping on your bed or couch. Consistency is the key.
Behavioral training will be an on going process just like obedience training. Yes, your puppy will learn the basics and yes they will still remember these as adult dogs but there may be new situations which the animal faces and new rules for the animal to learn. Also, the obedience training the puppy/dog receives will cross over to behavioral training. Sometimes the difference in the training is miniscule. You can not have a well behaved dog that is not obedient and an obedient dog will be well behaved.