We cannot hope to teach our puppies a single thing until we can get and hold their attention. This should not be an issue if you begin your training inside of the house or backyard where there are minimal distractions. However, when you start venturing out into the neighborhood, then at parks and busier public places you will need every single skill I provide you in this course! I will regularly refer back to using the following five senses throughout the program.
Smell: Using aromatic food will go a long way towards getting and keeping his attention throughout a lesson.
Taste: Bologna for the most finicky of eaters has proven to be the bomb as an attention-getter! It’s also easier to prepare and handle than hot puppys or shredded chicken. Tear off a piece that you can hold in your left hand while your puppy nibbles one piece at a time.
Sight: Show your puppy the food and lure his nose exactly where you want it (when you steer the nose you steer the rear). Show him where and how to move with your body and hand movements, as well as using the speed of your movements to grab his attention, speed him up or slow him down.
Sound: High pitched vocal tones and kissing noises tend to speed puppies up, and a low calming voice tends to slow them down. Verbal praise or disapproval should be tonally different to help your pup distinguish between the two. Also, paring new word cues with your puppy’s new actions is the essence of teaching them English.
Touch: Tickle your puppy’s ear or chin, poke him with your finger or leg quickly to get his attention. Petting and stroking slowly will help keep him from squirming about.
- Keep Moving
puppys communicate with body language. So, until they learn English, it is our responsibility to communicate our wishes in a language they understand. Most people tend to go when their puppy goes, stop when their puppy stops. This conveys that they are in charge of when, where, and how fast or slow you go! I will ask you to announce to your puppy you are going walking and then go. Of course, you should give your puppy a chance to join you but that does not mean to just stand there and wait since the more you wait, the more your puppy will either,
(A) Also wait, for direction from you, or
(B) Take advantage of your waiting and do his/her own thing until you decide what you are doing.
- Shoulders, Eye Contact, Attention
Dogs and puppies are constantly studying us looking for cues into what we are trying to convey. When you face your dog or puppy with your shoulders square to him standing tall, you are saying back off, and he will tend to stay put. Conversely, when you turn your back, he will have a tendency to want to follow you. This is how we “show” puppies with body language what to do, where to go etc.
Eye contact is also an important component in communicating our requests, approval and even reassurance in more distracting situations.
Lastly, pay attention to your puppy at all times while training so that you can prevent mistakes, and reward new behaviors!
Each time your pet practices undesirable behaviors, you are delaying the formation of permanent new positive behaviors.
- Fast and Slow, High and Low
Fast movements, high noises and tones speed animals up and grab their attention. Kissing or clicking noises with your mouth can grab your puppies attention quickly when needed. This is helpful when your puppy is distracted. Conversely, slow movements and lower voice tones will tend to slow them down. This is helpful with overly excited puppies when you need them to stay put. So, for example, if you are training your puppy to stay, remember to stay calm and slow, and use low and soothing vocal tones and so-on.
If you want your puppy to get moving or give you attention, be excited in your body movements and voice (high). Once your puppy has a good grasp on a lesson these teaching aids can be eliminated.
Note: I still use all of these things in my relationship with my own dogs. Not because I have to but because it makes our relationship more dynamic and fun! As a result, it is rare they misunderstand me because I am speaking their language-body language!