Was enthralled when we came across this video of Misa, the brilliant Yorkshire Terrier puppy featured in this video. As smart as she is adorable, she does one impressive trick after another. It’s no wonder Yorkies rank among the top 10 most popular breeds in America. Known for their intelligence and high energy, this toy breed’s sometime-possessiveness makes them excellent companions for people living alone.
Even if small breeds are not for you, this is an impressive array of tricks. Guidebooks and articles addressing dog training are as abundant as those written about parenting children. It can be surmised that dog training is an issue that many households are curious about, and that the steps are not immediately intuitive. Whether you are teaching your pup how to do a show-worthy trick, or are just trying to get her to stop jumping up on people, wanted to share with you some guidelines we found for dog training.
Some methods involve regular treats, and other methods discourage treat-based rewards altogether, but the ASPCA and the Association Of Professional Dog Trainers emphasize a few specific principles:
1. Reward/no reward training is more effective then punishment based training. Frequent punishments, while yielding quick results, can lead to negative associations with situations that can result in fear-based aggression from your dog. While I do not feel punishments are appropriate for training, as the owner of a 60-lb ball of muscle, I admit there have been times I have had to grab her by the harness or collar to pull her away from a situation. It can appear forceful and domineering, but is sometimes necessary for her own safety.
2. Rewards and consequences for behavior should be immediate. If you are regularly coming home to a mess made by the new puppy, punishing her for it will only lead to her believing that punishments occur as a consequence of you coming home. Rather, you should find ways to keep her from getting into the trash (or other problematic items) while you are away. As she learns what is acceptable behavior, you can likely begin to give her more access.
3. Replace undesirable behavior with an incompatible but acceptable alternative. For example, rather than teaching your dog not to jump when someone comes into the home, teach her to sit whenever someone enters. She cannot do both things at the same time, and one results in a reward. Even something as simple as providing acceptable chew toys can act as a replacement for chewing items around the house.
4. Be simple and consistent. As much as we love our dogs, and as much as they can be great companions, we can sometimes overestimate their abilities. Consider that we are speaking a foreign tongue to them. Commands should be concise and it should be easy for dogs to predict the consequences of behavior. For example, our dog is allowed on the couch, but is sometimes kicked off to make room for others. In those situations, she is never punished for being on the couch, but has learned the command “Off.” We avoid long-winded commands like “Hey Sprout, off of there,” and compliance is also rewarded. It’s important she knows she is not being punished or scolded for getting on the couch, which would be inconsistent with our expectations of her on other days.
We hope you enjoyed this video and the training tips. If you have any tips for people training their dogs, please share them in our comments section.