Praise reinforces a job well done
When it comes to measuring your puppy’s attention span think of it as the size of a fruit fly. Tiny, tiny, tiny. Everything distracts him and pulls him off course from any lessons. So when your little puppy does something he is supposed to, sing high praises. He will be so excited you’re happy he will associate what he did with that praise. And we all love it when our little doggies get all wiggly, waggie, and smiley.
For great training sessions:
- Always be gentle with your puppy during any training sessions.
- Never, ever yell at your puppy during training.
- Consider using a harness.
- Never yank the leash so hard it will hurt your puppy’s trachea (wind pipe).
- Use short commands.
- Keep the sessions short.
If you act angry, you will instill fear in your puppy. That is the worst thing you could do because he will be afraid whenever he hears that particular command. You want your puppy to be happy around you, not fearful. Not only do puppies have short attention spans, they will shut down emotionally if they are afraid. If you need help with the training, consider searching for puppy training videos on YouTube, iTunes, and Google. There is a huge virtual library of puppy training videos out there. All you have to do is search for them. A great way to socialize your puppy after a few training sessions with the leash is to take him to a pet supply store that allows dogs on leashes.
Understand that this will be full sensory overload when he comes into contact with other dogs, when he smells food, treats, and other animals. And there will be people all over the place, so it may be a good idea to use a harness so he doesn’t choke himself and damage his trachea.
If the store experience is overwhelming for him and he goes bonkers and won’t follow commands, it would be best to leave the store. If he somewhat obeys, make sure you praise him. And, make sure he doesn’t grab something (toy, treat) and won’t give it up at the cash register. You don’t want your little guy to be a shoplifter! That is another lesson – make sure he relinquishes his object of affection when you tell him to drop it (come up with a word or short phrase and add it to your list of commands). This is important for when/if he ever grabs something that would be dangerous, or poisonous, or an electronic device, or something he should not have in his mouth. Period. Your shoes, the TV remote, and your cellphone are not toys.
Remember, all those dogs that you see in movies, TV shows, even advertisements, have gone through rigorous training. They weren’t born knowing all the rules. It took time for someone to train them. Be sure to document your puppy training in your The Puppy Baby Book. And, you might want a beautiful, frame-worthy Obedience Training certificate for when your puppy graduates!