Lower the Bar When Training Your Puppy

by | May 15, 2013

Training your puppy absolutely must be fun.

You also need to work as hard as you can to set your puppy up for success.

One of the largest keys to training your puppy is setting the bar low. If you’ve ever wondered why some people have perfectly trained puppies and you’re having a problem, I am going to help you fix that. Like I’ve said before, at his core your dog wants you to tell it what to do. There may be some things in the way of that if you are adopting an adult dog, like figuring out who the pack leader is. But if you’ve got a fresh puppy that you want to teach the basics to, this post is key.

What do I mean when I say lower the bar? I mean that at the beginning of your new relationship, if your puppy even remotely does what you want, reward him vigorously. You need to have your treat ready for action and the moment that pup’s butt hits the ground when you are doing sit training, reward your puppy like it is going out of style.

A good example of this is when I decided to teach Hazel to roll over. This is SUPER easy, by the way. I didn’t just try to teach her to roll over, I lowered the bar and started at the most basic step – laying on her side. This is what you want to do when you are teaching your pup a new command. Figure out what the most basic step towards that command is.

When you’re teaching your dog to come, you want to start cheering for them as soon as they even begin facing you. Give them huge incentive to complete the task. At our kennel, there are plenty of distractions for our German Shepherd puppies, but we have taught them all to come. One of the main things I focus on is making sure that I am way more exciting than any distractions. As soon as I see that they have considered coming, I act like they just picked winning lotto tickets for me.

Lowering the bar comes in to play for almost any new command when you are training your puppy.

One of the most important commands to focus on making sure the bar is very low early on is teaching your dog to stay. In our house, we use the word “wait.” When we are first teaching a puppy how to wait, they literally have to wait for 2 seconds before we release them and reward. When you are training your puppy, it is pointless to your goal to find out just how long your pup will “stay” for. Your only goal at this time is to get them to “stay.”

Think about these things when you are training your puppy. One of the easiest ways to make training fun is to involve consistent rewards. The easiest way to do this? Keep the bar low… and raise it very slowly.

At Far North Kennel, we breed long haired German Shepherd puppies. We have standard coat pups, too. We write our blog for the soul intention of helping make dog training easier and helping you have a better relationship with your dog. If you ever have any questions about dog training, behavior or owning one of our puppies, feel free to send us an email or just leave a comment below!

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