Puppy dog training starts the minute you bring your puppy home and reinforcement of that early dog training continues throughout your Weimaraner’s lifetime.
Whether you like it or not, you became a dog trainer the minute you went to get your new puppy or dog. The only way you will have a well behaved family dog or a responsive and obedient hunting dog, is to train your dog!
Prepare your family for your new arrival. You need to decide what rules you will have in your home, for your new dog. And everyone needs to be consistent.
Successful Puppy Dog Training
Whether you are housebreaking your dog, training your dog for basic obedience or you are training him for hunting, there are a few secrets to success. When you follow these rules, you will end up with an obedient dog and a wonderful bond with him.
Win Your Dog’s Mind
Most important, keep in mind that your dog is not a person. He is a canine, a descendent from wolves.
Your dog does not see the world the same as you do. Gestures and body language are more important than words to your puppy or dog.
In fact, there are four events in the wolf pack that extremely important to the pack. These events determine who is in charge and how the others follow the leader’s commands or wishes. Simply by altering the way you act during these events, will put you in charge and your puppy or dog in the submissive or obedient position.
These important events are:
- leaving the house
- coming home
- food or feeding time
- and reaction to danger.
There is symbolic meaning to each of these events for your dog. Of course, you probably interpret these events differently. But it is important for you to understand how your dog sees things so you can help your dog feed safe and get him trained properly.
Let’s look at how your dog sees things…
A Dog and His Food
In a dog’s world, the alpha dog always eats first. He eats as much as he wants, and then the others are permitted to eat. It may seem mean to you, but you (as the Top Dog) should eat before your dog.
Your dog won’t mind. Your eating first reassures him that you are in charge, relieving him of having to lead the Pack.
To establish that you are in charge of the food, you can gesture eat (pretend to eat some of your dog’s food) before you set it down. Your dog should “wait” patiently until you tell her that it’s OK to eat.
Remove your dog’s bowl as soon as she is finished eating.
Model Calm During Danger
When dangerous things occur, like the UPS man’s delivery, your mail delivery or a loud thunderstorm, you need to show your dog that you are calm and not afraid.
In your dog’s world, the leader decides when things are scary and dangerous and the Pack leader takes care of things. The alpha makes it safe for everyone else. You, of course, need to be the alpha.
Off for the Hunt – Leaving the House
Wolves leave the den to hunt. Your dog perceives leaving the house as the beginning of an adventure or, in dog thinking, a “hunt”. It’s exciting to him, whether you will be taking a walk, going hunting or riding in the car.
The alpha wolf always leaves the den first. This is the most courageous wolf and the decision maker. The leader makes sure that it is safe to leave the den. Then the others follow.
As the Pack leader, you should always leave the house first. Always tell your dog to wait while you exit. Then tell him it’s OK to follow.
Returning home from the “hunt” gives us another ritual. The Pack is reunited and the alpha reasserts his dominance. Hunting is a dangerous activity, and the alpha has kept pack members safe. But he needs to have personal space to reassure everyone that he is still in charge.
As the alpha, you need to simply ignore all the fuss when you return home. This means that you ignore the barking, the presentation of toys, the jumping, and the whining.
To do this, you need to simply push your dog down without saying anything or giving him eye contact.
A wolf or dog gives you this greeting to reassure himself that you are OK (uninjured) after the “hunt” or your absence. And your dog wants to make sure that you are still in charge. It’s all instinct!
To reassure your dog that all is well, simply ignore him until he calms down and wanders off to lie down somewhere. This establishes your dominance and signals that your dog understands that everything is under control. He can now relax and lie down.
By the way, all members of your household are above your dog in status! This includes any children.
What Do These Rituals Have to Do with Dog Training?
While you may be thinking that this is all silliness, your dog does not. Dogs and wolves are constantly making sure that they know the pecking order and what their position is, in the order.
The alpha has important responsibilities, so if your dog perceives himself as the alpha, he needs to protect the pack and make decisions.
If your dog is not in the alpha position (because you are), she can relax and simply do what the leader wants her to do.
Once you have established who is in charge, all puppy training is easier. You’ll have better success with crate training, leash training and obedience training like learning to sit. And you’ll be able to make up little training games to play with your puppy.
Later, when things are going well, you can fun with your dog doing some agility training!
Make Dog Training Easy and Effective
For most families, the first training sessions will center around house training your puppy. But there is more to puppy dog training than just getting your new dog house trained! And part of training is just understanding your dog’s psychology and how he learns.
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More on Housebreaking your Puppy
These articles offer a number of puppy training tips that should be helpful to you with your new Weimaraner dog or puppy.