My Dog ate My Homework: Training your Puppy by Using Corrections Instead of Punishments
We’ve all heard the number one excuse in the book, “my dog ate my homework.” During your puppy’s first few months, you need to start training them with positive behaviors, without being too harsh when they do something bad, like eating your homework. Puppies are delicate animals and they need to feel loved, safe, and secure within our homes! So when they do something bad, we don’t want them to feel confused or scared by their punishment. That’s why corrections can be, and should be, used while training your puppy.
What are Corrections?
Corrections are used to help your pup learn right from wrong. The purpose of a correction is to demonstrate a fact to your dog, without allowing them to associate the punishment with you, while gaining the ability to understand, and abandon, unwanted behaviors. We all make mistakes, but it’s important to teach our dogs to avoid the behaviors we don’t want, and to encourage them with the behaviors we do want. This makes for a happy home for pup and pup parent.
Types of Corrections
A number of corrections can be used to train your pup the right and safe way. Two types of corrections are withholding a reward and reprimanding the puppy.
Withholding a Reward
During your training sessions, try giving your dog commands and reward them with a treat for the right behavior and withhold the treat if they do something incorrect. By using this exercise repetitively, your dog will start to understand that he is only rewarded for doing the thing you want him to do. By withholding a reward when he or she doesn’t follow direction, will teach your furry friend to avoid that behavior in the future. For some dogs, withholding a reward, like a treat, is all they need to figure out that they need to change their behavior. Other dogs need verbal cues as well.
Reprimanding the Puppy
When withholding a reward, or giving a reward for doing the right thing isn’t enough, sometimes it makes sense to reprimand your puppy. It’s important to remember that reprimanding your puppy isn’t about scaring your dog or hurting your friend - we would never want to do that! Imagine if your friend or child made a mistake - you wouldn’t want to scare or hurt them as encouragement to never do it again! The same is true for puppies. Giving a simple but firm ‘NO!’ With a finger point or a brief leash tug is enough to alert your pup that they need to make an adjustment. By doing this, and withholding a reward, your dog should make changes fairly quickly.
Dogs are smart and social animals and want to please their dog parents. Training your pup and using corrections is a great way to build your bond and ensure a healthy and happy home for everyone!
Has your dog ate your homework? Share your story with us below!