TEACHNG AN OLD PET NEW TRICKS
*Training experts provide tips on everything from obedience and housebreaking to biting and hunting.
• Your pet will not obey when you say “come” if they were not taught what it means.
• It will also not obey if “come” always means something negative (you’re angry, time for bath or kennel, etc.).
• Build desired behaviors (commands such as “come”) by using positive reinforcement such as rewards and praise.
• There is no need to physically correct a dog. Observe how a trainer or instructor interacts with a dog and builds a relationship.
• Behaviors may fade over time if not reinforced.
• Be consistent. Everyone in a household needs to send the same message.
Barking & Biting
• Treat a puppy like an adult. Don’t let puppies bite, thinking it’s cute or normal, they will not respect you.
• If your pet does bite, hold their mouth shut and firmly say “no bite.” Do not give a pet a treat or toy after they bite, as they will come to expect it.
• If a pet bites out of aggression or fear, a professional is recommended.
• Let a playful-biting dog know early on how much biting can hurt by stopping the activity and saying “no.”
• Don’t roughhouse or play tug-of-war, as it reinforces aggressive behavior.
• Do not immediately respond to a bark, as they’ll learn that it will always get your attention.
• Be firm in training against barking; use commands and reinforcement (positive and negative), and examine the environments/situations during which barking occurs.
• Can use lemon juice, lime juice, or Tabasco Sauce when a dog barks, followed by saying “quiet.” These products will not harm the animal.
• Dogs are den animals that naturally want to stay clean, so a puppy’s best friend is a crate that is big enough to sleep in and that’s about it.
• You must supervise them when they’re young and they will show you when they need to go (they circle, whine and carry tail awkwardly).
• Carry around a rolled up newspaper and, when your puppy pees of the floor, hit yourself with it because you weren’t watching it. Watch them all the time!
• If they do go inside, clean it really well because they like to go where they did before.
• Puppies need to learn to go outside, as it is not naturally inherent, so reward them with treats when they do.
• May take a year before a dog can be trusted to be alone and wander the house.
• All dogs want to please their owners, so you must show them where to go in order to do that.
• You can teach an eight-week old puppy how to sit and lay in one day. Put a small piece of food in your hand, put your hand in front of its nose and then swoop over its head. Say “sit,” then (if needed) put a little pressure on its back. Do this a few times and you’re golden.
• The key to making a funny trick out of a boring one is what you call it. If your dog backs up on command, it may not seem like much, but ask it to “do the garbage truck impression; beep, beep, beep.” Now that’s a trick!
• If you can teach your pet to “touch” an object, transfer that power to doors, cabinets, and the fridge.
Staying Off Furniture
• Get a crate, and use it. Pets must bond with it by sleeping in it and, yes, they will cry the first few nights. If, like some owners, you take pity on your pet and allow it in your bed, it will think it is equal to you and will go on beds and furniture.
• Get a dog started on birds (one suggested clipped-wing pigeons and another said frozen pheasant wings)
• Introduce the practices that you want as an adult to a puppy early on. For instance, get them in a kiddie pool if you want them to be a swimmer and into tall grass, cornfields, and woods early.
• To simulate retrieving a bird, get a few wings from a game farm and keep them in the freezer (spouse permitting). Attach them to a dummy to help train retrieving.
• Drag a wing in the grass to simulate tracking.
• Put a wing on a fishing pole to simulate bird flushing.
• Be consistent with training. If you don’t enforce commands at home, you won’t get cooperation on the hunt.
*Tips provided by Mickey Mueller, of Waggin Tails Doggie Daycare; Ann Braue, of Ann Braue’s Canine Training; Karen Rude, of Rude Dog University and Lake Wood Labradors; Lisa Van Fleet, of Birdstone Labradors; Heather Mishefske, of The Beastro; and Brad Schindler, of Cutaway Kennel.
BONUS: Tricks for the Patient and Determined Pet Owner
• How to fetch beer
• How to sing
• How to answer the phone
• How to fetch the newspaper and throw away junk mail
• How to not only catch a Frisbee, but throw it as well
• How to sic unwanted guests
• How to take out the garbage and sort recycling
• How to help the owner get dates
• How to bathe itself
• How to sign for packages
• How to give foot massages
• How to kill bugs
• How to attach its leash