Building a Relationship with Your Puppy

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There are few things more exciting than bringing home a new puppy. The first weeks and months are crucial for setting the foundation for a lifelong partnership between people and their dogs. A frequent question is, “How do I bond with my pup?” With playtime, of course! Puppies that enjoy playing are more likely to become comfortable around people. The more puppies and their humans play, the closer they will grow and the better they will trust and understand one another.

Multiple Dogs and Doors

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Doorways are exciting places for dogs—who knows what is waiting on the other side! As a result, many dogs get overly excited and rush the door, creating a danger for themselves as well as for whomever is entering. Door rushing can be a challenge to manage, especially if you have multiple dogs and your door is constantly revolving. Fortunately, there are simple ways to prevent door-rushing behavior.

Petting as Reinforcement

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One question that trainers are often asked is if food treats must be used as the reinforcer. Some dogs do not like treats. There may be a time when you don’t have treats with you. Perhaps you just want to add variety to your training routine. The good news is that non-food reinforcers, such as petting or praise, can be just as powerful as food treats for some dogs—this type of reinforcement doesn’t require anything except you and your dog!

Teaching a Jump

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Teaching your dog a jump is an essential skill for canine sports such as agility. In fact, a standard agility course includes 15 or more jumps! Teaching a jump also helps build your relationship with your dog as well as your dog’s physical strength. It is a skill that any size dog can learn. However, be sure to check with your veterinarian to ensure that jumping is a safe activity for your dog.

Target Training: Getting Into a Car

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Many dogs are afraid of getting into a car. This common fear occurs for many different reasons. Some dogs have had no experience riding in a car or associate car rides with unpleasant events (such as trips to the vet). Other dogs may not mind car rides but may be intimidated by the height of the jump required to get into the car. Fortunately, you can counter these fears by making getting into a car fun and rewarding—with targeting!

Clicker Training for All Ages

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It’s never too early to start clicker training—and that goes for both dogs and humans! One of the benefits of clicker training is that it works for learners of any age. Getting kids involved with clicker training not only helps them bond with their puppies, but also teaches them how to interact with dogs in a way that is fun and safe for both. Child and dog safety directly correlate to the quality of the relationship that is built between them through training.