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Make sure you're a reliable "alpha" and the rest w

Are you a confident, calm leader?

Are your rules consistent and clear (to the puppy)?

Do you bear in mind that human language has no inherent meaning to your puppy (that is - "good puppy" and "OMG, you little sh*thead", if spoken in the same tone of voice, are identical to him), so that each word or phrase he learns is a major achievement?

Do you recognize and reward correct behaviors, or only respond to (and punish) incorrect ones?

Do you give him a good reason to behave well (that is - if he does something right, does he get something good, be it treats, dinner, play, loving attention, etc)?

If you correct inappropriate behavior, does your correction relate (in the puppy's brain) to the bad behavior; and is it an appropriate level of response (that is - if he's 16 weeks old and mouthing, do you fly off the handle as though he was 2 years old and bit you in the a$$)?

All this being said, I do not ascribe to the opinion that dogs in households are constantly on the lookout for ways to move "up the ladder" and challenge my leadership. The "alpha" studies most often cited focused on behavior within wild wolfpacks and are years out of date; it's a mighty big stretch to assume they apply to cross-species interactions between domestic dogs and humans. My experience, limited though it may be, has shown me that dogs whose owners are dominant without being domineering, lead through calm, consistent, positive methods, and restrict "corrections" for limited situations when they are essential and immediately applicable, end up with the best-trained (and happiest) dogs. YMMV.
 

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Here's a couple for you to check out

POWER OF POSITIVE DOG TRAINING - Pat Miller
THE CULTURE CLASH - Jean Donaldson
SO YOUR DOG'S NOT LASSIE - Betty Fisher & Suzanne Delzio
HOW TO RAISE A PUPPY YOU CAN LIVE WITH - Clarice Rutherford & David Neil
BEFORE & AFTER GETTING YOUR PUPPY - Ian Dunbar
POSITIVE PERSPECTIVES: LOVE YOUR DOG, TRAIN YOUR DOG - Pat Miller
POSITIVE PUPPY TRAINING WORKS - Joel Walton
PUPPIES FOR DUMMIES - Sarah Hodgson
PUPPY PRIMER - Brenda Scidmore & Patricia McConnell
THE OTHER END OF THE LEASH - Patricia McConnell

And... anything by Karen Pryor
 

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There is a LOT of misinformation about what "positive training" is and is not. Unfortunately, it's been linked with "all treats all the time" and (as any trainer worth her salt will tell you), that's nonsense. The people at Petsmart are very well-meaning, but not particularly knowledgable outside of the basics.

Positive training, properly done, is EXTREMELY effective in establishing good order in the home, preventing and correcting unwanted behaviors such as digging, barking, and pulling on the leash. Dogs are trained via positive methods for obedience, hunting, police work, agility, search & rescue, and schutzhund. It does NOT rely on treats, although many trainers use treats to ESTABLISH and shape behaviors.

I agree that dogs are individuals and many will do fine with the leash-correction methods (again, properly done - there's a lot of misinformation there, too!). But I have yet to meet a dog that learns better through force than through kindness.

Your examples suggest to me that your experience with positive training has been somewhat limited, and may have been with people who are not terribly effective trainers. I'm sorry for that, but please don't broad-brush the good with the bad.
 

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Roughly, because I'm at work and REALLY should be finishing a couple of clients' tax returns...

It starts well before formal leash training, with attention work and "follow me" games so the puppy establishes a habit of staying with you. (Note - I'll use c/t to indicate click/treat, because it is what I am most used to, with the caveats that clicking is not universal AND that while treat are very useful at the start as rewards, they are phased out of common use pretty quickly to avoid the puppy simply being lured around by the food.)

So you'd start with short sessions, verbally encouraging the pup to follow along and stay with you, c/t for being in the correct position and maintaining eye contact (click while the pup is moving forward with eye contact, then stop and drop the treat, then start again with verbal encouragement - this links the click (marker) with what the pup is DOING, not with the treat). As you're just starting, your progression forward will be limited. As the pup learns he's getting clicked for being in heel position as you move, you can extend the distance and introduce turns and halts - I start this very gradually, not expecting 90 degree corners until he gets the idea that turns are going to happen and he has to watch for them!

Since I taught Ozy "touch" very early on, I tend to use my left hand as an added stimulus - sweeping forward as we begin, then holding it at my waist as we walk, sweeping upward into the "sit" cue as we halt.

Once you're walking "out in the world", even a well-trained pup is going to give pulling a try when there's something REALLY EXCITING ahead of you. For this, my trainer uses the "be a tree" method. As soon as the pup goes ahead, you stop. Completely. Don't let your hands follow forward with the leash, don't pull back on it. The pup will lunge around a bit wondering why he's not getting anywhere and will eventually look back to see what happened to you. Click the look. And since he knows that the click means he gets a treat, he'll come get it. Back up quickly a few steps and encourage him to close the distance. If he's really into whatever has caught his attention and keeping the leash taut, begin to back up so the leash tension increases. NOTE - you are not pulling him toward you, you are backing up. He only gets the "correct" marker for turning toward you and only gets rewarded for actually coming to you. Then start forward again - or start going in the other direction. You'll probably have to repeat the "be a tree" pattern a couple times each walk, but pup will quickly learn that lunging toward whatever he wants only gets him "penalty yards" in the other direction. Intersperse with attention work, halts and turns to keep his attention on you.

Another note - I don't have any moral objections about letting a dog who is well into his "heel" training bang himself into his (flat) collar by a short stop or quick turn if he's really not focusing. But I only use flat (buckle or martigale) collars, and I don't use this method while the dog is still learning what I mean by "heel".

That's my read on "positive training", really - I don't train the pup by physically correcting his mistakes, I train by rewarding his correct behaviors. Sometimes (mostly when just starting out) that means treats, sometimes it's by withholding what he wants (as in - you will make progress toward the REALLY INTERESTING thing only when you stay at my side, never while you're pulling), sometimes it's play (I use this for "stay" work a lot, because it makes a clear break between the obedience and the reward). My experience with the leash correction methods has been that you're essentially punishing the pup for not understanding what you're asking, and that seems wrong to me. Now my older dog will sometimes give me the "doggy finger" when I tell her to quiet or something like that, and I have NO problem reading her the riot act and putting her in a good long down-stay right in front of me. I holler, I smack my hand on the table/counter, I stand over her and shake a finger, but I do not physically touch her unless she's actually in a dangerous situation. But Ozy is just a puppy and is just learning to translate our weird language and requests, so I try to set him up for success and just redirect when he guesses wrong.


I hope this has been clear and helpful - now I really have to get back to those tax returns!!
 
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