TIP #1: BUILD A BEHAVIOR
Use this 5-step formula for teaching your dog new behaviors:
1. Get The Behavior - Use a treat (if necessary) to show him what you want. Mark with a click or Yes! the moment he does it, then reinforce him with food.
2. Add The Cue - Repeat step 1 until he does the behavior easily. Then add the word for the behavior just before he does the behavior and lure him with the treat, if necessary. Mark and treat.
3. Fade The Lure - As soon he has made the connection between the word and the behavior, fade the lure so he will offer the behavior even if you don’t have a treat in your hand.
4. Put It On A Variable Schedule - When he will perform the behavior for you without a lure in your hand (you’re still marking and treating!), put it on a schedule of variable reinforcement. Start skipping an occasional mark and treat, just reinforcing with praise. Very gradually increase the frequency of skipped ones, so your dog learns to keep working even if he doesn’t get a mark and treat every time.
5. Generalize - Generalizing is when an animal learns that after a behavior is establish in one particular environment or with one particular person, it should also occur in all other environments with everyone. Practice at parks, on walks around the block, in parking lots, in stores that allow dogs, at your vet……..
TIP #2: START CRATE TRAINING EARLY
A crate, or, in other words, short-term close confinement, can be used to help dogs teach themselves two very important skills. The first is eliminating only when and where it is appropriate. The second skill is keeping out of trouble - behaving appropriately in the house. Without these two skills, a dog doesn't have much of a chance in this world.
When the crate is properly introduced using positive training methods, most dogs love their crates. Canines are den animals and a crate is a modern den - a dog's personal portable bedroom that he can retire to when he wants to escape from the trials and tribulations of toddlers and other torments. He can take it with him when he stays at boarding kennels, and when he travels with you and sleeps in hotels and motels.
A crate is inappropriate for long-term confinement. While some puppies are able to make it through an eight-hour stretch in a crate at night, you should be sleeping nearby and available to take your pup out if he tells you he needs to go.
During the day, a puppy should not be asked to stay in a crate longer than two to four hours at a time; an adult dog no more than six to eight hours. Longer than that and you risk forcing Buddy to eliminate in his crate, which is a very bad thing, since it breaks down his instinctive inhibitions against soiling his den.
- Whole Dog Journal
Jeff Dentler, CPDT-KA, CTDI