Consistency Is The Key to Training Golden Retriever Puppies
Training an ever energetic and curiously active Golden Retriever puppies is a difficult task. Along with your love, care and patience it also requires the know-how of some basic training skills. Goldens are very intelligent and learn fast. But in absence of proper, consistent and clear training/instructions, they can easily take up a wrong habit. Your pup should be clear about what is permissible and what is not. Confusing or inconspicuous instructions would result in wrong training.
The key to training Golden Retriever puppies is consistency. Another important thing to be kept in mind is positive reinforcement. You should never rely on punishing your pup, if it doesn’t obey you. You need to make your pup understand what pleases you and what doesn’t. Goldens have an innate urge to please their masters. Once your pup knows, what you don’t like, the going will get easy. Rewarding your pup positively for every obedient and right behaviour would help in making it take up good habits willingly and fast.
Using a clicker training system can help a great deal in making your pup realize the difference between the dos and the don’ts. Many successful trainers rely on this system. Clicker is a small handy device that is used to signal every time the dog exhibits right behaviour or performs an action correctly. Gradually, the dog learns that the sound of the click is associated with good work. The click should be followed by some positive reinforcement like a treat or a hug/pat. This encourages the dog repeat the ‘good work’ and thereby good habits are instilled.
Positive reinforcement is good and it definitely has great benefits. But your pup should also realize wrong behaviour. This will happen only when you explicitly ‘show’ your dislike. Beating or intimidating the pup is not recommended. Instead, you should use voice modulations, hand movements or reactions like pulling the leash (comparatively strongly) to exhibit your disapproval.
Using food as a positive reward often works well. But you should take care that this does not develop into a habit. Also, this can create problems for a breed like the Goldens that puts on quite easily.
Most important part of puppy training is house-breaking. The pup should be given clear instructions as to where it can urinate or defecate. Pups are like small babies and they can’t ‘hold’. So they should be taken to the relieving place after every meal, immediately after the pup gets up from sleep and whenever you see it sniffing at the ground or going round and round. This is usually a sign that it wants to relieve. For the initial few weeks, every time the pup relieves in the right place, he should be rewarded. This will make the pup take it up as a habit.
You should be clear about what kind of behaviour you want from your dog. If you do not want it to sit on the couch or bed, discourage it from the beginning. It will be difficult to lead a grown up dog out of this habit, if it was allowed to do so as a pup. Similarly, do not encourage growling or barking while playing with your pup. This will instil a bad behaviour. Discourage your pup from chewing household objects or nipping at you and other family members. Train it chew and play with its toy, instead.
Discourage the undesired and encourage the desired. This is the basic rule of training a Golden pup.
The last word – Dogs love to be lead. You should be your dog’s leader. Never ever let it take over you. Be consistent and stick to the lines you draw. Don’t exhibit what you don’t expect. This will generate respect and once your dog respects you, obedience will naturally follow.
Nelson Williams offers more help at : http://goldenretrievertrainingcenter.com/training-golden-retriever-puppies. He and his family live in Vermont. He brought home their first Golden Retriever when his now grown daughters were babies. His family has bred and cared for more Golden Retrievers than they can remember. With years of experience and volumes of research, the Williams offer for free, ‘Secrets of Raising Golden Retrievers’: http://www.goldenretrievertrainingcenter.com.