Training a Miniature Dachshund Puppy to Listen to and Respect Her Family

Alice

Alice is three-month-old miniature dachshund puppy who lives in Omaha Nebraska. Her guardians called me in to teach her some basic training and obedience and make sure that they are starting her off the right way.

Alice showed a wonderfully playful personality when she met me at the door.

Her guardian mentioned that occasionally Alice will piddle a bit out of excitement when greeting people at the door. This is referred to as excited urination and the issue should decrease and stop once the pup develops better control.

I sat down with her guardians to discuss how they can help her mature into a confident and well behaved dog.

I went over how dogs learn as well as the importance of correcting or rewarding Alice within three seconds of her engaging in whatever the activity is. Because dogs learn through association, offering a reward or correction within this three second window is key in communicating what it is you do or don’t want from your dog.

Next I suggested that they focus on rewarding Alice when she engaged in desired actions or behaviors. Many people focus on correcting dog when it does something wrong. But I found found its much more effective to focus on rewarding what the dog does right as much as possible.

To help the guardians learn a really easy way of focusing on the positive, I went over a technique I developed a few years ago that I call Petting with a purpose.

By consistently asking Alice to sit, come or lay down before she receives any attention or affection from her guardians, the dog will quickly develop a respect for them as authority figures. If the humans get into a habit of doing this over the next few weeks, this will develop into a life long habit that constantly reinforces a healthy leader follower dynamic.

After we finished Petting with a Purpose, I suggested a couple of simple rules as well as a few nonverbal communication methods to help the guardian’s better explain to Alice what they want, or did not want from her.

The conversation eventually lead towards potty training in which I offered a couple of tips as to the times Alice is going to be most likely to need to go. I also went over the importance of assigning a single command word, how to mark it with the action and how important it is to richly reward the dog for a successful limitation within three seconds of her finishing.

We headed out to the backyard to give Alice an opportunity to do some business, but along the way, her guardians mentioned that she did not like to use the stairs. I spent the next few minutes helping Alice learn to go down the stairs without any fear.

Once Alice grows a little more it will become easier for her to use the stairs, but as a miniature Daschund, a little extra encouragement at this stage should be a confidence boost.

We headed back inside so that I could go over a simple recall exercise that will help Alice’s guardians train her to come. Spending a little time on this type of dog obedience training now will result a lifetime of easy recall.

We wrapped up the session by going over a structured way of feeding Alice and some basic leash training. While this in-home visit should be much more productive then attending several puppy classes, I did strongly recommend that they try to set up as many doggy play dates and interactions with similar sized dogs for the first year of her life to develop confidence.

Alice’s guardians have another week left of her imprint period to really bond with their dog. This is one of the most important developmental periods of any puppies life. I suggested that they spend as much time being with, teaching and interacting with her before this four-month period ends.

While the first four months is probably the most important development period of any puppies life, the first year is a close second. Making sure that Alice has positive experience during this first year of life (Meeting as many different people, situations and animals as possible), she will develop into a well mannered, behaved and confident dog.

By the end of the session, Alice was following commands faster, was recalling on command and sitting in front of her guardians rather than jumping up on top of them to ask for attention.

As a puppy she’s going to push their limits and continue to try to nip, mouth and jump up on them for attention. But now the guardians know how to reward desired behaviors as well as distract or discourage her from engaging in those they don’t like. This will result in better communication and relationship development that will pay off for the rest of young Alice’s life.

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