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Training: Positive Reinforcements for Your Puppy

Positive Reinforcements

Dog watching treatA very important rule is "Never take good behaviors for granted." You should have a mental list of all the behaviors you want from your puppy. Actively watch for them and reward your puppy whenever you catch him doing something right. Social or food rewards should be given for playing with toys, eliminating in the right place and being relaxed when you handle him.

If you want your puppy to be relaxed and social around people when he grows up, you need to provide lots of positive social experiences when your puppy is young, especially during the first few months. Give your puppy plenty of opportunities to socialize with people and other pets. Have people of various ages and appearances frequently visit your home. Toys, play and treats can be used to teach your puppy to look forward to visits by unfamiliar people.

And lastly, be sure to set your puppy up to succeed. Don't tease or play games that encourage playbiting. Put things out of reach that a curious puppy is likely to get into or damage. Food, clothing and objects left on countertops are just too tempting for most puppies.

About Dr. Wayne Hunthausen, DVM
The Puppy Training section was contributed by Wayne Hunthausen, DVM. Dr. Hunthausen is a veterinarian and pet behavior consultant who has worked with pet owners and veterinarians throughout North America since 1982 to solve companion animal behavior problems. He has also served as the president and executive board member of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.

Dr. Hunthausen has written for numerous pet publications, co-authored pet behavior books and helped develop an award-winning safety video for children and pets. In his spare time, he is an avid photographer and enjoys skiing, cycling, movies, traveling with his wife, Jan, and hiking with their dogs Ralphie, Beau and Peugeot.