Puppies and the Importance of Obedience Training

by Ronald Pfierman, Owner of Aztec Dog Training

Puppies start learning the day they are born and much like human children are hungry for knowledge. Their experiences play a large role in shaping their character and disposition. A dog has no ability to reason outside of what he has experienced so that means his life is limited to his experiences. We can use this to our advantage by Obedience training before he figures out that as we see it “the grass is greener on the other side”.  If the dog starts training within a week or so of being brought into your home This will instill into your puppy’s mind that obedience is a way of life – he will simply not know any different.

There are 3 Basic Concepts puppies need to learn between the ages of 8 – 14 weeks if you expect him to listen in the most difficult of times. Those are:

  1. You are his Leader and He WORKS for You.
  2. Calm Down and Pay Attention
  3. Learn to ignore distraction

From the age of 8 weeks to somewhere between 12- 18 weeks – depending on breed and speed of maturity - the puppy is in what I call his “character development stage”. This is the stage in his life where the foundation for all interaction between him and humans and other dogs is established. He either learns that he can dominate and control the people and the dogs surrounding him or that Obedience is a way of life. This greatly affects what he does and who he listens to in the most distracting of situations for the rest of his life.

If obedience is instilled into his life at this young stage, daily routines are set up to live by and the dog is worked in obedience just 10 minutes a day The puppy will listen much more consistently than a dog trained at a later age that has learned to control his pack and ultimately making the final decision when the chips are down. It will also be much less stressful on everyone involved, less expensive and much less work on the owners.

If you wait several Months or Yrs-  By now he has learned about controlling you and it is up to me to CHANGE HIS PERCEPTION OF YOU not just instill Obedience. That is much more difficult, more stressful, less effective and more work for you the owner on followup .

Starting the moment you pick up your puppy he learns about you and your family. He studys all of your body language, How you interact with each other as well as with him, who appears strong or weak, What gets your attention, How to make you feel Empathy (sorry for him) and ultimately exploits your weaknesses as well as  perceives his ability to do so as a sign of weakness. The entire time learning to manipulate you and your family to get his needs and slowly but surely worming his way to the top of the pack.

A Little About Pack Mentality and its role in a Puppy’s Development

Pack mentality dictates that the strongest must lead the pack for the Pack to survive. This a prevailing tune not only in dogs but in Wolves, Military, Football Teams or even Prison Gangs and believe me your puppy is clearly aware of this. He observes our body language as Humans and Human behavior in general – and sees subtle things we may perceive as absolutely normal or things we may overlook assigns of weakness  You must express to him in a language he understands several concepts as described in the opening paragraphs.

Most dog’s main goal in life is to someday become the leader of your pack. The more “buttons” your dog learns to control you  - the less control you will have in him as an adult. One giant advantage puppyies and dogs have over you is that they can actually smell the pheromones your body gives off when your moods change as well as much more information.

This is called scent discrimination. When we walk into thanksgiving dinner we smell the strongest thing on the menu – usually the turkey or dressing – a dog has the ability to tell you everything on the menu, what kind of mood everyone is in the room.  Animals and People.  He can tell if a woman is ovulating ,if someone is excited and even worse a dog can smell someone’s adrenaline rise. So a puppy is very perceptive in a way that we as humans have very little comprehension. This is all more reasons why your puppy needs to start training from day 1 before he learns to control you and your family and literally learns to outsmart you.

So he simply doesn’t know that “The grass is greener on the other side” as we would see it – he only sees and EXPERIENCES Obedience as a way of life and learns that not being the Leader is a good happy way to live. That being  Beta is better than Alpha for him. The Role or status a dog perceives he has acquired and his position in the pack determine in his mind what his rights , responsibilities and duties are  – this clarifies many things for a dog and once established dogs become happier, more responsive to commands and much calmer.

The best example I can give is when we feel over whelmed in our life or even have become hopeless and we pray to god to take control and lift our angst from us – the feeling of peace that we get knowing that he has our back and we no longer have those concerns and that it is all going to be OK is the closes t I can describe in human terms how a dog feels once he has relinquished control to his owners and his life is defined by predictable routines and fair, strong and consistent Leaders – You.

So do your research and get that Pup trained by a professional – without the improper use of food TODAY!