Getting through puppy obedience training can be a trying experience; hundreds of repetitions for so many commands from everything from potty training to basic commands to further on down the road into learning to perform fun tricks, but puppy training is only laying down the foundations for the behaviors you will expect from your dog throughout the rest of his life. By remaining consistent, the training you and your dog spent so much time on will stay tried and true, and you can focus on your dog’s lifelong learning rather than regressing by having to retrain him basic obedience commands.
When you bring a brand new puppy or adopted adult dog into your home, he immediately begins learning. He or she takes cues from you as to how to behave and how not to behave even before you enroll your canine companion into obedience classes. If, for example, you made a rule in the very beginning that your dog must ‘sit’ and wait before being let outside, retaining your rule will be very important throughout your dog’s training during his life. No matter what rules you have set and training you have worked on, becoming lackadaisical with your rules, or lenient with his response time on commands regresses your dog’s training, as he learns that if you don’t insist that he obey the command that he does not have to listen to it.
If you worked with your dog on leash manners and sitting and staying, those are things that you as the pet parent must remain consistent with. You spent time teaching your dog that he must obey those commands-any change in consistency with insisting that he listen will let your dog think that he is the one running the show. You must remain strong in your position as pack leader or your dog will naturally try to assume that position, as dog’s rely heavily on their place in the pack. Leadership is very important in the dog/pet parent relationship.
Learning for dogs is life long. You must consistently use his commands throughout his life to keep the training fresh in his mind. You cannot expect your dog to retain the information from his puppy training class five years down the line if you do not continue to use those commands. If you assume that your dog will know the commands years later just because he learned them in puppy obedience class, your dog will become confused as to what you are asking of him or why you are upset that he is not listening to the command. Dog obedience is a continual process. It is important that you use your dog’s training commands throughout puppy-hood, adolescence, and adulthood.
By being consistent with your rules and your dog’s obedience commands, he will trust that you are consistent with what you want from him, and he will be more obedient. When your dog sees that you are happy with his behavior, he will want to keep repeating the behavior, and the cycle will continue, creating a happy and healthy relationship between you and your dog!