The evolution of dog training over the last few decades
When you look down at your brand new, small and tender puppy peacefully sleeping in its little bed, it’s hard to think that in just two to three months it may grow to be 40, 50, or even up to 100 pounds depending on the type of breed. And although its behaviors may cute at the moment, like jumping up and putting his front paws on your body, these actions will be far less enjoyable when your dog is all grown up and literally knocking you over.
Your best bet is to start training your puppy from day one so that he can learn proper manners as he grows into adulthood. Puppies that are not trained in this manner end up learning all of the wrong stuff and their owners wonder why they cannot seem to get their dogs to behave as they age.
Many years ago, when dog training methods used more punishment oriented (using harsh methods to train puppies), dog trainers typically required all puppy trainees to be at least six months old. The reason was partly due to the fact that such physical correction protocols used could not be done with dogs that were too small or too young.
What is ironic about dog training in the old days is that by the time most puppies are six months old they are big enough and mentally stubborn enough to ignore commands and are altogether tough to train.
New times bring better training methods
Over the last 20 years or so, the dog training profession has embraced more friendly and loving training tactics for their puppy clients. Most trainers now except puppies that are as young as 8 to 10 weeks old. They are typically enrolled in socialization classes and puppy kindergarten.
Positive training is now used instead of the old-school methods of negative reinforcement. Puppies are taught to walk politely on the leash. They learn the basic commands of sit, stay, lie down, and come. In addition to these simple instructions, other useful techniques are learned by puppies such as how to relax, give and take their paw, and polite greeting.
Dog owners are more involved with training nowadays
Another interesting aspect of raising dogs that has been noted over the last couple of decades is that more and more dog owners have taken it upon themselves to train their puppies.
This is partly due to the fact that so many dog training publications and manuals have been written. Modern dog training programs are based more and more on scientific principles and psychological studies of animal behavior and temperament.
Simple puppy training programs have taught dog owners to utilize techniques such as clicker training and luring.
Clicker training involves the use of a small mechanism that makes a clicking sound when pressed. When a dog hears the sound it will associate the click with whatever reward you give him. This tells the animal that something good is coming and he should repeat whatever behavior or action you have been teaching him.
Luring training is simply using food such as a dog treat, or even a toy, to induce the dog to display a specific behavior in order to follow the lure in hopes of getting the reward.