How Can We Keep Puppy Training Consistent?

Rottweiler Puppy

Q. We’re adopting a Rottweiler puppy, which we are really excited about, but I am a little concerned about how to organize her training. My husband, our two children and I will all be training the dog. How can we keep things consistent?

A. Consistency is a must when you're training a puppy, as it is one of the main indicators of how successful a training program will be. In my experience, dogs fare best in homes where the entire family is involved in the training process, and where all family members share the same training methods and are consistent in their interactions with the dog even out of scheduled training times.

Create a United Training Philosphy

It’s essential for your family to have a united training philosophy. It’s not OK for one family member to use positive reinforcement and rewards while another uses physical punishment; this creates an environment of confusion and unpredictability for the puppy, which is not conducive to raising a relaxed and confident dog.

Training that relies on punishment has been shown to increase aggression and fear in dogs. The risk is further heightened when a child is the one doling out the punishment, putting them in danger of being bitten and giving the dog a lasting dislike of children. It is crucial, therefore, that you have a coherent philosophy for all family members. Children will do whatever they see their parents do, even if they’ve been instructed not to. For instance, even if a child has been told not to scold or hit a dog, but they see their parent doing just this, they are likely to imitate those actions and disregard any warnings to the contrary.

Instead of using punishment or intimidation, try a training approach the entire family can participate in, regardless of age or physical ability. I would recommend positive-reinforcement training, where your puppy is rewarded with treats and praise for doing what he is asked to do.


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