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Error-Free Puppy Raising™ Tips

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Getting Started Week 33 - Say It Once

Do you want your puppy to respond to a cue that sounds like, "sit-sit-sit-sit-sit" or to only respond when your voice tone finally sounds like you mean it?  Remember, your puppy is learning from you  - what means what and what works - and will respond accordingly.

Try to give your puppy one word cues to help build an English vocabulary that is clear in sound and in meaning. Remember, louder is NOT better. Try whispering. Your dog has wonderful hearing. If no response, wait for your words to sink in. Your dog's response depends on two things: 1) understanding of what the word means, 2) motivation to comply with your instructions.

For best results, say, your puppy's name once to get his/her attention
, then add the action word (come, sit, stay, off, down, etc.). Praise every correct response. If no response, do not repeat the word. Get compliance by clapping your hands, stamping your feet, squeaking a toy, etc. Praise your puppy for looking at you and for moving in your direction to encourage compliance. Your puppy may be in the middle of something very engaging. So you are competing for your pup's attention. 

Use a friendly voice tone and body posture
.  If you look stiff, and use a harsh voice tone, your puppy may feel conflicted about what you are saying. You may be sending mixed messages.  If your puppy has not learned to trust you it will be harder for your puppy to know how to respond. Build trust by being predictable, and not threatening.

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