The following is an excerpt from "The Complete Guide to Pomeranians" by Vanessa Richie. For more information visit the books Amazon Page.
Author Credit: Vanessa RichiePomeranians are not always easy to train. Knowing this going in, you can take the right mental approach to training. It is entirely too easy to think that allowing those adorable little dogs to get away with something once or twice is fine, but it really isn’t. Being successful in your training really requires a firm and consistent approach from the moment your Pom enters your care. This is how you gain their respect and help them understand the family hierarchy.
Why Size and Personality Make Them Ideal Companions
Training is something that is a lot of fun with a Pomeranian. They are incredibly intelligent, and training them makes them even more fun to spend time with. When properly trained they can be one of the best companions you will ever have because they can travel with you anywhere you go. If a Pom is well trained, the people around you will also enjoy having the dog around too because the Poms are famous for their fun and energy. They tend to love everyone and want to play. Since they can go with you virtually anywhere, training will quickly pay off as you and your best friend share some of the most memorable lessons. If your Pom is not trained, it will be much harder to take your canine places as your Pom will be wary of strangers and may bark far more than is comfortable for anyone around him.
Picking the Right Reward
One of the most interesting aspects of having a Pom is determining the right reward. You want to keep the treats to a minimum but that should be fine with a Pom since there are so many other things that can motivate them. Treats may be a good starting point, but you will need to quickly switch to something that is a secondary reinforcer. Praise, additional playtime, and extra petting are all fantastic rewards for Pom pets since they care about how you feel and your reaction to them. Plopping down to watch a movie and letting the puppy sit with you will be a great reward after an intense training session. Not only did your puppy learn, but you both now get to relax and enjoy just chilling together.
If you begin to gain the respect of your Pom, that can be used to help train your dog. At the end of each session, give your puppy extra attention or a nice walk to demonstrate how pleased you are with the progress that has been made.
Training is about learning the commands. If your Pom learns to respond only to the rewards (such as the dog that sits as soon as you have a treat in your hand), the training was not successful.
Gaining the respect of your dog is generally the key in being a successful trainer, but with a Pom it also means dedicated attention – you have all of the puppy’s attention during a training session. As you and your Pom work together, your dog will come to respect you (so long as you remain consistent and firm). Do not expect respect in the early days of training because your puppy does not have the understanding or relationship required to be able to understand. Fortunately, their intelligence will start to show early on, making it easy to see when they are starting to respond to you instead of just the reward. This is the time when you can start switching to rewards that are fun instead of those that center around treats and food.
Even in the beginning, you need to make handling and petting a part of the reward. Although your dog does not quite understand it for what it is, your Pom will begin to understand that treats and petting are both types of rewards. This will make it easier to switch from treats to a more attention-based reward system. Associating handling and petting as being enjoyable will also encourage your puppy to look at play time as a great reward. No matter how much they love to eat, being entertained and playing with you will be a welcome reward since it means the puppy is not alone or bored.
For the Pomeranian, there are five basic commands that you must teach them, and ones that you will probably want to start training your puppy to understand. These commands are the basis for a happy and enjoyable relationship as your Pom learns how to behave. By the time your puppy learns the five commands, the purpose of training will be clear to your Pom. That will make it much easier to train them on the more complex concepts.
You should train the puppy in the order of the list as well. Sit is a basic command, and something all dogs including your Pom already do. Teaching leave it and how to bark less are both difficult and fight the instincts and desires of your Pom pooch. These two commands are going to take longer to learn than the other commands, so you want to have the necessary tools already in place to increase your odds of success.
Here are some basic guidelines to follow during training.
- Everyone in the home should be a part of the Pom training because the Pom needs to learn to listen to everyone in the household, and not just one or two people.
- To get started, select an area where you and your puppy have no distractions, including noise. Leave your phone and other devices out of range so that you keep your attention on the puppy.
- Stay happy and excited about the training. Your puppy will pick up on your enthusiasm, and will focus better because of it.
- Start to teach sit when your puppy is around eight weeks old.
- Be consistent and firm as you teach.
- Bring a special treat to the first few training sessions, such as chicken or Cheerios.
Once you are prepared, you can get started working and bonding with your cute little Pom.
Once you settle into your quiet training location with the special treat, begin the training. It is relatively easy to train your dog to obey this command. Wait until your puppy starts to sit down and say sit as he or she sits. If your puppy finishes sitting down, start to give praise for it. Naturally, this will make your puppy incredibly excited and wiggly, so it may take a bit of time before he or she will want to sit again. When the time comes and the puppy starts to sit again, repeat the process.
It is going to take more than a couple of sessions for the puppy to fully connect your words with the actions. In fact, it could take a little over a week for your puppy to get it. Poms are intelligent, but at this age there is still so much to learn that the puppy will have a hard time focusing. Commands are something completely new to your little companion. However, once your puppy understands your intention and masters sit, the other commands will likely be a little bit easier to teach.
Once your puppy has demonstrated a mastery over sit, it is time to start teaching down.
Repeat the same process to teach this command as you did for sit. Wait until the puppy starts to lie down, then say the word. If the Pom finishes the action, offer your chosen reward.
It will probably take a little less time to teach this command after you start training it.
Wait until your puppy has mastered down before moving on to stay.
This command is going to be more difficult since it isn’t something that your puppy does naturally. Be prepared for it to take a bit longer to train on this command. It is also important that your dog has mastered and will consistently sit and lie down on command before you start to teach stay.
Choose which of these two commands you want to use to get started, and then you will need to be consistent. Once your dog understands stay for either sit or down, you can train with the second command. Just make sure the first position is mastered before trying the second.
Tell your puppy to either sit or stay. As you do this, place your hand in front of the puppy’s face. Wait until the puppy stops trying to lick your hand before you begin again.
When the puppy settles down, take a step away from the Pomeranian. If your puppy is not moving, say stay and give the puppy the treat and some praise for staying.
Giving the reward to your puppy indicates that the command is over, but you also need to indicate that the command is complete. The puppy has to learn to stay until you say it is okay to leave the spot. Once you give the okay to move, do not give treats. Come should not be used as the okay word as it is a command used for something else.
Repeat these steps, taking more steps further from the puppy after a successful command.
Once your puppy understands stay when you move away, start training to stay even if you are not moving. Extend the amount of time required for the puppy to stay in one spot so that he or she understands that stay ends with the okay command.
When you feel that your puppy has stay mastered, start to train the puppy to come.
This is a command you cannot teach until the puppy has learned the previous commands. The other three commands do not require the puppy to know other commands to get started (it is just easier to train if the puppy already has an understanding of what commands are and how the puppy is expected to react to them).
Before you start, decide if you want to use come or come here for the command. You will need to be consistent in the words you use, so make sure you plan it so that you will intentionally use the right command every time.
Leash the puppy.
Tell the puppy to stay. Move away from the puppy.
Say the command you will use for come and give a gently tug on the leash toward you. As long as you did not use the term to indicate that the stay command was done, your puppy will begin to understand the purpose of your new command. If you used the term to indicate the end of stay, it will confuse your puppy because the Pom will associate the command with being able to move freely.
Repeat these steps, building a larger distance between you and the puppy. Once the puppy seems to get it, remove the leash and start at a close distance. If your puppy does not seem to understand the command, give some visual clues about what you want. For example, you can pat your leg or snap your fingers. As soon as your puppy comes running over to you, offer a reward.
This is going to be one of the most difficult commands you will teach your puppy because it goes against both your puppy’s instincts and interests. Your puppy wants to keep whatever he or she has, so you are going to have to offer something better. It is essential to teach the command early though, as your Pom is going to be very destructive in the early days. You want to get the trigger in place to convince the puppy to drop things.
You may need to start teaching this command outside of the training area as it has a different starting point.
Start when you have time to dedicate yourself to the lesson. You have to wait until the puppy has something in his or her mouth to drop. Toys are usually best. Offer the puppy a special treat. As the Pom drops the toy, say leave it, and hand over the treat.
This is going to be one of those rare times when you must use a treat because your puppy needs something better to convince him or her to drop the toy. For now, your puppy needs that incentive, something more tempting than what he or she already has before your puppy can learn the command.
This will be one of the two commands that will take the longest to teach (quiet being the other). Be prepared to be patient with your pup. Once your puppy gets it, start to teach leave it with food. This is incredibly important to do because it could save your pooch’s life. They are likely to lunge at things that look like food when you are out for a walk, and being so low to the ground, they are probably going to see a lot of food-like things long before you do. This command gets them to drop whatever they are munching on before ingesting it.
In the beginning, you can also use treats sparingly to reinforce quiet. If your puppy is barking for no apparent reason, tell the puppy to be quiet and place a treat nearby. It is almost guaranteed that the dog will fall silent to sniff the treat, in which case, say good dog or good quiet. It will not take too long for your puppy to understand that quiet means no barking. However, it may take a while for your puppy to learn to fight the urge to bark. Be patient with your puppy because it is difficult to stop doing something that you do naturally. How long did it take you to learn to get up early in the morning or to go to bed at a certain time? It is similar for a Pom to learn not to bark.
Where to Go from Here
These are all the commands that you are likely to need with your Pomeranian, but it isn’t a complete list of all of the possible commands that you will need. Every Pom is different, and that means that you may need other commands, particularly since they are smart. Training them to listen to more commands is something they will appreciate because it means time having fun with you and staying mentally engaged.
The commands presented in this chapter are the foundation of training, and the Pom is capable of learning so much more. Just make sure that the tricks that you teach your Pom are not too stressful for the puppy. As your puppy ages, you can start teaching tricks that highlight your puppy’s agility. Fetch and other interactive tricks will be ideal because your Pom will want to do them.
To read more from "The Complete Guide to Pomeranians" by Vanessa Richie, or purchase on Amazon, visit the link below: