‘Redirect’ That Naughty Puppy
What does the term ‘redirect’ mean?
This is a very important term to understand when you have a new puppy in the house. It’s actually a kind of ‘mind set’, because it involves us, as humans, to recognize the ‘better thing’ for our puppy to do or way to behave. It can be used in many different situations and it works well for many, I dare say most puppies, when it comes to training.
When using ‘redirection’ in puppy training, you will want to be prepared ahead of time by observing and making written or mental notes on what your puppy does that is NOT what you want. Some of these things are obvious, like chewing furniture, nipping, playing with antiques, shredding papers off of coffee tables, eating off your kitchen counters…and on and on. Some of these things are just ‘the way you want it to be’. Every household has its unique do’s and don’ts.
Once you have seen and made note of the actions you want to change, (inappropriate behavior), you must think about what it is that you WANT your puppy to do, (appropriate behavior).
How does ‘redirection’ actually work?
So…let’s say your puppy chews on furniture…for example; chair legs. You’ll decide ahead of time what it is that you actually want your puppy to chew on, and you will then ‘redirect’ the puppy’s attention to that particular item. The item can be a chew toy of some kind, a chewy treat, a nylon bone or a raw hide chew…whatever. You can use any number of different items to get your puppy to focus her attention where you want her to focus. You decide what that item will be, and have it handy to give to your puppy when the trouble starts.
A good note to add here: You may want to switch things up once in awhile as to what item you use for this. Puppies can get bored with the same toys and chews if they’re always given the same items. The ‘best’ is to have two or three different items to use, that way your puppy will always be curious as to what you’re going to give her.
OK…when your puppy starts to put her mouth on the chair leg…and you must be attentive enough to catch her, ideally right before, or just as she starts the behavior, you simply get her attention and give her the appropriate item to chew. That’s it!
Now…I would ask…how do I get her attention?
The answer is quite simple…you decide. There are a million options and they’re all right, for the right person and puppy. You can say, “uh uh”, “no”, or make any type of sound, or you can just simply throw the toy out, away from the chair, so her focus will be drawn away from the chair leg that she was going to chew on.
Your job here is to divert her attention away from the inappropriate object and draw her attention towards the appropriate chew toy or item. The best is not to make a big deal about it at all, but to redirect her actions every time, so she learns what items are ‘OK’ for her to chew. As you do this more and more, she will be drawn to use the ‘appropriate items’ that you provide for her chewing pleasure.
A good training ‘enhancer’ method…
Your very best way to really get results with this method of training, and honestly most puppy training methods, is for you to ‘set your puppy up’. To do this, you prepare ahead of time. You have everything you need all ready and you ‘entice’ your puppy to ‘do’ the inappropriate action. Now, some things won’t work with this …but many will!
Jumping up is an excellent example of an inappropriate action that can be easily ‘set up’. You can go out in the yard with your puppy and get her all excited and revved up until she wants to jump up on you. When she makes the move to jump up, you redirect her to do what it is you want her to do and reward her lavishly for the appropriate action. I like to have my puppies ‘sit’ when they have the desire to jump up on me or other people. If you do this a few times in a row, out in the yard, as training for your puppy, she will soon learn what the correct and desired action is, and she’ll love getting whatever it is you ‘redirect’ her with.
For now and forever…
Using redirection is a wonderful tool when training your new puppy and it’ll work well throughout your puppy’s life. As you bring new items and situations into your household and into your circle of influence, you’ll have a much better handle on your puppy’s reactions to things, which will give you both a better relationship and rapport.
This is one of the training methods that have worked well for me in training my puppies. I’ve trained puppies in the past and I’m in the process of training three puppies at the time of this writing, one is just over a year and two of them being under a year old.
You can have the relationship you desire with your new puppy if you consistently take a few minutes a day to show your puppy how much fun you are to be with and just what it is you want her to do and how to behave.
Sue Lee Ringwelski