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In training, communication is the key. Many people seem to think that puppies are born with a complete knowledge of the English language. They start shouting commands at them, getting louder and increasingly frustrated when the pup fails to react appropriately, yet they've never actually taught the pup what the different words and commands mean. Very often if a Beardie is exhibiting undesirable behaviour, that behaviour was inadvertently trained into the dog. Beardies are great at manipulating the situation to their favour, much like a spoiled child who throws a temper tantrum until mom gives in and buys him a toy.

To begin, a good rule of thumb is to reward desirable behaviour while ignoring undesirable behaviour. Focusing only on discipline will result in a dog who simply waits until you aren't there to get into mischief. Beardies need firmness and consistency in training. They are not generally 'blindly obedient' . Rather than looking up at you adoringly asking only what they can do next to please you, Beardies are more inclined to sit back and ponder the merits of behaving vs. the fun of misbehaving. A common Beardie reaction to a command issued is that look that says 'Well what's in it for me if I do it?' That doesn't mean Beardies aren't trainable. In fact exactly the opposite. Beardies are very intelligent and are quick learners. Years ago I had my first Beardie in obedience class. She learned quickly but like most Beardies was easily bored. We were doing an exercise called 'automatic sits', where we heeled for several steps and then stopped and the dog sat. The first time she did it perfectly. The second time she gave me a look and reluctantly sat. The third time she remained standing and gave me a look that said 'I just did it twice, it's boring and I'm not doing it again!' That's a Beardie!

One method of training which has rapidly gained widespread acceptance is Clicker Training. This is a perfect method for Beardies as it utilizes their intelligence, and maintains their happy, exuberant nature. Briefly, it is a method which uses a distinct sound, in most cases a small plastic device that emits a click when pressed, to mark the exact moment the dog is doing the desired behaviour, and to tell the dog that a reward, usually in the form of a treat, is on its way. The dog learns that his behaviour controls the click and has to think about what he can do to get it. Perfect for even the youngest pups, most people who try clicker training become quickly sold on it as a welcome and fun alternative to the 'traditional' training methods featuring physical force, corrections, or placing the dog into the proper position.

For more in depth suggestions on raising and training your new Beardie puppy (or any puppy for that matter,) visit our page on
Raising Your New Puppy.

For much more information on clicker training, as well as some other good general training articles, visit the following sites: