Puppies are sensitive to all types of sounds, making audio training an effective technique for teaching basic obedience and commands. The key is to help your puppy associate good things with specific sounds and associate unwanted behavior with other sounds. Consistency and repetition is important to ensure your dog learns lifelong obedience habits that you can enforce inside and outside your home.
Pick Your Sounds
Before you get started with a training regime, decide on the sounds you want to associate with encouraging positive behavior and the sounds you want to use when discouraging negative behavior. Everyone in the household should be committed to following the same sound training approach to ensure the puppy isn't sent conflicting signals. These sounds can be anything you choose as long as you use them consistently. Popular choices include certain words or verbal sounds, clickers or bells.
When you select a sound to use as positive reinforcement, start your formal training using the sound device. For example, if you decide to use a clicker, set aside time each day to work with your dog on clicker training. Find an area with limited distractions and bring a pocket full of treats to use as rewards. Every time you click, give your dog a treat. Your dog will soon associate the sound of the clicker with the treat, making it easier for you to associate the clicker with other commands such as sit, stay and down.
Negative sounds should be used to stop and discourage unwanted behavior without unnecessarily frightening or traumatizing your dog. For example, tossing a plastic water bottle filled with coins on the couch every time your pup jumps up on it is an acceptable noise training technique. Blasting your dog with an air horn if he has an accident on the floor is not. Verbal animal sounds are good for behavioral training, as this is a common way mothers and litter mates interact with each other. For example, if your puppy has a habit of biting your fingers or toes, issue a high pitched yelp each time he does it. The sound will startle him enough that the behavior stops.
Things to Avoid
Be sensitive to the way your puppy reacts to different sounds, and avoid using sounds that frighten him. Never physically reprimand your dog as a form of punishment, which can create a lack of trust and impede bonding. If you don't think your sound training is effective, consult a dog behavioral specialist or consider enrolling your puppy in an obedience class where you can learn useful training techniques while simultaneously socializing your dog.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.